Getting to Know Your Community College Consortium: Part 4, Region D

Kay Gooding | April 13, 2011

As part of a series on the Community College Consortia to Educate Health Information Professionals Program, this blog post highlights the activities and accomplishments of the students and community colleges in Region D.

Region D 101

By: Kay Gooding, MPH, MAEd, RHIA, Project Director, Region D, Community College Consortia

Region D has the largest number of students and serves the highest percentage of the U.S. population (31.5 percent). It is comprised of 13 states from North Carolina to Texas. There are 20 member colleges in our Consortium:

  • Arkansas: National Park Community College
  • Georgia: Atlanta Technical College
  • Florida: Broward College, Indian River State College, Santa Fe College
  • Kentucky: Jefferson Community College
  • Louisiana: Delgado Community College
  • Mississippi: Hinds Community College, Itawamba Community College
  • North Carolina: Catawba Valley Community College, Central Piedmont Community College, Pitt Community College
  • Oklahoma: Tulsa Community College
  • South Carolina: Florence-Darlington Technical College
  • Tennessee: Chattanooga State Community College, Dyersburg State Community College, Walters State Community College
  • Texas: Dallas County Community College District, Houston Community College, Midland College

The health IT programs at the member colleges in Region D train students to perform tasks related to the use, analysis, and reporting of health care information. The curriculum is designed to train students with a health care or IT background to take on health IT workforce roles.

Region D’s programs are designed to train students to perform one of six specific health IT roles. The programs can be completed within six months and are taught primarily online, although some of the colleges also provide face-to-face training. Through distance-learning, it is easy for individuals, especially those who live in rural areas, to participate in the health IT training programs.

Many colleges in Region D offer internship programs, and in many instances, internships are incorporated into the required curriculum. Each college offers job placement assistance to graduates. Employers post positions on the Region D website and students can search the latest jobs available. All of the colleges in Region D offer financial assistance.

The Region D Community College Consortium will train a minimum of 3,300 people for employment in health information technology by early April 2012. The vision is to create accessible training for qualified students to establish, adapt, and maintain EHR systems in health care settings to facilitate data sharing and improve patient care.

Region D Students

Students within the Region D Community College Consortium have practical knowledge in health care or information technology. The programs encourage current health care professionals to participate so that they can better understand and prepare for the implementation of EHRs in their facilities. IT professionals can also learn to transfer their skills to the medical workplace.

Students in Region D come from diverse personal and professional backgrounds. Approximately two-thirds have medical/ clinical experience and the remaining have IT experience. Some are veterans seeking re-entry into civilian workforce, or dependents of active military personnel and veterans.

The programs enhance students’ previous work experience to provide them with skills and competencies they need to transition to a career in health information technology.

Ellen Arnold is a student at Indian River State College. Ellen has a degree in Health Information Management and is a Registered Health Information Administrator, a credential from the American Health Information Management Association. Ellen has worked as a Business Analyst with McKesson Corporation for the past 25 years designing and implementing health information management and coding solutions for McKesson’s revenue cycle products. Ellen travels frequently for her job and is familiar with the changes that hospitals face. She saw the health IT workforce program as an opportunity to go back to school to enhance her performance at McKesson.

A student at Delgado Community College in New Orleans, Dawn Taylor started her career as a Juvenile Probation Case Manager. Upon her husband’s deployment with the U.S. Army in 2002, she took a course to become a transcription coordinator. As a member of a military family, Dawn has experienced first-hand the benefits of an EHR system. Her family’s records follow them easily to each duty station, which gives doctors quick and easy access to records in the event of a medical issue. Dawn is preparing to become a trainer through her education at Delgado Community College. She says the program taught her to focus on teaching provider audiences about the benefits of an EHR system.

Another Delgado Community College student, Karen Dunn, LPN, CHCA, CPC, CPUR, ACS-E/M, has more than 19 years experience in the medical field. She has worked as a licensed practical nurse in hospitals, nursing homes, physician offices, and an insurance company. She also has experience with coding, auditing, billing and practice management. In addition to completing the health IT program and Delgado Community College, Karen is also seeking an Associate’s Degree in Information Technology. She hopes to help providers with the implementation and maintenance of EHRs upon completion of the program.

Exceptional students like these will graduate in April and enter a job market that has an increased demand for health IT professionals. Academic institutions, health care facilities, consulting firms, government agencies, health care software companies, and other employers looking for qualified candidates should visit the Region D Community College Consortium’s website for more information.

For More Information

Interested in learning more about College Consortium programs in Region D? Visit the Region D Community College Consortium’s website.

Not sure which colleges are participating near you? Contact the consortium leader for your geographical area.

Look for more blogs about the other regions participating in the consortium in future Health IT Buzz blogs. We encourage you to post any comments below.

Check out a video of Kelly Patterson from Hinds Community College discussing the Community College Consortia Program: http://www.youtube.com/user/HHSONC#p/u/0/Xw7c5rRiSi4.