Posted Aug. 15, 2012 at 11:20 p.m.

Board approves
health information technology program

At the Laramie County Community College Board of Trustees’ business meeting Aug. 15, the trustees approved a new health information technology program to move forward for Wyoming Community College Commission approval.

Stan Torvik, vice president of workforce and community development, and Maryellen Tast, lifelong learning center, dean of workforce and community development, presented their request for the program and emphasized the importance of the program in the quickly changing medical office environment.

Torvik said that starting at the end of next year a new coding system and electronic records keeping system will take place in the medical field, so it is important to train people in preparation for that change. He added LCCC is offering noncredit retraining for people already in the field, and about 90 people enrolled.

Tast said this program was developed to meet these extreme changes in healthcare, calling it a “perfect storm.” With many people in the field retiring the need for new coders will also increase. With this program, LCCC will train students to be prepared to work in the medical offices. She added students who are certified in coding will be paid more and have better job opportunities.

Tast also explained with this new program, LCCC will need to hire a new full-time faculty member.

The new program will have three levels: medical office essentials certificate; medical claims coding associate certificate and health information technology (HIT) associate of applied science.

The medical office essentials certificate is a 16-credit-hour program that will give students the knowledge and skills to demonstrate accurate and productive computer office skills, explain key elements for personal success and demonstrate an understand of the technical skills in a medical office. These areas support the medical office environment.

The medical claims coding associate certificate is a 42-credit-hour program that will incorporate knowledge of the medical office essentials certificate with an emphasis on how to maximize reimbursement using both current procedural terminology (CPT) and international classification of diseases (ICD) coding guidelines. With this program students will demonstrate technical skills required for a medical office, apply guidelines for effective coding, assign appropriate CPT/ Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) and ICD codes based on analysis of documentation provided in the medical record, develop an effective revenue cycle for the medical office and conduct an analysis of both paper and electronic health records to assure that the documentation has the correct diagnosis and procedure codes used for proper reimbursement.

The health information technology (HIT) associate of applied science is a 65-credit-hour program that covers everything in the medical office essentials certificate and medical claims coding associate certificate as well as learning how to use coding with health information to analyze and report data used in health care delivery. With this program students will demonstrate core coding background, demonstrated knowledge using computer applications, effectively use and report the data gathered, protect data integrity and validity for reporting and apply knowledge of computer applications and data gathering to enhance the quality of patient care.

Kevin Kilty, board secretary, asked many questions regarding this program including where it fits in the budget, why it’s not currently under the health sciences area and why certain classes were being required for this program.

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