Sometimes in life and in school, it’s easy to lose track of what we’re working for. We can get so deep in the weeds that we forget there are actual, tangible goals we set out to accomplish. For three Career College of Northern Nevada Health Information Management students, their goals just became crystal clear as they recently passed their Certified Coding Associate exams, putting them one step closer to a career in medical coding.
CCNN students Jeanette Craig, Jessica Mendoza and Shayla Johnson recently passed the rigorous coding certification test offered to those considering a career in health information. It’s the culmination of CCNN’s 18-month Health Information Management program which teaches students about healthcare, medical billing codes and insurance reimbursement methodologies.
It’s all with an eye toward a career as a health information technician, a job that involves organizing and managing health data using both paper and electronic filing systems and coding systems to categorize patient information for reimbursement purposes.
If that sounds like a detail-oriented career, it is, says HIM program department chair Lori Hoffman.
“This program is heavy on anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology,” Hoffman says. “To succeed in this program, you really need to have a strong focus on paying attention to detail. It starts when a patient renders services to schedule an appointment and follows through to their appointment and beyond. It’s all based on providing quality care for all patients.”
Now that the students have passed the CCA exam, they will next prepare for the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam, which focuses on outpatient services, Hoffman says. From there, the students’ final class will be an externship at a local doctor’s office or hospital. The make students complete 120 hours prior to earning their Associate Degree, and it gives them a real-life preview of what it’s like to work in the health information management field. CCNN also supports the students by connecting them with medical networking organizations such as AAPC and AHIMA, giving them even more opportunities to further their careers.
Hoffman says the time students spend at CCNN creates a lasting bond between student and teacher. She can’t help but swell with pride when her students excel.
“I’m really proud of them because you see students that come from all different aspects of life, whether bad things have happened them or maybe they just want a change in career. It’s an overwhelming, rewarding feeling to watch them come out of their shells as they go through the program. A new chapter of their lives have just opened up for them,” Hoffman says.
Interested in a career in health information management? Here are some signs this ever-growing field might be right for you:
- You see yourself in a career that offers diverse opportunities and unlimited career potential.
- You like the idea of working with patients and their families.
- You have an aptitude for science, but also like management, law and computers.
- You enjoy and are not intimidated working alongside professionals such as: physicians, nurses, social workers, lawyers, administrators and executives.
- You can work well alone or with a team.
- You like diversity in your day to day work environment.
- You like the idea of working in the healthcare without the “blood and guts” part of the job.