A medical office manager is the person who is responsible for overall operations of the medical office. This person must ensure that the medical office is running smoothly and proficiently. The person in this capacity can be expected to constantly look for ways to save the practice money by running more efficiently and reducing operating costs. Additionally, medical office managers develop and implement processes and procedures for the operation of the practice.
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The duties of the medical office manager can vary greatly depending on the type of medical practice, the size of the medical practice and the structure of the management. The primary responsibilities of a medical office manager may include supervising all office staff such as the secretary, receptionist, or medical biller. Providing staffing and human resources functions as well an ensuring superior customer service are all key responsibilities of the medical office manager. The medical office manager must be knowledgeable in all aspects of medical office operations including billing, coding and collections, appointment scheduling, and medical records maintenance.
The skills required to be successful as a medical office manager include being extremely efficient, organized and resourceful. A medical office manager must also be flexible and able to function well in a fast-paced environment. A medical office manager will need to have great interpersonal skills to deal with many personalities. Strong decision making skills, verbal and written communication skills and attention to detail are also all important traits for a medical office manger to possess.
Training and Education Requirements
The training and education requirements to become a medical office manager can vary greatly, depending on the type and size of the medical office and the decision of the practice management personnel. More offices today prefer a medical office manager with a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as health services administration. An associate degree in health administration or business management is also a way to gain entry into the field. Some are promoted from within the practice, such as from a medical secretary or medical billing position. These professionals may have certificates or diplomas from business schools or community colleges or may have learned on the job to be promoted into the position of medical office manager.
Medical Office Manager Salary and Wages
The salary and wages of medical office managers can vary greatly based on education and experience. Other factors that can affect the salary and wages of medical office manager are type of practice, size of practice and geographical location. According a survey done by the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management, in 2009 the average salary for a medical office manager in specialty medical practices was $54,314, in gastroenterology, $54, 201 in dermatology, $58, 899 in cardiology, 44,910 in obstetrics and gynecology, 51,466 in pediatrics and 47,152 in family practice.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Medical Office Manager Certifications
The most widely known certification for medical practice manager is a designation offered by the Professional Association of Medical Office Managers (PAHCOM) This designation is called the Certified Medical Manager (CMM). Medical office managers can qualify to take the exam to earn this designation if they have three years of experience in health care and twelve college credits related to health care or business management. If the candidate has more than three years of health related experience, the amount of college credits required is reduced by one credit for each year of experience above the three years.
The certification exams tests knowledge gained through day to day experience as a medical practice manager. The test includes such subjects as billing and collections, compliance, employment and payroll, time management, and patient education.
Another certification offered through the American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE) is the Certified Medical Practice Executive (CMPE). This certification requires at least two years of experience in direct management of a medical practice and two letters of recommendation from a current CMPE and a chief medical officer or other person of leadership in your medical practice. If you meet these two requirements you are eligible to take the exam.
Certification is not necessary to become a Medical Office Manager. However, the professional who earns these voluntary designations will stand out as someone who is dedicated to advancing their career, making them more attractive to employers.
The Professional Association of Health Care Office Managers (PAHCOM) is a national professional association with local chapters to help medical office managers stay abreast of current developments in the field. This association provides medical office managers with essential networking, professional development and educational opportunities. PAHCOM also provides medical office managers with discounts on many important products, services and programs.
Another professional association for medical office managers is the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). This is also a national association with local chapters in some states. This association offers the medical office manager access to important industry data and survey information, helping them to make informed decisions when managing their medical practice. This association also offers education opportunities and the chance to network with other medical practice professionals nationwide.
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