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.“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 possibleThe 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, ManagerInstructional Services DepartmentAllen School’s OnlineMedical Insurance Billing & Coding ProgramQ: 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 withonline 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 tostart 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 peopleare 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 PrivacyDear 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 differenceFor 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.
I graduated recently and have been sending out resumes on my own to find a job. I was wondering what you think I should include in my resume to make it stand out. Besides internship, I have no other related experience. Is there any way that I can show that I am really responsible, organized and have something to offer from Day One?Ready to WorkDear Ready to Work:First of all, congratulations on taking the initiative on conducting your own job search. Please refer back to your class notes and textbook from your Career Development class regarding resume writing. You may also want contact your Placement office where you will surely and happily be given tips and advice on how to stand out.Do not discount your internship so easily. You need to recognize that you have had one of the longest – if not the longest – internship of any school in the State of New York. Emphasize that on your resume as well as the front and back end skills that you developed during internship in which you feel you are competent.You definitely do have something to offer from Day One, because you, like everyone else, have transferable skills. These are skills which people develop in one situation that can be transferred to another. For example, you may have developed time management skills during your schooling, while at a particular job, or while doing volunteer work, and now can offer these valuable skills to your next employer from Day One.You can demonstrate that you are organized and responsible as part of the duties and responsibilities you include on your resume. For example, if you “have successfully coordinated events,” this will demonstrate to a potential employer that you are organized. If you were “in charge of opening and closing the business,” it will convey that you are responsible.You also convey that you are qualified by having a resume that identifies verifiable accomplishments (using percentages, numbers, dollars, etc.), procedures, or systems that you implemented or improved upon, as well as any awards or recognition you may have received. Be certain to zero in on achievements, skills and results. Consider the example below:BEFORE:Cashier, XYZ Department Store, City, State 05/06 – Present* Count and balance drawer at the beginning and end of shift* Prepare receipts for bank deposits* Assist with inventory and maintaining work areaAFTER:Cashier, XYZ Department Store, City, State 05/06 – Present* Employee of the Month winner (4 times) – promoted to Head Cashier in charge of opening and closing registers* Reorganized cash register closeout system making the process less time consuming and more accurate* Caught shoplifters several times saving the store from losing about $3000 in merchandiseSame job seeker, just a different way of making what they did at a job stand out. Which description do you think would impress an employer more?You also need to package this great experience of yours into a visually-dynamic resume that is “keyword scannable” (for those companies that use online software to review resumes), and easy-to-skim quickly by the human eye. You need to use consistency in style, perfect grammar and punctuation, action verbs and key words.Remember, you had the skills, knowledge, fortitude and determination to complete the Allen School program and the same qualities make you a valuable asset to any medical enterprise. Good luck!
The United States Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program was the recipient for the second year of the plentiful donation of toys contributed by students and staff during the Allen School Brooklyn Campus Annual Toy Drive supporting the Marine Reservists’ goal “to deliver, through a shiny new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to needy youngsters that will motivate them to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders.” Campus Director, Lillian Mitchell, accepted the Marine’s Certificate of Gratitude for outstanding support on behalf of the Allen School.Ronald McDonald House of Long Island was this year’s recipient of the generous collection of toys donated by students and staff during the annual Allen School Jamaica Campus Toy Drive supporting the organization that provides “a home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill children undergoing critical medical treatment in area hospitals.” Campus Director, Jill Luke, accepted the thank you on behalf of the Allen School from the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island’s Chairman of the Board of Directors who referred to the Allen School donations as “a beacon of hope for families experiencing extraordinary circumstances…”
PATRICK SWAYZE AND MEDICAL ASSISTANT STUDENT “ACTING IN CONCERT”Actor Patrick Swayze described his fight with pancreatic cancer as “going through hell.” It never stopped him, however, from meeting the challenges of taking on the grueling lead role in a television series. He told Barbara Walters, “I’ve never been one to run from a challenge.” Allen School Medical Assistant student, Elena Carpenzano, matches the actor in courage, persistence and grit. She recently fought – successfully – her own challenge and battle with life-threatening illness and, like Swayze, met major challenges head-on. One could say that, although they never met each other, Swayze and Carpenzano have acted in concert [defined as performing identical actions to attain the same goal], each striving for health at convergent times. In Feb of 2005, Elena, full time mother to three-year-old daughter, Ora, while working as a pastry chef by day and attending nursing school at night, was diagnosed with leukemia. A stem cell transplant from her sister, while deemed successful at killing the leukemia, created a tumor in her brain. Treatments included torturous chemo and radiation therapies along with excruciating bone marrow transplants. She was instructed by her doctors to go home and “do nothing, go nowhere, eat healthy and be very careful.” During that time, she and Ora lived through frequent separations as Elena endured many hospitalizations during her fight to stay alive. By 2006, Elena was “back in the swing” and able to return to her nursing program. Unfortunately, the by the end of 2007, she found herself back in the hospital for surgery because the radiation treatment had damaged her teeth and it was affecting her jaw. After the surgery, she developed sepsis and dropped totally out of college after spending countless weeks, yet again, in the hospital. The moment she was released, Elena said to herself, “I really need to do something now!” She had seen commercials for Allen School and looked into it immediately. At her first visit to the campus, she made the decision to make application for the Medical Assistant program. “Let’s do this,” she remembers telling herself, “I don’t want to waste any more time.” During Elena’s training at Allen School, she made up for lost time. Maintaining a 3.97 GPA, surely a candidate for participation in the school’s Speed Staffing System™, Elena made certain to learn as much as she could about medical technology. “Everyday they are coming up with new treatments and I get frequent blood tests to check on my immune system,” Elena said, “to make sure it is still on par with my sister’s. The tumor is completely gone!” To what does Elena attribute her remarkable recovery? “To the love of my daughter,” is her response and to an especially strong commitment to returning to “a normal life and to setting a good example for her.” As Patrick Swayze said recently, “I have a great deal of faith in faith; if you believe something strong enough, it becomes true for you.” Obviously, Elena Cartenzano shares that belief.
