Medical Transcriptionists: Standing Up for Their Rights

Medical Transcriptionists: Standing Up for Their Rights

Medical transcriptionists have an integral role in the healthcare system. They translate recordings dictated by physicians and other health care professionals into written documents, reports and correspondence.

How Are Medical Transcriptionists Educated?

Medical transcriptionists do not have to have training after secondary schooling; there are many employers who prefer hiring transcriptionists who have had the extra training. Training occurs in various colleges, vocational schools and distance learning programs.

The course work for medical transcriptionists includes proper English punctuation and grammar, medical terminology, anatomy and legal issues as they relate to documenting health care. Students may also complete training on the job.

Other Medical Requirements

Recent graduates or people with less than two years’ experience in medical acute care may become medical transcriptionists if they pass a specific test. The designations awarded in this testing are not required in order to work as a medical transcriptionist.

How Do Medical Transcriptionists Advance?

If someone has experience in medical transcription, he or she may advance to positions as supervisors. They may also teach, consult, edit or do work based from the home.

What Is the Job Outlook for Medical Transcriptionists?

The outlook for medical transcriptionists is good, with the number of openings in the field rising comparably with other career choices. If students have certifications, they may receive a chance for better opportunities. Medical transcriptionists earn about $27,000 to $47,000 per year.

Medical Transcriptionists and the Law

Recently, a law firm filed a lawsuit on the behalf of 13 plaintiffs who are medical transcriptionists. The plaintiffs are taking a stand against employee abuse that is common in the industry of medical transcription.

Production Workers versus Knowledge Workers

Part of the problem with the profession is the way that employers pay for production, rather than the knowledge transcriptionists need to do their job. They are not typically well compensated for their knowledge. Medical terminology is a difficult field in which to memorize information. Pay rates in some areas have deteriorated, even as people in the field do more work.

Medical transcriptionists, despite their title, do much work off keyboard, including looking up demographic information, communicating with companies, researching terms and ensuring that their documents comply with the company guidelines for style. There is no compensation for this additional work, which resulted in this lawsuit.

Medical transcriptionists also spend time scraping for jobs not in the system. MTs who are employed by a company that assigns them a work shift should be paid a solid base rate for their hours, whether work is available or not, and regardless of equipment functionality.

In the overall workforce today, some companies overstaff shifts and then send people home if there is not enough work. They do not wish to pay people if they are not working. However, when MTs are paid for production, or working from home, they are not “sent home”, but rather are expected to wait for work to become available. They are only paid when they are working. This helps the turnaround time for MT companies, but does not adequately pay the transcriptionists if they are simply searching for work.

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