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LCFS Glossary*
* Unless otherwise noted all entries are from the Medicare Glossary

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MANIPULATIVES* - Toys that children use their hands to play with.

* Our Special Kids.Org
MEDICAID - A joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs for some people with low incomes and limited resources. Medicaid programs vary from state to state, but most health care costs are covered if you qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. (See MEDICARE)

Significant Points - Some medical assistants are trained on the job, but many complete 1- or 2-year programs in vocational-technical high schools, postsecondary vocational schools, and community and junior colleges. Medical assistants is projected to be the fastest growing occupation over the 2002-12 period. Job prospects should be best for medical assistants with formal training or experience, particularly those with certification.

Nature of the Work - Medical assistants perform routine administrative and clinical tasks to keep the offices of physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health practitioners running smoothly. They should not be confused with physician assistants, who examine, diagnose, and treat patients under the direct supervision of a physician.

The duties of medical assistants vary from office to office, depending on the location and size of the practice and the practitioner’s specialty. In small practices, medical assistants usually are “generalists,” handling both administrative and clinical duties and reporting directly to an office manager, physician, or other health practitioner. Those in large practices tend to specialize in a particular area, under the supervision of department administrators.

Medical assistants perform many administrative duties, including answering telephones, greeting patients, updating and filing patients’ medical records, filling out insurance forms, handling correspondence, scheduling appointments, arranging for hospital admission and laboratory services, and handling billing and bookkeeping.

Clinical duties vary according to State law and include taking medical histories and recording vital signs, explaining treatment procedures to patients, preparing patients for examination, and assisting the physician during the examination. Medical assistants collect and prepare laboratory specimens or perform basic laboratory tests on the premises, dispose of contaminated supplies, and sterilize medical instruments. They instruct patients about medications and special diets, prepare and administer medications as directed by a physician, authorize drug refills as directed, telephone prescriptions to a pharmacy, draw blood, prepare patients for x rays, take electrocardiograms, remove sutures, and change dressings.

Medical assistants also may arrange examining-room instruments and equipment, purchase and maintain supplies and equipment, and keep waiting and examining rooms neat and clean.

Assistants who specialize have additional duties. Podiatric medical assistants make castings of feet, expose and develop x rays, and assist podiatrists in surgery. Ophthalmic medical assistants help ophthalmologists provide eye care. They conduct diagnostic tests, measure and record vision, and test eye muscle function. They also show patients how to insert, remove, and care for contact lenses, and they apply eye dressings. Under the direction of the physician, ophthalmic medical assistants may administer eye medications. They also maintain optical and surgical instruments and may assist the ophthalmologist in surgery.

Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement -Most employers prefer graduates of formal programs in medical assisting. Such programs are offered in vocational-technical high schools, postsecondary vocational schools, and community and junior colleges. Postsecondary programs usually last either 1 year, resulting in a certificate or diploma, or 2 years, resulting in an associate degree. Courses cover anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology, as well as typing, transcription, recordkeeping, accounting, and insurance processing. Students learn laboratory techniques, clinical and diagnostic procedures, pharmaceutical principles, the administration of medications, and first aid. They study office practices, patient relations, medical law, and ethics. Accredited programs include an internship that provides practical experience in physicians’ offices, hospitals, or other healthcare facilities.

Two agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education accredit programs in medical assisting: The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). In 2002, there were 495 medical assisting programs accredited by CAAHEP and about 170 accredited by ABHES. The Committee on Accreditation for Ophthalmic Medical Personnel approved 14 programs in ophthalmic medical assisting.

Formal training in medical assisting, while generally preferred, is not always required. Some medical assistants are trained on the job, although this practice is less common than in the past. Applicants usually need a high school diploma or the equivalent. Recommended high school courses include mathematics, health, biology, typing, bookkeeping, computers, and office skills. Volunteer experience in the healthcare field also is helpful.

Although medical assistants are not licensed, some States require them to take a test or a course before they can perform certain tasks, such as taking x rays. Employers prefer to hire experienced workers or certified applicants who have passed a national examination, indicating that the medical assistant meets certain standards of competence. The American Association of Medical Assistants awards the Certified Medical Assistant credential; the American Medical Technologists awards the Registered Medical Assistant credential; the American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants awards the Podiatric Medical Assistant Certified credential; and the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology awards credentials at three levels: Certified Ophthalmic Assistant, Certified Ophthalmic Technician, and Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist.

Medical assistants deal with the public; therefore, they must be neat and well groomed and have a courteous, pleasant manner. Medical assistants must be able to put patients at ease and explain physicians’ instructions. They must respect the confidential nature of medical information. Clinical duties require a reasonable level of manual dexterity and visual acuity.

Medical assistants may be able to advance to office manager. They may qualify for a variety of administrative support occupations or may teach medical assisting. With additional education, some enter other health occupations, such as nursing and medical technology.

