DACC to vote on adding medical assistant program

DACC to vote on adding medical assistant program

DANVILLE — Local health care facilities have a demand for certified medical assistants, and Danville Area Community College soon may be able to help them meet it.

Trustees on Tuesday will vote on whether to approve a certified medical assistant certificate program.

The Danville Area Community College Board of Trustees will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The meeting is in Vermilion Hall, Room 302, at the campus, 2000 E. Main St. A copy of the agenda and board packet is available online at http://bit.ly/XL7zKO.

"When you go into the doctor's office, these are the people who greet you, take your vitals, record all of your symptoms, check your medications and those kinds of tasks," said Dave Kietzmann, vice president of instruction and student services. "Area employers tell us they're moving to this model because these people can do some of the pre-screening work but they are not as expensive (as nurses)."

The three-semester program, which would be part of the business and technology division, would require hiring an additional instructor, who has on-the-job experience.

"We would prefer it to be a full-time person," Kietzmann said.

The program would begin this fall, if it's approved by the DACC board, Illinois Community College Board and Higher Learning Commission.

It is designed to provide entry-level theory and limited hands-on training in basic and routine clinical and office tasks.

"It's a profession that's office systems-based with some preliminary medical skills, as well," Kietzmann said, adding that students spend part of the time in the classroom and part doing clinicals.

Depending on the facility, certified medical assistants will handle administrative office procedures including billing, coding, scheduling, transcription, insurance claims and computerized record keeping. They also may prepare patients for physical exams, perform clinical procedures and assist with minor surgical procedures such as sterilizing instruments.

Certified medical assistants also must possess a thorough understanding of health-related ethics and other business principles that bear on the practioner-patient relationship.

Kietzmann said the program will fit in well with the college's other health care programs.

"Since we were asked to develop one and since we think there's a local market demand, we are glad to take this program to the board," he said.

Also at the meeting, trustees will vote on whether to increase tuition and suspend the men's golf and soccer programs and women's volleyball program, which officials said will help offset projected decreases in state funding and property tax revenue and increases in health-care and other costs in the upcoming fiscal year.

Tuition would increase from $98 per credit hour to $108 credit hour; however, the universal fee would remain at $12. That's expected to generate another $400,000 in revenue.

The increase would put DACC's combined tuition and fee rate of $120 above the average tuition and fee rate for Illinois community college, which is about $108.

The athletic programs would be suspended until further notice. That's expected to save almost $83,000 in direct costs not including athletic waivers and additional health insurance costs.

The proposal is drawing criticism from the public, particularly athletes and their families. They're upset that college officials didn't warn them earlier that this could happen, so that they could try to enroll at other schools and continue to play their sport.

This past year, there were seven student golfers, 15 soccer players and 11 volleyball players, and most had tuition waivers.

In other business, Megan Hiner, a sophomore from Knightstown, Ind., will be sworn in as the board's student trustee. Her one-year term will run through April 14, 2014.

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