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Core Curriculum for Medical Assistants


Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB)
2008 Curriculum Plan


Foundations for Clinical Practice

Medical assistants graduating from programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) will demonstrate critical thinking based on knowledge of academic subject matter required for competence in the profession. They will incorporate the cognitive knowledge in performance of the psychomotor and affective domains in their practice as medical assistants in providing patient care.

I.C Cognitive (Knowledge Base)  I. P Psychomotor (Skills)  I. A Affective (Behavior)
I..    Anatomy & Physiology
  1. Describe structural organization of the human body
  2. Identify body systems
  3. Describe body planes, directional terms, quadrants, and cavities
  4. List major organs in each body system
  5. Describe the normal function of each body system
  6. Identify common pathology related to each body system
  7. Analyze pathology as it relates to the interaction of body systems
  8. Discuss implications for disease and disability when homeostasis is not maintained
  9. Describe implications for treatment related to pathology
  10. Compare body structure and function of the human body across the life span
  11. Identify the classifications of medications, including desired effects, side effects and adverse reactions
  12. Describe the relationship between anatomy and physiology of all body systems and medications used for treatment in each
I. Anatomy & Physiology
  1. Obtain vital signs
  2. Perform venipuncture
  3. Perform capillary puncture
  4. Perform pulmonary function testing
  5. Perform electrocardiography
  6. Perform patient screening using established protocols
  7. Select proper sites for administering parenteral medication
  8. Administer oral medications
  9. Administer parenteral (excluding IV) medications
  10. Assist physician with patient care
  11. Perform quality control measures
  12. Perform CLIA waived hematology testing
  13. Perform CLIA waived chemistry testing
  14. Perform CLIA waived urinalysis
  15. Perform CLIA waived immunology testing
  16. Screen test results
I. Anatomy & Physiology
  1. Apply critical thinking skills in performing patient assessment and care
  2. Use language/verbal skills that enable patients’ understanding
  3. Demonstrate respect for diversity in approaching patients and families





II. Applied Mathematics
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of basic math computations
  2. Apply mathematical computations to solve equations
  3. Identify measurement systems
  4. Define basic units of measurement in metric, apothecary and household systems
  5. Convert among measurement systems
  6. Identify both abbreviations and symbols used in calculating medication dosages
  7. Analyze charts, graphs and/or tables in the interpretation of healthcare results
II. Applied Mathematics
  1. Prepare proper dosages of medication for administration
  2. Maintain laboratory test results using flow sheets
  3. Maintain growth charts
 
II. Applied Mathematics
  1. Verify ordered doses/dosages prior to administration
  2. Distinguish between normal and abnormal test results

III. Applied Microbiology/Infection Control
  1. Describe the infection cycle, including the infectious agent, reservoir, susceptible host, means of transmission, portals of entry, and portals of exit
  2. Define asepsis
  3. Discuss infection control procedures.
  4. Identify personal safety precautions as established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  5. List major types of infectious agents
  6. Compare different methods of controlling the growth of microorganisms
  7. Match types and uses of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  8. Differentiate between medical and surgical asepsis used in ambulatory care settings, identifying when each is appropriate
  9. Discuss quality control issues related to handling microbiological specimens
  10. Identify disease processes that are indications for CLIA waived tests
  11. Describe Standard Precautions, including:
    • Transmission based precautions
    • Purpose
    • Activities regulated
  12. Discuss the application of Standard Precautions with regard to:
    • All body fluids, secretions and excretions
    • Blood
    • Non intact skin
  13. Identify the role of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) regulations in healthcare settings. 
III. Applied Microbiology/Infection Control
  1. Participate in training on Standard Precautions
  2. Practice Standard Precautions.
  3. Select appropriate barrier/personal protective equipment (PPE) for potentially infectious situations
  4. Perform handwashing
  5. Prepare items for autoclaving
  6. Perform sterilization procedures
  7. Obtain specimens for microbiological testing
  8. Perform CLIA waived microbiology testing
III. Applied Microbiology/Infection Control
  1. Display sensitivity to patient rights and feelings in collecting specimens
  2. Explain the rationale for performance of a procedure to the patient
  3. Show awareness of patients’ concerns regarding their perceptions related to the procedure being performed


Applied Communications

Medical assistants graduating from programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) will demonstrate critical thinking based on knowledge of academic subject matter required for competence in the profession. They will incorporate cognitive knowledge in performance of psychomotor and affective domains in their practice as medical assistants in communicating effectively, both orally and in writing.

