On Thursday, June 6th, 2009, at the Queens College Colden Auditorium, a ceremony was held honoring the largest Allen School graduating class in its almost fifty year history – a full 1400 graduates – which included graduates from the Medical Assistant and Nursing Assistant programs and the first group of graduates from the Allen School’s new Online Medical Insurance Billing & Coding program. The online graduates who attended with their families were not only from New York, but also from such distant places as Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Ohio. For some of them, the trip to Graduation 2009 represented their first trip to New York. The ceremonies began with a quiet reflection delivered by Mike Perez, Executive Director of Admissions, followed by a powerful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by current Queens’ Medical Assistant student, Elizabeth Guzman. Annette Jill Luke, Director of the Queens campus, Lillian Mitchell, Director of the Brooklyn campus, and Linda Passamaneck, Director of the Online school, addressed the graduates and guests. Their abiding devotion to the graduates was expressed in heartfelt and meaningful words of encouragement and enthusiasm, clearly tinged with a bit of melancholy as yet another group of their carefully nurtured “offspring” flew out of the Allen School “nest” into the world at large. Valedictorians, Medical Assistant, Renee Heron (Queens, New York campus), Erica Myers (Brooklyn, New York campus), and Billing & Coding professional Terry Sherman (Online school), spoke eloquently. Renee advised her fellow graduates to “shoot for the moon,” in terms of reaching their full potential. Erica compared the grace under fire of the pilot, Chesley Sullenberger, who safely landed the plane in the Hudson River on January 15th of 2009, to the potential that each graduate has to incorporate their training and skills into successfully handling a crisis when others will be depending upon them. Terry Sherman spoke of her challenging “journey,” returning to school after having raised “three beautiful daughters,” and the great self-confidence she regained as a result. Janet Kramer, the new and first Executive Director of Career Services, using the metaphor of Dr. Seuss, inspired the graduates to strive for lofty goals and to never give up. Dr. Stephen Davis, Academic Dean (Queens), distributed the diplomas. Dr. Robert Jannicelli, Academic Dean (Brooklyn), presented the graduates to the President of the Allen School, Mr. Robert Teich. Mr. Teich spoke of the remarkable history of the Allen School, of the fact that ownership now includes three full generations, having passed from Loretta Teich, his mother, to him and now including his son, the Vice President, Jason Teich. He spoke with emotion and pride of the longevity of employment of so very many of the Allen School personnel, as close as family to him, many of whom have been with the school for ten, twenty and even thirty years. Mr. Teich praised the first group of online graduates and congratulated all of the graduates encouraging them to go higher. Evening Dean, Gail Skeete (Brooklyn), lead the graduates in the recitation of the Professional Code for Health Career Graduates, that includes the promise to provide services with respect for human dignity…regardless of the social, cultural, economic or religious differences of the patients…to be a role model for one’s family, a professional in the community and a part of the global healthcare team…” Members of the Allen School’s 2009 graduating class, will be part of the new frontier in the medical industry, as advancing techniques in science, medicine and technology, meet the challenges in a world of “firsts.” Additional photos of Graduation 2009 are posted on the Facebook page and on the Allen School blog. Check them out. For Facebook:
Queens and Brooklyn Campuses Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=89847&id=56312267794
Online Campus Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=92459&id=57096317965
For the Blog: http://blog.online.allenschool.edu/?p=181#more-181
Unprecedented and breathtaking developments in human communication underscore how Allen School continues to utilize cutting edge methods to benefit its community…
