Medical skills program proposed

Because of changes to the American Health Information Management Association standards for medical office workers, a proposed new health information technology program at Laramie County Community College just began its journey through the approval process.

The program has been reviewed by members of Learning Leadership Team but must go through the Academic Standards Committee, the President's Cabinet, the LCCC Board of Trustees, and Wyoming Community College Commission like any new program, according to Mary Ellen Tast, dean of the lifelong learning center.

The health information technology program includes a three-level educational approach for those who are in or interested in medical office environment careers. The program includes two certificates: a medical office essentials certificate, which is the first level, and a medical claims coding associate certificate, the second level.

The program also includes a health information technology associate of applied science degree.

The 16-credit-hour medical office essentials certificate is designed to improve effectiveness and skills needed for entry-level positions in medical offices. Knowing how to greet patients, make appointments, answer calls and update information are basic skills students will learn. Students will also learn how to keep records organized and how to handle insurance billing and collections.

Students will be taught ethics related to medicine and the fundamentals of computers.

Once a student has completed the first certificate, he can take more classes (another 42 credit hours) to specialize in coding, technology and office management.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services has adopted new standards for submitting medical claims electronically.

New version offers multiple benefits

The Accredited Standards Committee's SC X12 Version 5010 and the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs Versions D.0 and 3.0 have updated their standards for electronically conducting certain health care administrative transactions. LCCC has proposed the medical claims coding associate certificate to include the required knowledge for these updates.

Formats used must be updated for Versions 5010 and D.0. These two versions are designed to ensure errors and corrections will be found and done in the early stages of the process. This will help to keep control of claim receipts and assign claim numbers closer to the receipt date.

Version 5010 improves the format and content to be clearer and more consistent. It defines what data must be collected and transmitted. Version 5010 recognizes the different codes for a diagnosis, the cause of an injury and the purpose of a visit from a patient. This update will tell a mortality rate of a certain illness, the outcomes of an alternative treatment and the time someone will be able to stay in a hospital.

ICD-10 codes will use version 5010 to increase the field size from 5 bytes to 7 bytes, increase the number of diagnosis codes accepted on a claim and include additional data adjustment.

Version D.0 explains the eligibility for Medicare Part D and other insurance coverage. This version will include new data elements and rejection codes to improve claim processing. Comprehensible information about patient responsibilities, benefit stages, coverage gaps on second claims and information about Medicare Part D and other insurance coverage will be available. Version D.0 will also handle the billing for processing claims for compounded drugs.

NCPDP 3.0 will improve the efficiencies of the pharmacy subrogation transaction process and the decrease the cost for the Medicaid programs.

The second certificate will address specialized skills needed for medical coding. This certificate will prepare students for a national coding exam through the American Health Information Management Association.

The HIT associate of applied science degree combines health information management with coding. Students will learn how to serve the health care industry and public by also learning how to manage, analyze and report required health data. Knowing how to manage and secure medical records, coding for reimbursement, research and quality care is also included.

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