Medical Assistants’ New Roles During COVID-19 Pandemic

Medical Assistants’ New Roles During COVID-19 Pandemic

A medical assistant is known for his or her versatile clinical and administrative skills. That’s why an MA plays such a vital role in the healthcare community. However, in these days of COVID-19, medical facilities are experiencing an all-hands-on-deck situation. That means all available resources and personnel are needing in the COVID-19 crisis. Medical assistants roles in Covid-19 are more important than ever to take on expanded duties.

What are the usual administrative and clinical duties of a medical assistant?

A medical assistant helps doctors in private practice, hospitals and outpatient clinics perform a number of clinical and administrative duties: giving medications, checking vital signs, drawing blood, removing sutures, noting patient medical histories, processing insurance claims and more:

Clinical duties may include:

• Preparing patients for medical examinations
• Drawing blood
• Removing sutures and changing dressings
• Performing basic laboratory exams
• Notating medical histories
• Assisting the doctor during exams
• Instructing patients about how and when to take medications
• Advising patients about special diets they may need

Administrative duties may include:

• Welcoming patients and answering the phone
• Setting appointments
• Overseeing patients’ medical records
• Supervising patients’ insurance information
• Organizing necessary information, such as hospital admissions and laboratory services
• Handling correspondence


What extra help can a medical assistant offer during a public emergency such as COVID-19?

Medical assistants and medical students can help combat COVID by lending support to doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers on the front line. Their help is especially needed as COVID-19 causes clinic consolidation. Needs and situations can be different in different states, but all can use the additional help.

In Wisconsin, for example, medical assistant apprentices are taking swabs of people who are thought to be symptomatic. Some are also supporting teachers at UW Health’s daycare facility by watching the children of healthcare workers on the front line.

Lifespan hiring in Rhode Island includes finding medical assistants to help during the COVID-19 crisis at various hospitals. Their duties will include documentation assessment, monitoring medication, administrative assistance and help with daily living activities of patients. That could include lifting, positioning and pushing patients on stretchers; monitoring patient status; or even performing CPR.

The University of Maryland Medical System has created a temporary Emergency Staffing Pool to support patients, the community and employees. Medical assistants are being hired to work in food services, guest services and clerical areas. They can also help with patient care: bathing, transporting, feeding, shampooing and performing minor housekeeping. Additionally, they can relay messages, assemble equipment and page healthcare providers. Those with clinical skills may be asked to perform additional duties.

What if medical assistants are not yet certified?

The demand for their skills is so great that the AAMA (American Association of Medical Assistants) is extending exam eligibilities for an additional six months so new medical assisting grads can help during the pandemic. Similarly, if a working medical assistant’s recertification is due, the credentialing deadline is being extended.


How can a person become a medical assistant?

Medical assistants are in high demand. According to O*NETOnLine, the projected job growth through 2028 is 11 percent or more—much faster than average. In Illinois, the rate is 14 percent. To become a medical assistant, you must enroll in a comprehensive training program that covers clinical, laboratory and administrative procedures. Coyne College Chicago offers a 54 weeks diploma program that will prepare you for an entry-level position as a medical assistant. You’ll study:

• Medical terminology
• Anatomy and pathophysiology
• Pharmacology
• Electronic Health Records
• Clinical and administrative procedures
• Medical law and ethics
• Phlebotomy and laboratory procedures
• Basic insurance and billing
• Technology in the medical office

Additionally, you’ll participate in a medical assisting externship that gives you a chance to practice your newly learned skills in an actual medical facility, working with real patients.

When you enroll in medical assistant programs in Coyne College, you’ll get hands-on learning from instructors who are all industry professionals. Coyne also offers financial aid for those who qualify, along with career services and job placement assistance.

Contact Coyne College today and train to become a medical assistant.