I.C Cognitive (Knowledge Base)  I. P Psychomotor (Skills)  I. A Affective (Behavior)
IV. Concepts of Effective Communication
  1. Identify styles and types of verbal communication
  2. Identify nonverbal communication
  3. Recognize communication barriers
  4. Identify techniques for overcoming communication barriers
  5. Recognize the elements of oral communication using a sender-receiver process
  6. Differentiate between subjective and objective information
  7. Identify resources and adaptations that are required based on individual needs, i.e., culture and environment, developmental life stage, language, and physical threats to communication
  8. Recognize elements of fundamental writing skills
  9. Discuss applications of electronic technology in effective communication
  10. Diagram medical terms, labeling the word parts
  11. Define both medical terms and abbreviations related to all body systems
  12. Organize technical information and summaries
  13. Identify the role of self boundaries in the health care environment
  14. Recognize the role of patient advocacy in the practice of medical assisting
  15. Discuss the role of assertiveness in effective professional communication
  16. Differentiate between adaptive and non-adaptive coping mechanisms
IV. Concepts of Effective Communication
  1. Use reflection, restatement and clarification techniques to obtain a patient history
  2. Report relevant information to others succinctly and accurately
  3. Use medical terminology, pronouncing medical terms correctly, to communicate information, patient history, data and observations
  4. Explain general office policies
  5. Instruct patients according to their needs to promote health maintenance and disease prevention
  6. Prepare a patient for procedures and/or treatments
  7. Demonstrate telephone techniques
  8. Document patient care
  9. Document patient education
  10. Compose professional/business letters
  11. Respond to nonverbal communication
  12. Develop and maintain a current list of community resources related to patients’ healthcare needs
  13. Advocate on behalf of patients


IV. Concepts of Effective Communication
  1. 1Demonstrate empathy in communicating with patients, family and staff
  2. Apply active listening skills
  3. Use appropriate body language and other nonverbal skills in communicating with patients, family and staff
  4. Demonstrate awareness of the territorial boundaries of the person with whom communicating
  5. Demonstrate sensitivity appropriate to the message being delivered
  6. Demonstrate awareness of how an individual’s personal appearance affects anticipated responses
  7. Demonstrate recognition of the patient’s level of understanding in communications
  8. Analyze communications in providing appropriate responses/ feedback
  9. Recognize and protect personal boundaries in communicating with others
  10. Demonstrate respect for individual diversity, incorporating awareness of one’s own biases in areas including gender, race, religion, age and economic status



Medical Business Practices

Medical assistants graduating from programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) will demonstrate critical thinking based on knowledge of academic subject matter required for competence in the profession. They will incorporate cognitive knowledge in performance of psychomotor and affective domains in their practice as medical assistants in the performance of medical business practices.

V.C Cognitive (Knowledge Base)  V. P Psychomotor (Skills)  V. A Affective (Behavior)
V. Administrative Functions
  1. Discuss pros and cons of various types of appointment management systems
  2. Describe scheduling guidelines
  3. Recognize office policies and protocols for handling appointments
  4. Identify critical information required for scheduling patient admissions and/or procedures
  5. Identify systems for organizing medical records
  6. Describe various types of content maintained in a patient’s medical record
  7. Discuss pros and cons of various filing methods
  8. Identify both equipment and supplies needed for filing medical records
  9. Describe indexing rules
  10. Discuss filing procedures
  11. Discuss principles of using Electronic Medical Record (EMR)
  12. Identify types of records common to the healthcare setting
  13. Identify time management principles
  14. Discuss the importance of routine maintenance of office equipment
V. Administrative Functions
  1. Manage appointment schedule, using established priorities
  2. Schedule patient admissions and/or procedures
  3. Organize a patient’s medical record.
  4. File medical records
  5. Execute data management using electronic healthcare records such as the EMR
  6. Use office hardware and software to maintain office systems
  7. Use internet to access information related to the medical office
  8. Maintain organization by filing
  9. Perform routine maintenance of office equipment with documentation
  10. Perform an office inventory
V. Administrative Functions
  1. Consider staff needs and limitations in establishment of a filing system
  2. Implement time management principles to maintain effective office function