In a remarkable historical event, thousands of brave young people in Iran risked their lives by taking to the streets in a dramatic political uprising. They protested the results of a recent presidential election. In the face of massive arrests by the police and threats of execution from government officials, public protest continued as the government worked on shielding the outside world’s view of the unrest by arresting journalists, and banning coverage of the demonstrations. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and citizen journalism replaced traditional news outlets for the spreading of information. Old media, falling victim to censorship by the government, was not able to keep up with reporting the news. The new model for communication has become social networking. Social media has opened a direct line of accessible information that enables people to communicate with each other. The Allen School, after introducing four years ago its online portal to showcase high level candidates to the medical HR community, the Speed Staffing System™ is now making use of social networking to knit its own community more tightly together and to reach out to the community at large. Students and alumni of both school entities and the community at large are invited to become fans on Facebook to meet each other and to find out about goings on and events. They are also invited to read the ongoing and lively discussions on the new blog and are welcome to post their opinions and comments. For Facebook: Queens and Brooklyn Campuses Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brooklyn-and-Queens-NY/Allen-School/56312267794?ref=ts#/pages/Brooklyn-and-Queens-NY/Allen-School/56312267794?v=info&viewas=544620149
Online Campus Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Allen-School-Online/57096317965?ref=ts#/pages/Allen-School-Online/57096317965?v=wall&viewas=544620149
For the Blog: http://blog.online.allenschool.edu/?p=122
There has never been a better time to enter the world of medical billing and coding. Let me explain why. Healthcare professionals and healthcare students need a solid understanding of the “Age Wave” which will soon hit the United States. Continue reading…
Dear Editor: At the end of the last two interviews I had, the interviewers asked me if I had any questions. Both times I told them that I didn’t and I felt as if they seemed to be expecting more from me, for me to actually ask questions, but I didn’t know what to ask. I felt as if I had done really well in the interviews, but did not get called back to either facility. No Questions Dear No Questions: It is a standard practice for many interviewers to ask, “Do you have any questions?” at the end of an interview. When a candidate replies, “No, I think you covered it all,” it may be interpreted by the hiring manager that you are not really interested in the job. Always come prepared with some questions to ask, but never ask about salary and benefits until the employer raises those issues. By asking questions, you show your interest in the position, play a more active role in the interview, showcase how much you know, guide the discussion into an area of your particular expertise, and have an opportunity to decide if you really want to work for that organization. An example of some good questions to ask are: » What are the traits and skills of people who are the most successful within your organization/office? Can you describe an ideal employee? » What will be the most challenging aspects of the position? » Why do you enjoy working for this company? » Can you describe a typical day for someone in this position? What are the day-to-day responsibilities of the position? » What particular software and computer equipment do you use? » How will my job performance be measured, by whom, and how often? » What is the company’s policy on promoting people? » Is there anything else you need to know about me as a candidate? » How soon do you expect to make a decision? When might I expect to hear from you? The Editor
Before she discovered that her patient in the Medical Surgery step-down unit at Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn was the father of one of Allen School’s key faculty members, Sandra Omokaro, who graduated as a Certified Nursing Assistant in 2006, was providing first-rate and gentle care to him. Imagine her surprise when the instructor walked in to visit!
Hired immediately upon graduating, Sandra will be at the hospital for two years, as of this June. Six months after starting there, she was sent, at the hospital’s expense, to train for a promotion to the step-down unit, with patients who require constant monitoring after surgery. Her Phlebotomy and EKG training are in constant use there. Her profound enthusiasm for a career in medicine was inspired, Sandra said, by Allen School CNA instructor, Evangeline Bivens, RN, CCM, to whom she ascribes her decision to pursue the nursing degree towards which she has completed three full years.
Sandra Omokaro, Certified Nursing Assistant Graduate, 2006, with her mentor, Allen School Instructor Evangeline Bivens, RN, CCM
“Miss Bivens was the best! She was very patient, taught us as if we were her own kids,” said Sandra. “She made sure we really knew what we were doing, took each of us under her wing and made sure we got the best of everything. She really gave us in-depth lectures and made sure that when we went for our internship, we were treated well!” Working full time and completing her nursing degree, while remaining caring and proficient with her patients in a high volume, high stress hospital critical care environment, Sandra Omokaro represents Allen School at the highest level.
