This article, "MT.Con: The Cockroach Problem In Medical Transcription", is intended for medical transcriptionists, MTSOs, physicians, medical records administrators, and student MTs.

In every job, there are performance/productivity standards to be met. But rarely are these applied so stringently as in the MT world when looking at eligibility to receive the benefits that supposedly come with full-time employment. MTs are usually required to transcribe 5,000 to 6,500 lines per week to maintain full-time status. Yet the work may run out, or there may be technical difficulties with the company's equipment which keep transcriptionists from meeting production quotas.

Once a person is dropped from a corporate health insurance program for low production, the COBRA rate to continue with the policy can be extremely expensive. One must generally wait 90 days after re-reaching production quotas to be picked up under the company plan a second time.

Maybe it is time to measure production on a yearly basis. Even 4,000 lines a week x, let's say, 48 weeks would still be 192,000 lines per year. That's a lot of transcription. Anyone who produces that much or more should be entitled to full benefits.

"If you don't use your mind, someone else will." -- Alan Cohen, self-help guru

9. Unpaid time - tech issues, re-recording, phone calls, research

Simply put, we need to make sure we're charging enough to compensate ourselves for our unpaid work-related activities. Medical word books, drug reference updates, and high-speed internet access are not free. Company phone calls and emails, macro writing, virus scanning, defragging, installing and configuring new software, looking up doctors' mailing addresses, and word research will always need to be done.

In the digital age, though, there is absolutely no reason for the MT to pay long-distance telephone charges to access dictation files. And anyone who calls in and re-records work is ripping himself/herself off big time. Just say no.

Alternative MT networking resources - updated 08/19/06
. Tons of information, but this writer finds the site difficult to navigate.
Will Sandberg's . Rivals this site for speed and accuracy!

- Usenet/Google newsgroup, also accessible through a newsreader program. Unmoderated newsgroup, archived forever.

10. Dishonest and/or unethical business practices

New variations on old scams abound in MT. The latest thing to hit the fan is all the more egregious because it was done to us by one of our own. "The internet's largest medical transcription community" had announced that it was going to do the sensible thing and require registration in order to hold people accountable for their postings.

What a rude awakening it was, then, to see an announcement on July 30, 2002, that the site's users, the MTs who have literally built it over the years through their voluntary participation, would now be required to subscribe, beginning September 1, 2002, at a rate of $60 per year! Almost immediately, because of the huge amount of negative feedback, the site owners lowered the fee to $48, but the damage was done. Now, no matter how much good information a person has contributed to the site in the past, he/she cannot even get in to look at it without agreeing to pay for a subscription. See the box at the left for alternative MT resources on the internet.

Have you heard about the pre-employment test where you transcribe reports for several hours, only to find there is no job for you? Isn't that a hell of a way to clear up a transcription backlog? When testing for a new employer, you should be asked to transcribe, at most, four to six reports.

If an employer plans to send you one of their computers, it is not completely unreasonable for them to require a small security deposit, which they must agree to send back to you within a specified time. Other than that, do not ever pay money for the dubious privilege of working in MT. Beware of so-called employers who require you to purchase wave pedals, software, etc., at inflated prices, only from them.

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