Monday, March 18, 2013

School or Scam? St. Augustine School of Medical Assistants



My blog is being bombarded with spam comments from a purported school called "St. Augustine School of Medical Assistants." Of course, I have not published any of the numerous attempts but I am getting tired of dealing with it. I have reported the person who is trying to post the comments, "m rana," to Google several times but to no avail.

As a public service, I will present what I have found out about this school.


It claims to be accredited, but the alleged accrediting organization, The National Accreditation and Certification Board (NACB), is not recognized by any legitimate medical authority. In fact, it "accredits approved alternative holistic health practitioner programs and certifies graduates of said programs which meet all of the National Accreditation and Certification Board qualifications."


Graduates of St. Augustine School of Medical Assistants are not eligible to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant examination.


Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA, executive director and legal counsel for the American Association of Medical Assistants, has written about this school saying its ads are misleading and calling it a "diploma mill." [Here is a guide explaining how to spot a diploma mill.]


The St. Augustine School of Medical Assistants appears on a list of " Unauthorized Schools and Invalid Degrees" posted by the State of Oregon. The site says, " The following colleges and universities are not permitted to enroll Oregon students or offer degree programs in Oregon. Degrees from these colleges are not valid in Oregon, and may not be used for academic or employment purposes, or acknowledged as a credential in any public forum or publication, including on a website or in communication related to professional practice or participation in professional organizations."


If you want further information, I suggest you check out a forum on the Indeed.com website detailing several complaints about this school.


Addendum [3/18/13 9:30 a.m.]: I just received notification that "m rana" has posted a comment on this site. I am going to publish it just to prove to you that it's true. I'm not Jewish but I believe they call it "chutzpah."

53 comments:

m rana said...




Medical assistants must be capable of handling intense emergency situations placed
against chaotic emotions, flying egos and anxieties. It is absolutely essential for
them to maintain a calm, patient and positive attitude to focus on keeping their
nerves intact and getting the job done.


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NeuroTrumpet said...

^^^ Speak of the devil...

RuggerMD said...

ha, LMBO.
Nice way to out them.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Neuro, that's a very funny comment.

Rugger, they are outed but they just won't quit.

Moose said...

I will bet you 1 Millyun Quatloos that "m rana" is a computer program that's monitoring blogspot sites. When each is updated with a new post the software automagically posts a comment.

There's no actual human making the comment, except for whomever is checking the logs to see how many comments have been posted each day.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Moose, you may be right, but the comments are not just on new posts. They are mostly on old posts and often there are two or three directed at the same blog.

The name "m rana" is attached to all of them and she has a Google account.

sajukhann0n said...

Medical Assistant educational facilities have become offering on the internet coaching for Medical Assistants. The online medical associate software at E. Augustine School of Medical Assistants could be the first to provide on the internet medical associate instruction and is positioned #1 simply by Ideal Universities On the web like a nationally certified in addition to qualified medical associate software. Now you can analyze on the internet becoming a medical associate.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

You've got to hand it to the folks from St. Augustine (E. Augustine?). They don't let a little criticism deter them from their mission.

If the latest comment, from sajukhannon, is any indication of the quality of the education at St. Augustine (E. Augustine?), I am even more disinclined to recommend it. Try reading it aloud.

St. Augustine School of Medical Assistants said...

Really nice and great informative and valuable post.Thanks for share brilliant information regarding to Medical Assistants.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Now even the folks at St. Augustine School agree that my post about their school is "brilliant."

It's either a bot or a person who can't read English very well.

Anonymous said...

It's a bot spamming, being run by someone who is trying to use SEO on their controlled sites so that the negative reviews go away from the first page of Google

Skeptical Scalpel said...

I'll take your word for it. I was just impressed by the variety of the attempted comments that seemed to be different each time.

Jason Horton said...

Thank you for posting this article - the more people who expose this so-called school the better.

They even recently tried to post comments on the negative review I wrote about them last year thanking me for a great blog post!

