ENTERPRISE – Enterprise State Community College is launching a new associate degree program and multiple certificate programs in Medical Assistant Technology (MAT), a program that is bound to add significant value to high-demand positions in the medical community locally and region-wide.
With the opportunity for students to work alongside leading physicians in the local medical community, the MAT curriculum will blend clinical diagnostic, examination, testing and treatment procedures with critical knowledge of medical law and ethics, patient psychology, communications, basic anatomy and physiology. Coursework in the MAT program will prepare students to provide medical office administrative services and perform clinical duties, including patient intake and care, routine diagnostic and recording procedures, pre-examination and examination assistance, and the administration of medications and first aid.
In addition to an Associate in Applied Science in MAT, ESCC will offer the following credentials through the MAT program: Certified Patient Care Technician (CPCT); Phlebotomy Technician (CPT); Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA); Certified EKG Technician (CET); Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA); Certified Medical Assistant (CMAA); and Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist Certification (CMRS).
ESCC’s MAT program will augment two other healthcare programs – Emergency Medical Services and Emergency Medical Technology – currently offered at ESCC. Medical Assisting will prove an alternative for students who do not desire to serve as first responders but who wish to be directly involved in patient care rather than administrative health care operations.
The inaugural class of students taking MAT classes at ESCC is expected this fall. Dual enrollment students who take MAT courses at the college will be able to take the classes tuition-free through workforce development monies made available for the high-demand careers for which MAT trains students.
Dean Danny Long, Dean of Instruction at ESCC, said the need for the MAT program at ESCC is evident through workforce development data and lab statistics which indicate an urgent need for such programs nationwide.
The program marks the first of several planned under Long, who took reigns as ESCC’s Dean of Instruction just five months ago.
“We not only want to create programs in which our students can transfer and receive higher degrees, but we are also called upon to create programs that our community needs. We’ve had incredible support in this team effort to bring about the strong, student and community-minded instruction that ESCC is known for offering,” Long said.
“We relied heavily on the information provided by our local community, the Alabama Community College System, and several reports that the different disciplines inside medical assistant technology open so many options for individuals to begin careers that are long-lasting, or that are able to be built upon as they study other programs within MAT.”
Anne Davis, Director for the Southeast Alabama Medical Group which encompasses five different clinics throughout the Wiregrass area, praised the efforts and implementation of a new MAT program.
“Although we may have a healthy number who are looking for jobs within MAT, they’re not all the same, so having a robust clinical program can prepare them for a life within multiple careers and hopefully set them apart due to their knowledge of medical terminology, different coding technologies, medications that are both generic and commercial, Medicare training, as well as how to work with physicians and patients,” Davis said.
“All of this is beneficial to our community. I hope the medical community will come together and support the program, and I hope that the clinical setting the program creates will produce students who are confident and capable to take on the wealth of opportunity here. I look forward to be a part of the growth of the program.”
Suzanne Woods, CEO of Medical Center Enterprise, stated the facility is excited for the opportunity that area residents will have to pursue training within MAT.
“By bringing this program to Enterprise, ESCC has opened the employment door into the healthcare system for many people. The skills learned in this program will help to streamline care in physician offices and provide potential employment opportunities in several areas throughout the hospital,” Woods stated.
Students who choose to train in MAT could potentially receive scholarship funds through the E.L. Gibson Foundation which contributes integral scholarships to students pursuing medical-connected careers. According to Dr. Rick Harrelson, Emergency Department Director at Medical Center Enterprise and a board member for the E.L. Gibson Foundation, a MAT program at ESCC is exactly the type of instruction the late Dr. Gibson hoped would exist to train area students.
“Dr. Gibson’s whole premise for founding the E.L. Gibson Foundation for years to come was to be able to provide individuals the opportunity to study medicine or medical-related fields that ultimately helped Enterprise and the surrounding areas,” Harrelson said.
“To me, this particular MAT program embodies exactly what Dr. Gibson once envisioned, to be taken on by our college and our community and to help educate some of these students, putting them back in the medical field where they are not only furthering themselves but taking care of the community.”