Advances in microsurgical techniques make life-changing miracles possible The first face transplant was on a nine-year-old girl in India, in 1994, whose hair braids got caught in a farm grass cutting machine that pulled her head in and amputated her scalp and face. Thinking quickly, her parents saved the scalp and face in a plastic bag and rushed their unconscious child to a hospital where one of India’s top microsurgeons reconnected the arteries and replanted the skin. Although she was left with muscle damage and scarring around the edges where the skin had been sutured back on, the girl, Sandeep Kaur, ten years later trained to become a nurse at the same hospital at which her operation was done, demonstrating that it is not what happens to someone in their life that defines it, but, rather, what they do with their life as a result of what happens. In December of 2008, as reported by CNN, a woman in Cleveland underwent America’s first full face transplant in a 22-hour surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. It was the most extensive face transplant so far, the first facial transplant known to have included bones. The patient could not eat or breathe on her own due to a traumatic injury several years before. She could not taste or smell and had trouble speaking. She had profound deformity in the center of her face, and was missing her right eye and upper jaw. After receiving the nose, cheeks, upper jaw and facial tissue of a female cadaver, her progress, as reported by FoxNews.com, is considered “astonishing” and her doctors are “cautiously optimistic.” Face transplants have been possible, in theory, for a number of years. To date, seven face transplants have been reported worldwide. These include a 38-year-old in France whose dog ripped her face to shreds, a man in China who was attacked by a bear, and a man in France who suffered from the same disease as John Merrik, the Elephant Man. Advances in medicine like these represent continued opportunities for employment for those with appropriate training.
Margie White, Manager Instructional Services Department Allen School’s Online Medical Insurance Billing & Coding Program
Q: What have you found to be the biggest misconception the students have about taking courses online? A: Before they begin, the students fear that there will be no interaction. You have to have good instructors. Surprisingly, students who normally would not speak out in a classroom are more open to participating online because they have the safety of the computer and they are willing to voice opinions and thoughts. In a ground classroom, you have several students who monopolize the class and the others don’t get heard. Online everybody has the opportunity to be heard. If you are bashful, or not sure that your opinion is worthy, you may not be willing to voice it in a room full of people. With online, you have time to think about it, then go in and write it and present it. Q: Have you found the “human factor” to be diminished in any way with online training?
A: I don’t think that at all. Online doesn’t decrease interaction. The discussions are “meaty” and there is real communication between the instructor and the students and between the students themselves. Also, we do ClassLive which is real time web conferencing where, with microphone and headset and speakers, people can communicate verbally in real time. For example, to use Coding to demonstrate this: The instructor gives a little lecture. Then, the instructor works on a white board putting up coding case studies and the students code them and then, they talk about how those specific codes came about. Q: Do students need to be tech-savvy to start with? A: We ask in our Admissions essay if they send email, surf the Internet, pay bills online. If so, then we know they have a level of comfort with the computer. They don’t need to be expert on the computer. Q: What are you finding to be the reasons that so many people are applying to the program? A: There are a lot of reasons why they want to come into the program. We get late bloomers, like me, who make the decision to get into a secure career, those reacting to the economy, those wishing to have second careers, those who feel they missed earlier opportunities. At the moment, the ages of our students in the online program range from nineteen to those in their sixties. Q. What are some of the areas that students can go into after this training, if not specifically in Billing and Coding? A: The ones who love Coding more than Billing might want to pursue a little more education and then work for a Cancer registry. These are databases of statistics – most states have them, hospitals, too – where they list every type of Cancer and, for example, when it started, where it started, what type of treatment was administered, etc. Researchers use these databases to determine what treatments are working for Cancer. There are also Trauma registries that keep statistics on how many motor vehicle accidents occurred and the type of injuries sustained. All of these things are codes and a number of those who study MIBC are amazed at what they can do with the training and the possibilities there are to work with researchers. Grads can also work in insurance companies doing claims review. http://online.allenschool.edu
Dear Editor: I believe that I was asked illegal questions on a recent job interview. I wasn’t sure, so I answered them. I am uncomfortable with the entire situation and now I feel that at I shouldn’t have answered them. But, again, I’m not sure if they were illegal to ask. What are examples of illegal questions and how should I respond to them? Protecting My Privacy Dear Protecting My Privacy: You did not provide the questions to me that you think might have been illegal, so let’s start off with a quiz.
Which of the following questions do you think are illegal for an interviewer to ask in an interview? The correct answers to the quiz are at the bottom here.
♣Are you over the age of 18?
♣Are you authorized to work in the US?
♣What languages do you read, speak or write fluently?
♣Have you ever been disciplined for your behavior at work?
