When you make the commitment to pursue the education and training you need to become a medical transcriptionist, you are taking an important step in securing your future. As you work towards your goal, expending time, energy, and money, the last thing you want is to see the promise of your investment evaporate because you are confronted with charges of academic misconduct, behavioral misconduct, sexual misconduct, professional misconduct, or some other disciplinary issue at your educational institution. Attorney Joseph Lento is a national education lawyer, and he and his team at the Lento Law Firm can help you. Make sure you understand all the requirements for the education and training you are pursuing, the possible legal risks to your success, and your best options if faced with legal issues as a student.
Medical Transcription—A Vital Service in the Healthcare Field
Medical transcriptionists, also known as healthcare documentation specialists, have long been an important part of the healthcare team. The medical transcriptionist contributes to the care and well-being of patients by processing much of the vital information needed in medical records.
Medical transcriptionists listen to voice recordings of healthcare workers and convert them into written reports. They transcribe the notes, diagnoses, and recommendations of the doctors, nurses, and physician assistants who evaluate and treat patients. Increasingly, medical transcriptionists use speech recognition technology to review and edit medical documents rather than listen to dictation from a healthcare provider.
The medical transcriptionist must be able to interpret medical terminology and abbreviations when they prepare documents such as medical histories and discharge summaries. In addition to having a mastery of medical terminology, they must be familiar with anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, diagnostic procedures, and treatment assessments.
When a medical transcriptionist has this knowledge base and is also skilled at transcribing information correctly and identifying inaccuracies, the chances that a patient will be treated incorrectly are reduced.
While medical transcriptionists may often need to work on tight deadlines, the work schedule can often be flexible, and many medical transcriptionists work remotely. Most work full-time. Employers include doctor's offices, hospitals, medical and diagnostic laboratories, and transcription service companies. Medical transcriptionists may also be self-employed.
The median full-time, annual salary for a medical transcriptionist is just over $30,000; the top 10% of workers in this field earn more than $48,000. Some medical transcriptionist positions pay an hourly rate, or a rate based on the volume of transcriptions produced. Most medical transcriptionists work full-time, and many work from home. Working in the healthcare field as a medical transcriptionist can provide a rewarding, secure livelihood, worthy of the investment in training and education. It is important not to be distracted or even have your educational pursuits stopped by charges of academic misconduct, behavior misconduct, or other offenses.
A typical job description for a medical transcriptionist could include the following duties:
- Generate documents such as updates to the patient history, exam notes, operative reports, and discharge summaries; generate referral letters
- Listen to and transcribe the recorded dictation of a healthcare provider
- Convert medical jargon and abbreviations into appropriate, full versions of terminology
- For drafts prepared using speech recognition software, review and edit to ensure transcription is complete and correct
- Confer with the healthcare provider on any questions or inconsistencies
- Submit health records to a healthcare provider for approval
- Comply with patient confidentiality guidelines
- Fulfill legal documentation requirements
- Enter generated documents into electronic health records systems
- Perform quality improvement audits
The Path to Becoming a Medical Transcriptionist
While certification is not required to become a medical transcriptionist, it can help with securing work in a shrinking job market—the increasing use of speech recognition software has improved medical transcriptionist productivity, thereby reducing the number of transcriptionists needed. In addition, many employers prefer to hire transcriptionists who have completed a one-year certificate program or an associate's degree program. Vocational schools and community colleges offer programs, and there are also remote-learning options; many programs include supervised on-the-job experience.
The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) is the professional organization for medical transcriptionists. They offer certificate programs, certificate exams, a member community, and more.
While working as a medical transcriptionist can be a great way to start your career in the healthcare field, this position is also attractive to those already familiar with medical terminology from previous experience in roles such as nursing assistants or medical secretaries.
When the Path is Blocked—Legal Threats to Your Education and Certification
Given the increasingly tight job market for medical transcriptionists and the preference many employers have for hiring candidates with a certificate or associate's degree, it is wise to obtain these credentials before your job search. Pursuing certification or a degree is a significant investment of your time, money, and energy, and it shows your commitment to the field. If all goes well, you will be a strong candidate for the position you desire, and you will be able to build the foundation of your career and future. But despite your best efforts, you may face challenges in pursuit of your educational goals that require the counsel of an attorney with experience in student legal defense. You may be accused of some type of misconduct, and without appropriate legal advice, you may see your plans for a career as a medical transcriptionist evaporate. Do not let this happen! Contact national school defense attorney Joseph Lento and the Lento Law Firm.
The types of misconduct that may threaten your educational goals include the following:
- Academic standards issues – In any educational program, students must make satisfactory academic progress (SAP). Failures to make SAP include too few credits per term, too many terms off, too many course incompletes or withdrawals, and a grade point average that is below the minimum allowed.
- Academic misconduct – Schools typically have a clearly defined honor code that students must adhere to. Violations include cheating, plagiarism, and unauthorized collaboration.
