A Great Coincidence We Can’t Fail to Mention - National Medical Assistants Day & National Paralegal Day - by Kurt
So sometimes there are coincidences that are just too good not to mention. In our practice, in almost every area we practice in, there are two groups of people we can’t live without. And national days to honor them fall two days apart. So you better believe this week’s post is about the two of them, National Medical Assistants Day and National Paralegal Day, or as I call them, the ground troops of the medical-legal system.
National Medical Assistants Day this year falls on October 21st. It is celebrated in the third week of October to give recognition to the professionals who support our doctors and nurses, and in many cases us. The classification covers a variety of professionals who make the medical system work.
Medical Assistant was not a term that was truly defined or honored until the Kansas Medical Assistants Organization in 1955 help found the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). It quickly grew to 15 states. By 1963, it had helped to introduce exams in many states in the United States, creating competencies and standards that transformed the profession and the medical system. In the 1980's the AAMA created Medical Assistants Week to raise awareness about the profession and National Medical Assistants Day.
And their job is not easy. There are over 650,000 members of this profession, the vast majority , three to one, women. And it is growing quickly, with a nearly 20% increase in that number by 2030. They perform many duties in their day including paperwork, collecting medical data from the patient, greeting the patient as they arrive, scheduling appointments, and sometimes even administering medication and injections.
And we frankly couldn’t help our clients without their help on that paperwork aspect especially. Depending on what your medical and financial situation is with an Ohio Workers’ Compensation claim the doctors and other medical providers have to complete Medco-14's C-140's, C-9's, C-30's and Medco-31's while tracking which of these are needed, how to fill them out and who to get them to. And we see what the AAMA says is true, it’s a very demanding job with 32% of people leaving it within the first 1-2 years and only 6% making it eleven years or greater.
Now, besides working with them, and representing many of these skilled people, how do I know so much? Well I’m the Son of one. My Mother was a medical secretary, and later practice manager for several medical practices. So as I have said to several many doctors and medical staffs over the years, I’ve got to be nice to you, my Mom would kick my butt if I didn’t show you the proper respect.
Now, just two days later is National Paralegal Day, October 23rd. When explaining to clients what these professionals do, I us the analogy of medical assistants and nurses, and what they do for doctors is what paralegals do for attorneys. That is do the skilled, hard work, and we get to step in, maybe check some work, and get on to other things.
The terms Legal Assistant and Paralegal are used pretty closely, but in my mind, a paralegal usually handles a bit more complicated legal tasks including drafting legal documents. Legal assistants usually take do more fill in the blank completion, but believe me, we need them both
n 1973, the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) produced a series of seminars and workshops for people who helped lawyers in law offices. Eventually, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) brought in about 15 other member organizations, established a code of ethics for paralegals and created a task force on credentialing criteria. Today the NFPA is comprised of 50 member organizations and 9,000 individual members.
And I can not operate without skilled legal assistants and paralegals. But I haven’t just had the honor to work with many of them in my 3 decades of doing this. I also got to teach as an adjunct instructor in the paralegal program at Stautzenberger College. I have also been a frequent guest lecturer for the University of Toledo’s program as well. And have had the honor of talking to the members of the Paralegal Association of Northwest Ohio (PANO) about our practice and how their help is vital.
So, what can we do to honor these two groups of professionals. So, whether you are a client, a patient, a lawyer or a nurse or doctor, here’s some ways you can do so:
1. Thank them in person the next time you see one at an office, clinic or hospital.
2. Send flowers or a card or goodies to the office with a thank you.
3. Make sure their bosses know about their good work, I always write and thank doctors and their teams for the hard work they do for our clients and do try to end every assignment to my with a thank you and recognition of them in front of our clients
4. Leave positive reviews online that praise not just the doctors and nurses, or attorneys but the team behind them.
5. Use the hashtag on social media - #MedicalAssistantsRecognitionDay for the amazing Medical Assistants and #NationalParalegalDay for the paralegal and legal assistants who help you out.
And I want to say thank you to every paralegal who has worked for us over the years and a few of the Medical Assistants who make our lives easier her at the Law Offices of Kurt M. Young. And this is in no way an exhaustive list, let me tell you. Over at Dr. Daniel Lollar’s office, Laura makes our clients feel like they are in good hands from the get go, and make sure that whatever we need is ready for our clients’ claims. And Lisa can tell you that as a patient as well. The same is true for Natalie and the team at 1st Choice Chiropractic. Drs. Connie Smith, Tim Trax and Casie Carr provide both excellent care, and get the job done for us on paperwork as well and Kurt can testify to that as a patient from time to time. Paibol and the team at Dr. Nathan Hill’s office deal exclusively with our crazy workers’ compensation system and take on the cases that many doctors run from. Last, but certainly not least is Jason Luginbuhl over at the University of Toledo Medical Center Orthopedics Department. Jason has been there for dozens up dozens of our clients and I can tell you I can’t name an attorney who does what I do that wouldn’t agree with this list.
So to the men & women who take care of us at doctors and lawyers offices’ thank you!