The Worst Companies to Work For: M Modal
About Medical Transcription Services
M Modal is a medical transcription services company. It is the largest clinical transcription service in the U.S., according to its website.
What is a clinical transcription service? Not a lot of people are aware that when they enter a hospital, their case becomes a record. That record takes a number of forms. One of those forms is paper records. Another form is the doctor's notes that the doctor dictates into a recording device. Those notes are then transcribed by a medical transcriptionist so that the record can be stored and used as necessary. M Modal provides this service to hospitals and doctors.
How Do They Treat Their Employees?
No matter what the business, a company is measured by how it treats its employees, and by any measure, M Modal treats its employees like disposable garbage.
Aside from the fact that the company has been shipping many of its jobs to India and reducing its American workforce to save money, the company has found unique ways to destroy morale among its American employees.
All of M Modal's American transcriptionists work from home, which saves money on office space, rent, and other such costs. However, M Modal has instituted some interesting policies regarding work hours and other aspects of employment, as described below.
No Unpaid Time Off
Now, if this sounds absurd, that's because it is. In other words, if an employee is sick, their child is sick, they just want to ski, or some other of the possible million explanations why somebody might need a day off, M Modal requires their transcriptionists to make up those days. This places M Modal's supervisors and its transcriptionists in some unusual situations and creates some morale-busting scenarios:
- Transcriptionist supervisors are required to be on-call 24 hours a day and have a computer and a cell phone with them at all times—even while on vacation.
- When the father of an M Modal transcriptionist became terminally ill, she requested time off to take care of him. The company refused her request and she was forced to quit. Several months later, the company attempted to hire her back, adding insult to injury.
- An M Modal employee had the horrific experience of having her son die. On her way to the funeral, her supervisor called her to come into work. When the situation was explained to the manager, the employee was still requested to come into work. The employee quit.
And actually, this isn't being fair to M Modal because there is such a thing as unpaid time off, which is when there's no work. So when a transcriptionist reports for scheduled hours and there's no work, they're told to take time off and report it as "excused—no work." This is unpaid, of course.
Employees Make Less Than Minimum Wage
When a company treats its employees like disposable parts, such behavior can often be partially tolerated if the pay is good. That is not the case with M Modal, which has consistently lowered the pay rate of its employees to the point where many of them don't make minimum wage. You see, transcriptionists aren't paid hourly. They're paid according to production. In other words, the more the transcriptionist produces, the faster they type, the more they make.
The average medical transcriptionist (MT) makes about 8 cents per line and transcribes about 200 lines per hour. This translates to $16/hour. Unfortunately, M Modal relies heavily on speech recognition, and it only pays its transcriptionists 4 cents per line to edit the transcription produced by speech recognition. Since most of the work is now editing, most MTs are making $8/hour. This isn't for flipping burgers, remember. This is highly skilled labor.
Now, the lower pay rate might be justified if the work were easier, but it's not. In fact, it's about the same, if not harder. Although the speech recognition is supposed to learn, many doctors transcribe their records while on cell phones or with food in their mouths. Many doctors have various accents the software has trouble recognizing. Some transcriptionists estimate the speech recognition software is no more than 10% accurate.
Transcriptionists Must Be 99.5% Accurate
Name an industry, any industry, where the employees must be 99.5% accurate? While it's not uncommon for businesses to maintain efficiency standards, M Modal tells its employees that they must be 99.5% accurate or they will get their pay docked (when many of its employees already make less than minimum wage).
When many of the doctors who do the dictation speak English as a second language, talk while eating or on a cell phone, and talk so fast they can't be understood, this requirement is absurd. Yet, not only are professional people who are already working for peanuts getting their pay docked, they've also been told they will never receive a raise. And if more than 5% of a transcriptionist's work is sent to quality control, their pay is docked further.
Shipping Jobs Overseas
M Modal is sending as much dictation overseas as they can so that they can save money. However, even in India, where M Modal sends their work, the employees aren't happy. That must be because they're paid $40/week.
Would You Accept These Conditions in a Job?
A Horror Story
Working for M Modal is a horror story. Independent chat boards for company employees show that almost nobody enjoys working there. This is no surprise. With company policies for time off that are reflective of a company that doesn't value its employees and pay that falls significantly below minimum wage in many cases, M Modal has become a company nobody wants to work for—but some have to, because they have no place else to go. M Modal treats its workers like replaceable parts, and its company policies reflect that.
- M*Modal | Transcription, Speech Recognition & Clinical Documentation
Visit MModal.com to learn how to turn the physician’s narrative into live, shareable intelligence for improved care and better informed financial decisions.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Why does Modal keep changing their name? Too many lawsuits?
I don't know why this company keeps changing its name. The industry is certainly changing rapidly, particularly with the advent of computerized dictation and voice recognition.Helpful 2
Why aren't medical transcription companies regulated and why are doctors using them?
It's cheaper for hospitals to use them and they have to. They need computerized records of their notes.