Cultivating Medical Assistant Professionals Benefits All

Medical Assistants are integral to providing quality care to Maine Behavioral Healthcare (MBH) patients. Following the successful completion of a 16-week course, each certified Medical Assistant (MA) partners with prescribing providers to support treatment activities by taking vitals, scheduling visits, pre-charting activities in the electronic health record, facilitating medication renewals and much more. Their presence at MBH means psychiatry providers can focus their efforts on patients and even increase their capacity to treat more people.

With the shortage of psychiatrists nationwide, MBH ramped up efforts to support the development of MAs through a free training program. A total of 14 care team members graduated from the program that was offered to administrative staff across the MBH footprint.

Melissa Ellerd, MA (top left) with fellow MA graduates Stacey Slocum (top right) and Jennifer Curtis (below left) with Christian MacFee, NP. MacFee served an instrumental role in providing a portion of the clinical training during the pilot.

Melissa Ellerd, a 20-year veteran of MBH, was one of the first to take advantage of the program that was piloted in the Rockland office.

Working as an MA means Ellerd interacts more with patients and can hear more about their lives.

“I get to see people who are coming to us for the first time,” said Ellerd. “They may come in feeling nervous or anxious, so I greet them with a calm demeanor and reassure them that we’re here to help. We don’t want this to be an intimidating process for anyone.”

Rockland’s Practice Manager Lisa Beeckel is a strong advocate of the program and served as a cheerleader for students like Ellerd.

“It’s essential to encourage our own people to further their professional development with programs like this,” Beeckel said. “I find it satisfying to watch them develop into areas they’re passionate about and give excellent care to our community. A more complete clinical picture can be attained with the MA supporting our providers, and they are a huge part of our team-based care model’s success.”

Many leaders across MBH share Beeckel’s sentiment.

“The Medical Assistant role is so important to the success of our patients’ experience, regime adherence, relationship to the practice and connection to the prescribing providers,” said Maria Hadjiyane, MBH Chief Operating Officer. “Because we have increased this role, we can now provide more support to our patients, to include long-acting injections, right in our clinics.”

Workforce development opportunities like the medical assistant training program are just one of the ways MBH is working to attract and retain the best people. It is one of the many benefits of being part of the MaineHealth system.

Are you looking to grow your career?

Christine Beguin-Fernald, NP Rockland outpatient office

MBH has many opportunities available for those seeking a career in the field of behavioral health. We offer outstanding benefits and generous sign on bonuses for certain positions.

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