Medical Office Administrators, also called health care executives or health care administrators, plan, direct and coordinate medical and health services. The Medical Office Administration job description comprises all of the non-clinical, non-management activities in a patient care setting such as a physician’s office, rehabilitation clinic or hospital. These activities include greeting and scheduling patients, maintaining patient records, coding and billing, purchasing supplies and processing insurance claims. They might manage an entire facility, a specific area or department, or a medical practice for a group of physicians. More specifically, work settings include physician and dentist offices, hospitals, nursing homes, freestanding clinics, surgery centers and insurance offices. Medical Office Administrators/Professionals (MOAs) work anywhere that patients need to be greeted, treated, billed or reimbursed by their insurance. MOAs are relied upon to be the liaison between the patient, the healthcare team and/or the insurance company. They must direct changes that conform to changes in health care laws, regulations and technology.
Medical Office Administrators held about 333,000 jobs in 2014. Most work in offices in health care facilities, including hospitals and nursing homes and group medical practices.
There is no formal training required to become an MOA, but with the increased complexity of health care administration, employers prefer to hire people with training in areas such as medical vocabulary, customer service, coding and billing, record keeping and insurance coverage to name a few. Such training programs typically require 9-12 months for a diploma or 15-21 months for an Associate’s Degree.
The ideal MOA enjoys interacting with the public, has excellent oral communication skills, is detailed, organized and empathetic.
How does it feel to be an MOA?
As the receptionist and/or appointment scheduler, the MOA is the “Director of First and Last Impressions.” They set the tone for the patient’s visit and will probably be the last person the patient interacts with as they check to ensure that everything met the patient’s expectations. As such, the MOA plays a critical customer service role on the team. Both the verbal and non-verbal feedback they receive from patients fuels their day. They are also gratified in their ability to solve patients’ insurance problems or quickly identify a physician for referral. When it comes to the day-to-day of the practice, MOAs are the “fixers” or the “jack of all trades” that keep things going, and their clinical colleagues (e.g. doctors and nurses) know that and share their appreciation. The work can be very fast-paced, highly diverse and occasionally chaotic, but at the end of the day MOAs know they did something important.
That is one reason why MOA (specifically Medical Secretary) is ranked 54th by the US News and World Report among the 100 Best Jobs.
The MOA profession is large and growing rapidly. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that Medical Office Administration jobs throughout health care will grow by 17 percent between 2014 and 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the large baby-boom population ages and people remain active later in life, the health care industry as a whole will see an increase in the demand for medical personnel, which will only add for the need for a greater number of Medical Office Administrators.
Once established, MOAs career growth opportunity is limited only by the energy they put into their job and their pursuit of additional education. Many Medical Office Administrators have at least a bachelor’s degree before entering the field; however, master’s degrees also are common.