NEW ONLINE PROGRAM A NATIONAL SUCCESSOne graduate’s story: “I was hired within 72 hours of posting my resume!”From around the entire United States, from Alaska to Florida, Vermont to Hawaii, and all points in between, career starters and career changers are making application to the Allen School’s new Online Medical Insurance Billing & Coding Program. They will be trained to work in offices or in medical facilities, both large and small, and in private practices.Many applicants are professionals from other industries seeking to retrain in an area in which jobs will continue to outpace qualified candidates. These include bankers, opticians, accountants, HR specialists, real estate appraisers, auditors, fleet managers, options traders, aerospace and electronics technicians, COBRA review specialists, laboratory A/R professionals, medical office managers and business owners, etc. There are many new career starters in the application pool, as well.The fact that so many states in the union appear to be represented by applicants to the Online Medical Billing Insurance & Coding Program seems to indicate that the job market for non-medical careers has been impacted nationwide. Those in the know are focusing on getting in on the medical industry’s continued expansion in terms of job opportunities.The Online Medical Billing Insurance & Coding Program provides industry-relevant, up-to-the-minute training for positions in one of the most popular careers in health care, to meet the extraordinary demand for health information specialists. With the creation of HMOs, PPOs, and managed care, doctors need employees who understand the complexities of insurance billing.Why are all of these people coming for training?* They are able to learn from home in their spare time without giving up their day jobs* There is no previous medical experience needed* It is an easy and affordable way to learn and financial aid is available to all qualified students* The Fast-Track-To-Success program lets students complete their studies in nine short months versus the fifteen months at other billing and coding schools* The training is constantly updated so that only the most up-to-date skills are taught* They are prepared for taking the industry certification exams upon completion of the program* Professional Billers and Coders earn up to $46,000 a year* They are trained to prepare insurance claims manually and by computer using the Clinical Modification System (ICD9-CM), the Current Procedural Terminology, Fourth Ed. (CPT4), and Health Care Procedure Coding System (HCPCS)* The Allen School is one of the only schools that hold a cap-and-gown graduation ceremony for its online graduates and provides lifetime job placement assistanceHow good is this program? Well…Lisa Danger, from Sebastian, Florida, 150 miles north of Miami, member of one of the first classes in the Online Medical Insurance Billing & Coding Program, two weeks away from completing the program, posted her resume on two job boards as part of an assignment provided by her Allen School Career Development instructor. She considered it to be “just an exercise” in posting resumes.Two days later, Lisa had an interview.“I posted my resume,” Lisa said, “as per the assignment. Then, I came home from running errands that same morning and found the email to call the office. ‘Can you come in at 3:00 PM?’ it read. It was 1:00 PM.”The day after the interview, Lisa had a job – in a comfortable office providing her newly obtained skills to facilitate the operation of the private practice of three high level specialists in the behavioral health area.Lisa obtained the skills needed to distinguish herself from other applicants using the techniques learned in her executive level Career Development class. This component of Allen School’s training programs includes an intensive self-assessment segment that provides tools for isolating transferable skills, strengths, achievements, experience and background. It enables the candidate to create a most effective unique bio and career profile for use in resumes, cover letters and in interviews. Lisa was able to draw upon previous experience as Operations Assistant Manager, Loss Prevention Manager, Front End Supervisor and Assistant Director for giant retailers like Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Toys-R-Us, and used it to her advantage.When speaking about her almost-instant success in getting a response to her posted resume, Lisa said, “Unexpected? Maybe, but I was not unprepared, thanks to the course and all of [my instructors]. It was a great experience. Thank all of you for the confidence to change my life’s career!”Are you a day and a click away from employment?