* U.S. Department of Labor
MEDICAL INSURANCE (PART B) - Medicare medical insurance that helps pay for doctors' services, outpatient hospital care, durable medical equipment, and some medical services that aren't covered by Part A.
MEDICALLY NECESSARY - Services or supplies that: are proper and needed for the diagnosis or treatment of your medical condition, are provided for the diagnosis, direct care, and treatment of your medical condition, meet the standards of good medical practice in the local area, and aren't mainly for the convenience of you or your doctor.
MEDICARE - The federal health insurance program for: people 65 years of age or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease. (See MEDICAID)
MEDICARE COVERAGE - Made up of two parts: Hospital Insurance (Part A) and Medical Insurance (Part B). (See Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance); Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance).)
MEDICARE MANAGED CARE PLAN - A type of Medicare Advantage Plan that is available in some areas of the country. In most managed care plans, you can only go to doctors, specialists, or hospitals on the plan?s list. Plans must cover all Medicare Part A and Part B health care. Some managed care plans cover extras, like prescription drugs. Your costs may be lower than in the Original Medicare Plan.
MEDICARE MEDICAL SAVINGS ACCOUNT PLAN (MSA) - A Medicare health plan option made up of two parts. One part is a Medicare MSA Health Insurance Policy with a high deductible. The other part is a special savings account where Medicare deposits money to help you pay your medical bills.
MEDICARE PART A (HOSPITAL INSURANCE) - Hospital insurance that pays for inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care.
MEDICARE PART B (MEDICAL INSURANCE) - Medicare medical insurance that helps pay for doctors' services, outpatient hospital care, durable medical equipment, and some medical services that aren't covered by Part A.
MENTAL DISORDER* - In DSM-III, a mental disorder is conceptualized as a clinically significant behavioral or psychologic syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and that typically is associated with either a painful symptom (distress) or impairment in one or more important areas of functioning (disability). There is also an inference of a behavioral, psychological or biological dysfunction, and of disturbance beyond the relationship between the individual and society. A disturbance limited to a conflict between an individual and society may represent social deviance, which may or may not be commendable, but it is not by itself a mental disorder.

* Our Special Kids.Org
MENTAL RETARDATION* - An individual is considered to have mental retardation based on the following three criteria: intellectual functioning level (IQ) is below 70-75; significant limitations exist in two or more adaptive skill areas; and the condition is present from childhood (defined as age 18 or less).

* Our Special Kids.Org
MINIMAL BRAIN DAMAGE/DYSFUNCTION* - A medical term used to indicate a delay or mild neurological disorder in the ability to perform sensory or motor functions appropriately. Sometimes used as synonymous with "soft neurological signs," whereby the child has some mild coordination deficits but neurological testing such as EEG or scans do not show any clear evidence of brain damage. Historically: the term used to describe children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

* Our Special Kids.Org
MODALITY* - The type of pathway by which information is received in the brain, processed, or by which learning and/or performance occur. Some children have strong preferences for one modality over another, e.g., one child may do better with visually presented material while another child may be do better by aurally presented material.

* Our Special Kids.Org
MOTOR DEVELOPMENT/SKILLS* - The skills and performance of patterns related to the development and use of muscles or limbs. The development of motor skills are prerequisites to self help and play performance.

* Our Special Kids.Org
MULTI-EMPLOYER GROUP HEALTH PLAN - A group health plan that is sponsored jointly by two or more employers or by employers and employee organizations.
MULTI-EMPLOYER PLAN - A group health plan that is sponsored jointly by two or more employers or by employers and unions.
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (MS)* - Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disease that involves the central nervous system—specifically the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. MS can cause problems with muscle control and strength, vision, balance, sensation, and mental functions.

The brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves are connected to one another by nerves and nerve fibers. A protein coating called myelin surrounds and protects the nerve fibers. When myelin becomes inflamed or is destroyed—this is called demyelination—the result is an interruption in the normal flow of nerve impulses through the central nervous system. The process of demyelination and subsequent disruption of nerve impulse flow is the disease known as MS.

Injured tissue called lesions or plaques form in areas of demyelination. In many cases, the cells (oligodendrocytes) that create myelin are destroyed, as are the nerve fibers (axons). The body is then not able to heal the myelin or nerve fibers, which further contributes to disability.

Generally, MS follows one of four courses, which are called:
  • Relapsing-remitting, where symptoms may fade and then recur at random for many years.
  • Secondary progressive, which initially follows a relapsing-remitting course. Later on, it becomes steadily progressive.
  • Primary progressive, where the disease is progressive from the start.
  • Progressive relapsing, where steady deterioration of nerve function begins when symptoms first appear. Symptoms appear and disappear, but nerve damage continues.
* WebMD Medical Library
MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY (MD)* - Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a group of inherited diseases in which the muscles that control movement (called voluntary muscles) progressively weaken. In some forms of this disease, the heart and other organs are also affected.

There are nine major forms of muscular dystrophy:
  • myotonic
  • Duchenne
  • Becker
  • limb-girdle
  • facioscapulohumeral
  • congenital
  • oculopharyngeal
  • distal
  • Emery-Dreifuss
MD can occur at different ages of a person's life, ranging from infancy to middle age or later. The type of the disease is based in part on when in a person's life MD appears, as well as the severity of the muscle weakness, which muscles are affected, the rate of symptom progression, and the way the disease arises. Some forms affect only males; others affect both males and females. Some sufferers still enjoy a normal life span with mild symptoms that progress very slowly, while others experience fast and severe muscle weakness and wasting, dying in their late teens to early 20s.

The various types of MD affect more than 50,000 Americans. Through advances in medical care, children with muscular dystrophy are living longer than ever before.

* WebMD Medical Library


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