Cheers,
Jason Horton
Editor
Medical Assistant Atlas

PS - I have shared your post on Twitter and Facebook - every little bit helps!

medical assistant said...

What is a Medical Assistant?

Some sort of Health care Helper is really a non-licensed healthcare specialized which generally performs within the oversight of the registered medical professional in the doctor’s place of work, centre, clinic or even some other healthcare placing to aid from the corporation and sleek running on the capability. Schooling is normally the initial step to a career on this sought after discipline, to help offer you several years involving fulfilling function knowledge!

Skeptical Scalpel said...

They continue to spam this post. I've deleted them, but I felt the one they sent today was particularly good.

I assume the training at St. Augustine includes instruction in writing coherent sentences such as the ones in the above comment.

Afrika McCarty said...

St. Augustine is a RIPOFF and need to be stopped ASAP!

Anonymous said...

thank you for posting this, I was close to enrolling!

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Afrika and Anon, I am happy to have been helpful.

Anonymous said...

i actuall paid for the online program, can somebody help me get a refund . i have emailed them for a refund but they never got back to me

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Dear Anonymous,

I am so sorry that you fell for this scam. I do not know of any way for you to get your money back.

I suppose you could try to report this to your state's consumer protection department, but I doubt that it will help.

I hope it wasn't too much money.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I fell for it too. Don't have the time or the money to hoof it to a local college. I'd have to quit my job to attend their hours...So I figured Internet College was my best bet. I feel like a real idiot for sure. On the bright side, I threatened BBB action and I actually got an e-mail back for once. What a shocker!

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Thanks. I hope the previous anonymous sees your comment.

Nikki Hess said...

I fell for this scam too! I got scammed out of $570. I can't believe it. I am doing everything I can to try and get my money back.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Nikki, I am sorry that you got taken. I hope you get a refund.

Anonymous said...

Oh my. Thank you for this post. I was considering this school to assist some of my non-credentialed MA's in passing their certification exams. I guess it was too good to be true.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

I'm happy to be of service.

Anonymous said...

I've been calling trying to get my money back. What email did you use to threaten them? I"ve called since I registered because they never emailed me my log in, I've called numerous times to to get answers and all the registration dpt can say is that they don't have a contact number for the school. I"m so mad I didn't do my research I always do. Should I seek legal actions?

Skeptical Scalpel said...

I hope the previous anonymous sees your comment and tells you how she contacted the so-called school. I doubt that a lawyer would take your case since the amount of money is so small (to a lawyer). Can you stop the credit card charge? Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I work as a Credentialing Coordinator for a medical office. Several of our nurse aides took the St. Augustine Medical Assistant training, prior to my coming on board. At the time, no one realized they should take a National Certification exam as the secondary step of the completion of the medical assistant course. I called the NHA and spoke with a rep and explained the situation. They accepted the education from St. Augustine (previously they did not). We became an approved proctor site and we test our staff who want to take the national certification. We have several who now are Nationally Certified Clinical Medical Assistants through the NHA. If any employer wants to do this, they will need to contact the NHA.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Anon, you comment is very interesting but difficult to believe in view of the many comments to the contrary on this post. I don't have the time to verify anything you have written, but I would advise anyone considering this school to do a thorough check to be sure your state recognizes certification from the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Without much effort I found this complaint online http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/cmt-credential-wisconsin-c192493.html

emartllc said...

You must complain to google by logging in to http://webmaster.google.com/ and explain them the problem that you are facing with St. Augustine School of Medical Assistants.

regards,
Donna

Anonymous said...

Thank God I read this post! A really nice flyer came in my job fax, and I was actually considering it!

Anonymous said...

thanks everyone, i was about to enroll to this online programing...

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Happy to have helped.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post! The clinic I worked at put us through this program about 2 years ago. I never bothered to check the program myself, I just took the training the manager gave us. We all thought we were Nationally Accredited MA's. Now I am moving, and am discovering all sorts of information like this on St. Augustine. At least I didn't have to pay for the course, but I am certainly not happy.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Sorry you got scammed, but I hope you do well when you take an accredited course. Good luck.

jon k said...