VI.C Cognitive (Knowledge Base) VI. P Psychomotor (Skills) VI. A Affective (Behavior)
VI. Basic Practice Finances
  1. Explain basic bookkeeping computations.
  2. Differentiate between bookkeeping and accounting
  3. Describe banking procedures
  4. Discuss precautions for accepting checks.
  5. Compare types of endorsement
  6. Differentiate between accounts payable and accounts receivable
  7. Compare manual and computerized bookkeeping systems used in ambulatory healthcare
  8. Describe common periodic financial reports
  9. Explain both billing and payment options.
  10. Identify procedure for preparing patient accounts
  11. Discuss procedures for collecting outstanding accounts
  12. Describe the impact of both the Fair Debt Collection Act and the Federal Truth in Lending Act of 1968 as they apply to collections
  13. Discuss types of adjustments that may be made to a patient’s account
VI. Basic Practice Finances
  1. Prepare a bank deposit
  2. Perform accounts receivable procedures,
  3. including:
  4. Post entries on a daysheet
  5. Perform billing procedures
  6. Perform collection procedures
  7. Post adjustments
  8. Process a credit balance
  9. Process refunds
  10. Post non-sufficient fund (NSF) checks.
  11. Post collection agency payments.
  12. Utilize computerized office billing systems
VI. Basic Practice Finances

  1. Demonstrate sensitivity and professionalism in handling accounts receivable activities with clients

VII.C Cognitive (Knowledge Base) VII. P Psychomotor (Skills) VII. A Affective (Behavior)
VII. Managed Care/Insurance
  1. Identify types of insurance plans
  2. Identify models of managed care
  3. Discuss workers’ compensation as it applies to patients
  4. Describe procedures for implementing both managed care and insurance plans
  5. Discuss utilization review principles.
  6. Discuss referral process for patients in a managed care program
  7. Describe how guidelines are used in processing an insurance claim
  8. Compare processes for filing insurance claims both manually and electronically
  9. Describe guidelines for third-party claims
  10. Discuss types of physician fee schedules
  11. Describe the concept of RBRVS
  12. Define Diagnosis-Related Groups (DRGs)
VII. Managed Care/Insurance
  1. Apply both managed care policies and procedures
  2. Apply third party guidelines
  3. Complete insurance claim forms
  4. Obtain precertification, including documentation
  5. Obtain preauthorization, including documentation
  6. Verify eligibility for managed care services
VII. Managed Care/Insurance
  1. Demonstrate assertive communication with managed care and/or insurance providers
  2. Demonstrate sensitivity in communicating with both providers and patients
  3. Communicate in language the patient can understand regarding managed care and insurance plans

VIII.C Cognitive (Knowledge Base) VIII. P Psychomotor (Skills) VIII. A Affective (Behavior)
VIII. Procedural and Diagnostic Coding
  1. Describe how to use the most current procedural coding system
  2. Define upcoding and why it should be avoided
  3. Describe how to use the most current diagnostic coding classification system
  4. Describe how to use the most current HCPCS coding
VIII. Procedural and Diagnostic Coding
  1. Perform procedural coding
  2. Perform diagnostic coding
VIII. Procedural and Diagnostic Coding
  1. Work with physician to achieve the maximum reimbursement


Medical Law and Ethics

Medical assistants graduating from programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) will demonstrate critical thinking based on knowledge of academic subject matter required for competence in the profession. They will incorporate cognitive knowledge in performance of psychomotor and affective domains in their practice as medical assistants in providing patient care in accordance with regulations, policies, laws and patient rights.

IX.C Cognitive (Knowledge Base) IX. P Psychomotor (Skills) IX. A Affective (Behavior)
IX. Legal Implications
  1. Discuss legal scope of practice for medical assistants
  2. Explore issue of confidentiality as it applies to the medical assistant.
  3. Describe the implications of HIPAA for the medical assistant in various medical settings
  4. Summarize the Patient Bill of Rights
  5. Discuss licensure and certification as it applies to healthcare providers
  6. Describe liability, professional, personal injury, and third party insurance
  7. Compare and contrast physician and medical assistant roles in terms of standard of care
  8. Compare criminal and civil law as it applies to the practicing medical assistant.
  9. Provide an example of tort law as it would apply to a medical assistant
  10. Explain how the following impact the medical assistant’s practice and give examples
    1. Negligence
    2. Malpractice
    3. Statute of Limitations
    4. Good Samaritan Act(s)
    5. Uniform Anatomical Gift Act
    6. Living will/Advanced directives
    7. Medical durable power of attorney
  11. Identify how the Americans with Disabilities
  12. Act (ADA) applies to the medical assisting profession
  13. List and discuss legal and illegal interview questions
  14. Discuss all levels of governmental legislation and regulation as they apply to medical
     
