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Recruiting & Retaining Medical Assistants: Strategies Explored

Changing Strategies to Enhance the Recruitment and Retention of Medical Assistants

Medical Assistant
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According to previous surveys conducted by MGMA Stat, it is widely recognized that the recruitment of medical assistants (MAs) has become quite challenging in the aftermath of The Great Resignation. This challenge affects every medical practice, as MAs have proven to be a particularly demanding non-physician role in recent times.

The purpose of the MGMA Stat poll conducted on June 6, 2023, was to uncover the key strategies for enhancing medical practitioners' organizations' recruitment and hiring processes. The ultimate goal is to attract highly skilled candidates with the necessary expertise and commitment to remain in their positions for an extended period.

In the previous year, approximately 67% of leaders in medical groups reported an escalation in their endeavors to recruit and retain Medical Assistants (MAs). Conversely, 33% of leaders have yet to make any such efforts. The poll, which garnered 383 applicable responses, yielded these results.

When MGMA inquired about the practice leaders who responded negatively, they specifically asked if they encountered challenges recruiting or retaining MAs. A significant portion of these respondents admitted to a lack of applicants for the positions they had advertised. The remaining practice leaders who did not report this issue were further questioned regarding the factors contributing to their success.

In numerous cases, the organizations the respondents belong to primarily hire nurses and do not have a substantial requirement for the retention or recruitment of medical assistants. Conversely, there is a favorable perception of the organizations in college towns with a high concentration of pre-med students taking a gap year. However, these organizations experience a notable turnover of students every May and June.

Some individuals proposed the establishment of a work environment that fosters unity and collaboration, where employees are motivated to stay due to the harmonious atmosphere and team-oriented culture.

What Factors Contributing to the Attracting and Retaining Medical Assistants?

The range of strategies utilized for attracting and retaining Medical Assistants (MAs) is as vast as the challenge has been formidable recently. As explained by one leader in the field to MGMA, our first step was to conduct a comprehensive market analysis to assess our standing in terms of compensation. They have agreed with the findings of the research about our pay structure. Additionally, we have enhanced our referral program by implementing more stringent regulations. The management team should take a more proactive approach in providing feedback to new hires and ensuring that all 90-day evaluations are conducted thoroughly. Effective communication, genuine concern for employee well-being, and competitive remuneration are fundamental to maintaining Medical Assistants and overall employee satisfaction. The survey elicited several prevalent reactions from the other respondents, including:

It is a widely accepted practice in the corporate world to offer enhanced remuneration packages that include additional compensation for equity and performance-based incentives.

The rise in sign-on bonuses linked to a commitment of one or two years has gained considerable traction. Efforts have been made to merge external support and exempt certain experienced candidates from certification requirements. Expanding the pool of potential candidates by enlisting external entities

To promote job opportunities, bolstering the practice's visibility at local job fairs and presenting immediate job offers on-site.

To enhance connectivity with neighboring college programs, foster apprenticeships, and engage in outreach with high school students to promote interest in Medical Assistants.

Companies frequently employ internal training and certification programs, often in conjunction with cross-training efforts. It establishes a hierarchical progression system within the company that facilitates educational funding.

Some leaders are expanding the availability of part-time employment opportunities for individuals seeking to circumvent full-time commitments and transitioning the bulk of administrative tasks onto the desks of Medical Assistants. This endeavor focuses on cultivating the necessary skills and knowledge for effective MA training.

The need for more skilled medical assistants (MAs) in the post-pandemic job market presents a significant obstacle to their employment.

According to the July 2022 issue of MGMA Connection magazine, Cone Health in North Carolina has taken steps to address this issue by establishing its training program. This program aims to fill the gap left by local community colleges and technical schools, which still need to meet the demand for certified MAs (CMAs).

In recent months, comparable ventures have yielded favorable outcomes. As reported by Community College Daily, the Alamo Colleges District, a consortium of community colleges in San Antonio, Texas, collaborated with the College of Health Care Professions to establish a graduate degree program tailored for employed adults seeking flexibility with evening classes to pursue a career as Certified Medical Assistants (CMAs). The implementation of this program is sustained by a 1/8th cent sales tax that has been specifically allocated for its funding for the next four years. This tax supports the advancement of the local workforce, as stated in Diverse Education.

Providing Education to Medical Assistants (MAs) Regarding Innovative Methodologies

While the future of telehealth remains uncertain in the long run, the industry has already started moving beyond the COVID-19 public health crisis. Consequently, the extensive growth of virtual healthcare remains relevant to healthcare professionals.

According to mHealth Intelligence, a study conducted by the Center for Health and Workforce Studies at the University of Washington indicates that Medical Assistants (MAs) who utilized telehealth services during the pandemic could adapt but would have greatly benefited from additional education and training in the field of virtual care services.

In addition, the research noted that telehealth education was integrated into the various aspects of the changing landscape of the medical assisting profession, particularly concerning primary care. The survey revealed that doctors identified several key responsibilities in population health that they could undertake with appropriate training. These included the care and management of patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, identifying individuals needing preventive screenings, and utilizing electronic health record data to oversee patient panels effectively.


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