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. Continue reading…
In a recent post, I listed out the top 5 best and worst job markets for healthcare related jobs in the country. I promised I would explore some of the areas in the “bests” portion of the list to continue my earlier series on “Best Job Markets in the US”. A man of my word, I am pleased to delve a bit into what makes Madison, Wisconsin such a great place to live and work. About 75 miles west of the shores Lake Michigan, this beautiful city of 228,000 people is a youthful and vibrant place to live. For career minded singles or young couples seeking a great place to put down roots and start a family alongside their new career, Madison is an excellent choice. Almost 57% of the young population (median age 33 years) is single which is great for those seeking a new romance in addition to a new career. Yet housing and overall cost of living is attractive to those who are seeking to build a home alongside their career. The average home in Madison sells for $220,000 which is far more affordable than in areas such as New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles. The cost of living index in Madison is below the national average too. With a median annual income of nearly $50,000, the potential for good living in this Wisconsin gem is high. Having spent a little time in Madison, I can say from experience that the city and surrounding metro areas are clean, attractive and inviting with excellent food, social activities, parks and music.
This week, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the Swine Flu has covered enough of the globe to qualify as the first pandemic in over 40 years. The formal announcement made this Thursday doesn’t mean the flu strain has become any more lethal, just that it has spread beyond any ability to contain it across the globe. Swine flu has afflicted 29,000 people so far across nearly 80 countries worldwide. Luckily, the strain isn’t hyper-virulent and most folks who contract the illness require conventional medical treatment for their mild symptoms. The WHO have urged pharmaceutical maufacturers to produce stockpiles of anti-viral medication and governments have been working on developing vaccination programs to protect populations from easy transmission of the virus. Although the first pandemic of the 21st Century seems to be mild by historical standards, the sheer number of people infected across the globe represents a serious burden on healthcare systems and underscores the insatiable demand for healthcare and healthcare support providers in a world with a burgeoning population.
Of all the individual ideas for healthcare reform proposed by President Obama, the notion of transitioning to a fully electronic process for the maintenance of medical records would seem to be the most obvious. It also seems like one of the easier things to accomplish, given the other, more ambitious reforms on the agenda. After all, its clear that the technology for such complex electronic record keeping already exists and is currently in use by other industries. Yet nearly two decades after the beginning of the information revolution, while the technology has grown exponentially there has been little will to apply it to medical record keeping. President Obama was not the first inhabitant of the White House to suggest that enormous savings could be captured through the application of information science and Internet technology to replace old, paper based data management. Maximizing efficiency is one, legitimate way the insurance industry could keep the climbing costs of healthcare down without cutting service levels. Presidents G.W. Bush and Bill Clinton also supported moving in this direction. So what are the obstacles? Among the roadblocks to adoption of widespread Electronic Medical Records or EMRs in the US are such issues as: Interoperability – the ability (or inability) of disparate computer systems to “speak” with one another. Doctors’ offices, hospitals, labs, insurers, public health institutions, etc. Privacy – developing protocols for transfer of data among the numerous providers in a way that protects personal information (partially addressed in HIPAA) Legacy Data Capture – the logistics involved in scanning and entering existing patients’ medical histories into the system to avoid discarding valuable, historical, medical perspective Change Management – the process of fostering adoption of new technologies and practices across entire enterprise level industries is challenging Other obstacles to adoption include: cost of implementation, unclear standards across all programs, problematic legal issues (digital signatures and data preservation procedures etc.). Everyone seems to agree that implementing EMRs in the US is a worthy goal. Yet, as with so many goals worth achieving, this one is easier said than done.
So who are health information professionals? We are credentialed professionals who manage individual health records as well as aggregate data. We carry expertise in health care databases, medical classification systems, flow of clinical information, medico-legal issues, uses of health information, and data security systems. Our common purpose is to provide reliable and valid information that drives the healthcare industry. We are specialists in administrating information systems, managing medical records, coding information for reimbursement and research. We are uniquely qualified to:
- Provide expertise on compliance issues and the integration of clinical documentation and coding with the billing process.
- Provide assistance and function as a key resource/project manager for the development, transition, and maintenance of an electronic health record
- Assist with implementation and function as a key resource on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) including information system security issues and privacy.
- Develop, implement and monitor health information department policy and procedures and job descriptions.
- Provide training and orientation to health information personnel on functions of the department and facility staff on documentation.
- Develop and maintain health information systems and processes that meet regulatory requirements (both state and federal), professional practice standards, legal standards, and management/corporate policy.
- Establish a process for systematically reviewing documentation on an ongoing basis for both quality and quantity of documentation.
- Complete documentation/medical record audits and monitoring with an ability to assess the quality of documentation.
- Recommend corrective actions for findings on medical record audits/monitoring.
- Initiate clinical record systems and indexes.
- Assist with forms development and forms analysis/flow.
- Support compliance process of facility/organization.
- Support quality assurance/quality improvement process of the facility/organization.
- Train staff on quality assurance/quality improvement process related to health information management and appropriate methods for the collection of data.
- Provide resources to the facility on health information, documentation, regulations, standards of practice, etc.
The current economic challenges have had the unintended consequence of spurring a lot of media coverage regarding employment figures nationwide. The upside of this focus on job data is – if you’re starting a new career – you have access to a wide array of data on where you can find a good job in an area projected to enjoy continued growth. Since lately I seem to be stumbling across a lot of state-by-state lists of “Top Growth Jobs”, I have decided to write a series of posts detailing the career environments in different areas of the country for people with medical billing and coding expertise. This virtual tour of great American destinations (and their respective job markets) may be as close as this writer gets to a vacation this year, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I plan to. Today, let’s look at the data from California, a State I once called home and a great place to be if you’re working towards a career in the healthcare field. The current recession has spurred significant job losses and a lot of coverage about California’s unemployment. Yet, less reported are the thousands of new job openings filled in the Golden State every day. According to labor statistics, California’s total employment is predicted to approach 20 million or more by 2016. That’s good news! What’s even better is that the healthcare sector is number one on the list of “growth industries” and medical billing is included in the list of “25 Jobs to Increase through 2016” in California. That makes the Golden State a good place to consider living and working. This blogger lived in San Francisco during and after the Internet boom/bust and even in the dark economic days, post-bubble, I always found it a great place to find gainful and rewarding employment. It also has the added benefit of being a truly beautiful place to live. Pristine beaches, majestic mountains, acclaimed wineries, world-class golf, diverse music, innovative cuisine…***sigh***. Great place to begin your own Gold Rush. Have a look at the full report on California’s employment environment here: http://hubpages.com/hub/Top_California_Jobs