IX. Legal Implications
  1. Respond to issues of confidentiality
  2. Perform within scope of practice
  3. Apply HIPAA rules in regard to privacy/release of information
  4. Practice within the standard of care for a medical assistant
  5. Incorporate the Patient’s Bill of Rights into personal practice and medical office policies and procedures
  6. Complete an incident report
  7. Document accurately in the patient record
  8. Apply local, state and federal health care legislation and regulation appropriate to the medical assisting practice setting
IX. Legal Implications
  1. Demonstrate sensitivity to patient rights
  2. Demonstrate awareness of the consequences of not working within the legal scope of practice
  3. Recognize the importance of local, state and federal legislation and regulations in the practice setting

X.C Cognitive (Knowledge Base) X. P Psychomotor (Skills) X. A Affective (Behavior)
X. Ethical Considerations
  1. Differentiate between legal, ethical, and moral issues affecting healthcare
  2. Compare personal, professional and organizational ethics
  3. Discuss the role of cultural, social and ethnic diversity in ethical performance of medical assisting practice
  4. Identify where to report illegal and/or unsafe activities and behaviors that affect health, safety and welfare of others.
  5. Identify the effect personal ethics may have on professional performance
X. Ethical Considerations
  1. Report illegal and/or unsafe activities and behaviors that affect health, safety and welfare of others to proper authorities
  2. Develop a plan for separation of personal and professional ethics
X. Ethical Considerations
  1. Apply ethical behaviors, including honesty/integrity in performance of medical assisting practice
  2. Examine the impact personal ethics and morals may have on the individual’s practice
  3. Demonstrate awareness of diversity in providing patient care


Safety and Emergency Practices

Medical assistants graduating from programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) will demonstrate critical thinking based on knowledge of academic subject matter required for competence in the profession. They will incorporate cognitive knowledge in performance of psychomotor and affective domains in their practice as medical assistants, applying quality control measures in following health and safety policies and procedures to prevent illness and injury.
X.C Cognitive (Knowledge Base)
X. P Psychomotor (Skills)
X. A Affective (Behavior)
XI.   Protective Practices
  1. Describe personal protective equipment
  2. Identify safety techniques that can be used to prevent accidents and maintain a safe work environment
  3. Describe the importance of Materials Safety
  4. Data Sheets (MSDS) in a healthcare setting
  5. Identify safety signs, symbols and labels
  6. State principles and steps of professional/provider CPR
  7. Describe basic principles of first aid
  8. Describe fundamental principles for evacuation of a healthcare setting
  9. Discuss fire safety issues in a healthcare environment
  10. Discuss requirements for responding to hazardous material disposal
  11. Identify principles of body mechanics and ergonomics.
  12. Discuss critical elements of an emergency plan for response to a natural disaster or other emergency
  13. Identify emergency preparedness plans in your community
  14. Discuss potential role(s) of the medical assistant in emergency preparedness
XI.   Protective Practices
  1. Comply with safety signs, symbols and labels.
  2. Evaluate the work environment to identify safe vs. unsafe working conditions.
  3. Develop a personal (patient and employee) safety plan.
  4. Develop an environmental safety plan.
  5. Demonstrate proper use of the following equipment:
    1. Eyewash
    2. Fire extinguishers
    3. Sharps disposal containers
  6. Participate in a mock environmental exposure event with documentation of steps taken.
  7. Explain an evacuation plan for a physician’s office
  8. Demonstrate methods of fire prevention in the healthcare setting
  9. Maintain provider/professional level CPR certification.
  10. Perform first aid procedures
  11. Use proper body mechanics
  12. Maintain a current list of community resources for emergency preparedness
XI.   Protective Practices
  1. Recognize the effects of stress on all persons involved in emergency situations
  2. Demonstrate self awareness in responding to emergency situations