Medical Assisting Training Program - MercyOne



MercyOne, a healthcare provider in Des Moines, Iowa, faced significant staffing shortages in Medical Assistant (MA) positions, leading to canceled hours and procedures. To address this challenge, MercyOne partnered with OpusVi to develop an innovative apprentice-style MA training program.

The Challenge:

MercyOne grappled with several critical issues impacting its operations and patient care. The primary challenge was a significant shortage of Medical Assistants (MAs), which led to the cancellation of hours and procedures, disrupting the continuity and quality of patient services. Retention issues compounded this shortage, as the existing MA training programs yielded low graduation and retention rates, further exacerbating the staffing crisis.

Moreover, MercyOne recognized many of their non-clinical staff members, such as receptionists, patient transport staff and environmental services personnel, had the potential to advance in their careers but needed more training and qualifications. There was a clear need to create a pathway for these employees to rise to clinical roles, which would not only fill the MA vacancies but also enhance employee satisfaction and retention. To address these multifaceted challenges, MercyOne turned to OpusVi for a solution that could simultaneously increase the supply of qualified MAs, improve retention rates and provide career advancement opportunities for their existing workforce.

How We Did It:

To solve this problem, MercyOne partnered with OpusVi to create an apprentice-style Medical Assitant Training program that catered to current, non-clinical staff such as receptionists, patient transport staff and even staff in environmental services.

Working with Mercy College, a hybrid program was designed that could be completed primarily online over the course of 10 months, allowing participants to maintain their full-time jobs and benefits. This flexibility enabled non-clinical staff, such as receptionists and patient transport personnel, to transition smoothly into clinical roles while still contributing to the organization.




Reduction in Medical Assistant turnover


Medical Assistant Retention Rate (an increase from 64.6%)

3+ Years

Committed retention per employee

The course offered several key benefits:

  • Sustainable Career Pathways: The program included a 3-year sustainability plan, where participants moved from entry-level roles to advanced credentialing and committed to staying with MercyOne for at least two additional years.

  • Work Continuity: Employees could continue working in their existing roles, fulfilling multiple needs within the clinic while enhancing their skills.

  • Skill Advancement: By training non-clinical staff for clinical roles, MercyOne created a flexible and skilled workforce capable of meeting diverse operational needs.
MercyOne Medical Assistant Case Study

About MercyOne

MercyOne is a connected system of health care facilities and services dedicated to helping people and communities live their best life. MercyOne’s care providers and colleagues make health the highest priority. The system’s clinics, medical centers, hospitals and affiliates are located throughout the state of Iowa and beyond. Headquartered in central Iowa, MercyOne is a member of Trinity Health (based in Livonia, Michigan) – one of the largest not-for-profit Catholic health care systems in the nation. Learn more at