- Behavioral misconduct – Transgressions in this category include crimes that endanger others, including violence or threats of violence, drunk driving, theft, trespass, and computer misuse.
- Sexual misconduct (including Title IX) – Sexual discrimination or harassment and stalking, as well as physical acts such as sexual assault and domestic violence, are among the types of conduct in this category.
- Professionalism issues – Violations of the Code of Ethics of the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity include failure to maintain patient confidentiality and unethical billing practices.
Academic Standards Issues
You enter an educational program with the best intentions to do well and earn your degree or certificate. Sometimes, however, changes in circumstances affect your ability to meet the satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards of your educational institution. You may need to take time off because of a family crisis or withdraw from classes because of health problems. While these should be straightforward issues to manage, your school may be inconsistent in how it administers its SAP standards, and you may find yourself unfairly penalized. Attorney Joseph Lento has the experience with academic administrative processes and the legal knowledge you need to untangle what may be a convoluted mess of red tape and bureaucracy. Joseph Lento and his team at Lento Law Firm can help you get back on track with your educational and career goals.
Academic Misconduct Charges
It is important for every educational institution to have a code of academic conduct. Students need clearly defined boundaries regarding what is acceptable as they pursue their studies. For example, what is the line between using a source as a reference and plagiarism? When does helping another student understand a difficult concept, or giving feedback on a paper they wrote, cross into cheating? Issues can also arise when instructors perceive academic misconduct when none exists.
It is your right to challenge academic misconduct charges and to do so aggressively. Student defense attorney Joseph Lento and his team at Lento Law Firm will make your case and restore your good name.
Behavioral Misconduct Charges
Just as schools have guidelines for acceptable academic behavior, they also have behavioral standards students must maintain. Behavior codes typically describe both expected behavior and unacceptable behavior. Expectations may include treating all individuals with respect and consideration and helping someone in distress.
Violations can of the behavior code can threaten your academic career. While what you do in your personal life may seem irrelevant to your academic performance, schools have successfully punished and even expelled students who violated behavior codes, which can include a broad range of violations:
- Physically or verbally harassing, intimidating, or abusing any visitor to or member of the community
- Creating a hostile work environment
- Damaging or destroying property
- Committing theft and receiving stolen goods
- Disorderly conduct
- Possessing weapons or explosives
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Failing to comply with school directives
Don't let charges of behavioral misconduct threaten your academic pursuits. Retain a skilled and experienced school defense attorney. The team at Lento Law Firm is ready to take your case.
Sexual Misconduct (including Title IX) Charges
Any school that receives federal funding must have sexual misconduct codes that comply with federal Title IX requirements. Title IX, which prohibits sexual discrimination in educational programs, is part of the Equal Protection Clause of amendments to the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Charges of sexual misconduct are among the most volatile and disconcerting that a student can face. Sexual misconduct codes prohibit sex-based harassment such as sexual assault, domestic or intimate partner violence, and stalking.
Do not be unnerved if you are confronted with charges of sexual misconduct. Calmly contact the offices of attorney Joseph Lento to begin the process of clearing your name.
The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) has a Code of Ethics that applies to the following groups:
- All members of the ADHI
- Individuals who hold the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) certificate
- Individuals who hold the Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT)/Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) or other AHDI-certified training program certificate
The principles and standards of the Code of Ethics are summarized below:
- Maintain confidentiality of all patient information.
- Implement and maintain standards of professional healthcare documentation practice.
- Respect the rights and dignity of all individuals.
- Continue professional growth through continuing education, networking with colleagues, professional reading, etc.
- Strive to provide accurate and timely information.
- Exercise integrity in professional practices.
- Conduct business ethically.
- Comply with all laws, regulations, and standards governing the practice of healthcare documentation.
- In the workplace, foster environments that facilitate integrity, professionalism, and protection of health information.
- Work for the advancement of and refrain from any activity detrimental to the profession.
The ADHI Code of Ethics notes an important legal aspect of adherence to the code: “Instances may arise when members' and certificants' ethical obligations may appear to conflict with relevant laws and regulations.” The code explains that legal proceedings may be required to determine if a law has been broken. Given the possible legal complexities in the Code of Ethics, it is especially important to call attorney Joseph Lento, who has extensive experience in student defense, if you face professionalism misconduct charges while earning your degree or certification in medical transcription.
Contact Premier Student Defense Attorney Joseph Lento
As you pursue your goal of becoming a medical transcriptionist, do not let your education be derailed by charges of academic misconduct, behavioral misconduct, sexual misconduct, or professional misconduct. You can and must be resolute in fighting the allegations, and you do not need to do it alone. Attorney Joseph Lento is the fighter you need to make your case and achieve exoneration. The team at the Lento Law Firm is ready to help you. Call 888-535-3686 or tell us about your case.