♣Have you ever been convicted of fraud?
♣Do you use illegal drugs?
♣How do you feel about supervising women?
♣Were you honorably discharged from the military?
♣Who is your closest relative to notify in case of an emergency?
Federal and state laws prohibit prospective employers from asking certain questions that are not specifically related to the position for which they are hiring. For example, questions designed to elicit personal information should not be used. To overview: employers should not be asking about your ethnic background, nor country of origin, race, gender, marital or family status, religion, age, disabilities or sexual preferences. To eliminate someone from selection for a position for any of these reasons is absolutely discriminatory. Although they are called “illegal interview questions,” it must be noted that a specific question may not be illegal to ask by itself. However, if an interviewer asks a question that has discriminatory implications and then intentionally denies you employment based on your answer to that question, he or she may have broken the law. For example, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is not against the law for an interviewer to request your date of birth. It is, though, against the law for an interviewer to deny you employment because you are considered “too old.” For the most part, interviewers are really not out to discriminate against job applicants. It seems, however, that there is a really fine line between what is and what is not legal to ask. It depends upon the context in which the questions are being asked and that can be challenging for a job applicant to figure out. Many of the “illegal questions” that interviewers ask are unintentional and, if you tactfully point out that question is illegal, the interviewer will likely realize his or her mistake and immediately retract the question. The challenge is for you to determine what to say while you are sitting in there faced with what you perceive is indeed an illegal question. Basically, you have three options when that happens. You can: ♣Just answer the question. If you don’t really object to giving the interviewer the information and you are concerned about “making waves,” you can respond to the question and move on to the next one. Bear in mind that you should only answer the question if you are truly comfortable providing the information because there is always the risk that it could â€œcome back to haunt you.” ♣Refuse to answer the question. You can gently explain to the interviewer that the question does not seem to be legal or relevant to the specific requirements of the job. In this case, however, you need to understand that direct response of that nature should really be saved specifically for questions that are truly offensive or deeply troubling to you. Refusing to answer a question with which you are very uncomfortable might cost you the job. ♣Avoid responding to the specific question, but provide an answer to what you think is the intention behind the question. Most of the time, this is the best choice, as it allows you to provide a non-confrontational and tactful answer without sacrificing your rights. In order to effectively answer the intention behind the question, you will need to attempt to determine what the interviewer is trying to find out. For example, if the interviewer asks if you have children – definitely an illegal question – a savvy answer might be, “If you mean to ask if I am available to work overtime or to travel on business trips, the answer is absolutely, on occasion.” In cases like these, it is advisable to rephrase the question into a legal one, and then, to respond to it.
Answers to the quiz: The last three questions are, in general, considered to be illegal for an interviewer to ask. In certain circumstances and/or context, they may be considered legal to ask. It is truly a “fine line.” Send all questions, comments and suggestions to:
firstname.lastname@example.org. Topics of interest to a wide range of readers may be covered in the newsletter. You may request to remain anonymous, as long as you provide your name and contact information in your initial e-mail.
How do you spell JOBS? S-T-I-M-U-L-U-S, that’s how! And President Barack Obama’s stimulus package, officially called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, includes multiple components designed to provide relief in the form of JOBS for the health care industry.
The measure includes $500 million to stimulate public health jobs and will also be used to improve and upgrade community health centers. It will advance programs that encourage preventive care, such as mammograms, Pap smears and immunizations.
Money is included to fight infection and to get a better control on chronic conditions like heart failure, diabetes and high blood pressure from which many Americans suffer.
Under the new plan, $1.1 billion will be set aside for research on drugs, surgery, medical devices and treatments for other individual conditions. This means more JOBS for skilled Medical Assistants, Certified Nursing Assistants, Nurse Technicians and Medical Insurance Billing & Coding specialists.
There is a temporary $87 million increase in the Federal Medical Assistance percentage that ensures that no state has to cut eligibility for Medicaid, the health program for eligible individuals and families with low incomes and resources. Nor will eligibility be cut for SCHIP, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program that gives matching funds to states to provide health insurance to families of modest incomes that are too high to qualify for Medicaid. This means that the demand for the full range of skilled medical personnel will perpetuate as services will remain available to eligible individuals and families. There will be no loss in JOBS due to reduction in the volume of Medicaid patients and should lead to increased staffing.