I was a student at St augustine school of medical assistant school they told me once I completed the program they will setup a externship site to receive experience they lied I took the program in 2012 I was wondering if I can get a refund

Skeptical Scalpel said...

I don't know if you can get a refund. See the above comments for the experiences of others in your situation. Good luck.

Alex said...

Hi Skeptical Scalpel,
I have a question... I was wondering if someone established a company offering online education and one of the courses offered was Medical Assisting and this course would be very good and informative, but not accredited by NHA, would you consider this a good thing or still consider it a scam? Thank you.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

It might not be a scam, but why would you take a course that isn't accredited? Many employers will not hire a medical assistant who did not attend an accredited course.

Anonymous said...

WOW! They are still at it I just received a fax for medassistant.org and I figured they were a scam because they can't spell the name of the cities they say their advisors are from...Las Vageus...go figure.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Yes, they actually spelled it Las Vagus, from the nerve with the same name. I think they were trying to keep it medically oriented.

You might find this amusing. Yesterday, the St. Augustine school tried to place a spam comment on this post. Maybe they hadn't read it or maybe they can't read. I almost let it go through but I didn't want to encourage them.

Anonymous said...

This has been interesting to read. My co-worker went through the St. Augustine program back in 2010. She recently sat through the NCCT certification test and passed, but when she applied to the state to get a state number, they told her that her application was incomplete because they needed her official transcripts. Of course, when she tried contacting the school through e-mail and phone...no response. The state told her they would keep her application in pending for 300 days. My poor co-worker is at wits end. Has anyone had success in getting transcripts from school?

Skeptical Scalpel said...

For some reason, I just got notice of this comment.

I am so sorry hear about your co-worker's dilemma. I wish I could help you, but I can't.

Flo Moore said...

THIS IS A SCAM!!!!! I have been calling to receive a REFUND everyday since Jan 22,2016 (the day after I enrolled) I have not received ANY sort of communication. I have now reported this association to the Michigan Attorney General and charges will be filed. You will NOT be accredited for these online classes.This company is FALSE ADVERTISING an accredited program. I have called and emailed this association every day multiple times a day since. NO RESPONSE yet!!!

Skeptical Scalpel said...

I am sorry to hear about your problem. I hope you can get a refund and that the Atty. Gen. of Michigan can do something about this company. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

One of my coworkers was able to pay the two for one price of the program and WAS ABLE to sit for the certification test. She is now a Certified Medical Assistant in Oregon... I'm not sure where you get your scam details but they are quite scandalous. I wouldn't blame the school for suing you for fraud.
Before you start assuming I am connected to the school... NO, I am not.. in ANY WAY connected to this school. I am however considering taking the course and becoming certified myself now.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

I didn't make this up. If you had read the post, you would have found out where I got the details. I provided links to every reference.

Dana Wilson said...

I'm currently enrolled in this program. I did research on this program and they say they are accredited. I plan on taking my test next week. I found this site by accident.

I did this online course because I have worked in healthcare for many years. I have done everything as a medical assistant in the past just never had the accredited exam. I feel like a fool, after reading this. I got my book and immediately asked for a refund. The book is outdated and the c.d. is windows seven. Its obsolete. I did get a refund from amazon. I figured I could take my state cma test after this online course.

This is very disheartening. I'm a single mother trying to get ahead in this world.

Anonymous said...

I feel taken. I researched this program. I'm disgusted agter reading all the comments. I'm ready to take my test next week. I'm a single mom, that works full time in healthcare. I thought since they were accredited and I was able to take the state boards, sounded legit. So diappointed ��

Skeptical Scalpel said...

I am sorry that you had the misfortune to sign up for this course. I hope things work out for you.

Unknown said...

I am just trying to get a copy of my certificate but cannot find a phone number or any way to get in touch with them. Anyone have suggestions?

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Unknown, I'm sorry. I have no idea how to contact the school. Maybe one of my readers can help.

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