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Employee Group Spotlight: Medical Assistant Council

Posted in: Employee Spotlight

The Medical Assistant (MA) Council is one way University of Michigan Health-West is supporting a flourishing team culture where staff members are empowered to continue providing patients with expert, innovative and compassionate care. 

The employee group is a platform for Medical Assistants to communicate their needs and patient care priorities directly with other areas within the health system.

The roots of the MA Council stem back to the winter of 2019 when a series of focus groups examined the work experiences of University of Michigan Health-West MAs. The conversations identified several areas of exceptional enthusiasm for what set University of Michigan Health-West apart from other organizations and areas for growth. The findings ultimately led to the creation of the MA Council in the Fall of 2020.

Now celebrating its first anniversary, the MA Council offers a continuum of leadership and professional development opportunities. The group also collaborates with other multi-disciplinary teams, departments, and councils to offer an MA perspective on patient care and other system-wide initiatives. 

“Our goal is to ensure Medical Assistant voices are heard,” said Ashleigh Milanowski, CMA at Beltline Health Center and MA Council Chair, University of Michigan Health-West. “Council leaders collaborate to align and support MA practices across the medical group, Primary Care and Specialty Care service lines. Together, we are improving workflows to continue ensuring quality patient care and Medical Assistant job satisfaction and retention.”

The MA Council has 10 members, each with a range of Medical Assistant specialties, including Primary Care, Specialty Care and Community Health Center. The group also includes administrative members and guests.

Year One Progress

Since its inception, the council has achieved several notable accomplishments, including participating in MiCareer Quest, a career exploration event, hosted by West Michigan Works! and two MA job fairs with panel discussions. The group also established MA Council M Net (intranet page), an engagement and team building toolkit.

Cross-functional collaboration has included working with the newly formed Patient Administrative Council (PAC) for clerical support staff, Patient Safety, Emergency Response, Pharmacy and University of Michigan Health Partners Governance Structure committees.

Looking Ahead

The MA Council continues driving forward, finding new ways to support Medical Assistants and advance patient care. The council is currently working with the Medical Group Primary Care Quality Office Workgroup to standardize the MA rooming process.

Upcoming initiatives include the Medical Assistant of the Year/Exemplar Award, Medical Assistant mentorship program, Medical Assistant career ladder, enhanced CEU opportunities and a standardized BLS certification process.

“It’s important to let people know about our work to show that we are here to help, listen and improve,” Ashleigh said. 

We believe our employees are our most valuable assets. We foster an environment that is rich in diversity, where every individual can have a sense of belonging, a voice that is heard and the opportunity to achieve and thrive. 

Find a job you love at University of Michigan Health-West. Join our team as a Medical Assistant today!