The legislation put $20 billion dollars towards increasing the amount of physicians who use electronic record keeping. Experts are confident that this will save lives and money and provide jobs to those who assist in these practices in the electronic record keeping capacity. Shifting medical records to an online application is intended to improve coordination of care, decrease errors and waste, as well as improve safety. The program will provide financial help for small physicians’ practices to facilitate their entry into the digital Age. Presently, the cost for one practice to convert to electronic record keeping is $50,000. This means that there should be a dramatic upsurge in JOBS for front end personnel to assist with the new electronic record keeping procedures.
The stimulus package will have a dynamic impact on JOBS in the health care industry and provide relief for those whose career future depends upon it.
From working as a maid at the Holiday Inn…Margie White, Instructional Services Manager of Allen School’s new online Medical Insurance Billing & Coding program, stepped out of the shadows to make a difference For almost 75 years, millions of children have been reading Nancy Drew mystery books which feature a teen detective whose independence, bravery and personal drive enable her to solve crimes. The series encouraged women to be pioneers and to employ persistence and strength in pursuit of their goals, notable in light of the male-dominated times in which the authors wrote the series.
An avid reader of Nancy Drew detective books, as a child growing up near Toledo, Ohio, Margie White, Manager of the Instructional Services Department of Allen School’s new online Medical Insurance Billing & Coding program has found her life defined by courageous real life women such as Eleanor Roosevelt, first lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945, and former United States Secretary of State Madeline Albright, women who, according to Margie, “made a difference and didn’t live in the shadows.” Margie’s life has been a testament to stepping out of the shadows and making a difference.
Margie was working as a maid at the Holiday Inn and then applied for a job as a nurse’s aide. She worked in a hospital setting for fifteen years, did home care and hospice work, as well. She planned to be an RN, but had to drop out of the technical college program required for admission to nursing school because of a challenging pregnancy with her first son.
Coincidentally, at just that time, Margie received a flyer from AHIMA (the American Health Information Management Association, a professional organization that provides professional credentialing) about independent studies in health information management (medical records). She immediately enrolled in AHIMA’s distance learning just before the program was discontinued and became a Registered Health Information Technologist (RHIT). Before graduating, she found a job in a nursing home as a Medical Records Clerk.
After finishing the RHIT program, Margie enrolled in distance learning again and got a Bachelor of Science degree in Healthcare Administration. That led to her certification as a Registered Health Information Management Administrator (RHIA) and a licensed nursing home administrator. After that, still from home, Margie obtained a Masters degree in Health Sciences. With those credentials in hand, she decided to teach full time and has been an online instructor and an on-campus instructor for the last five years. An active member of AHIMA, Margie has served on several committees related to the implementation of electronic health records and the exchange of health information between health care providers. Her passion remains with health information management and helping others to become successful in the MIBC field. Margie joined the Allen School full time last summer.
With her husband of thirty-three years, Jim, Margie raised two sons, John, now 28, a former Marine working on his Masters degree in Library Science and, Mike, 24, who just graduated with a Masters in Instructional Technology.
“We are very close and we do a lot of laughing,” Margie says about her family, a verification of her ability to juggle career and family while focusing on the mandates involved in acquiring extensive professional education and credentialing from home.
“Coding is like solving a puzzle, like working with crosswords,” Margie explains, “I tie it to the detective work that Nancy Drew, teen detective, used to do to solve mysteries. She got a sense of satisfaction when she solved the cases and I get one when I am able to find the clues in the medical records and apply the right numbers to them!”
“What gives me even greater satisfaction,” she continues, “is that ‘Aha!’ moment when it clicks for a student. Some students struggle and then, they get the moment that is more rewarding than anything else for me, mainly because that student who, at first, struggled and could easily have dropped out, gets it. To keep that student in the program and then, to have them succeed, it is so, so fulfilling.”
Margie White’s “independence, bravery and personal drive,” qualities she shares with fictional detective Nancy Drew, continue to play a major role in making a difference in the lives of her students.