ACTC Offers New Medical Office Program

A new Medical Information Technology Program at Ashland Community and Technical College will prepare students for the coming new era of medical record keeping.

Medical office assistants prepare medical records and reports, maintain paper and electronic files, order supplies, perform accounting procedures, work with medical insurance and coding, and receive patients in a variety of health care settings.

Use of electronic health records (EHRs) is being mandated by the federal government by 2014 through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, specifically the HITECH portion of the law, said Dr. Janie Kitchen, Dean of Academic Affairs.

Medical record personnel are also facing implementation by October, 2013 of a new medical coding system based on the International Classification of Diseases published by the World Health Organization, Kitchen said.

Because of these and other changes in the administrative medical field, a curriculum was developed that focuses on skills needed in the near future to meet new mandates and standards. An example of the new curriculum is Electronic Health Records, a course on electronic charting that will help employers comply with EHR requirements.

Healthcare is the largest employer in the Ashland area, and administrative employees are needed to meet increasing medical need, Kitchen said. As the Baby Boomer sector of the population ages, the demand for healthcare continues to grow.

Regional demand for trained medical office employees within the FIVCO area is projected to increase 25.3 percent from 2008 to 2018 by Kentucky Occupational Outlook to 2018 , a growth rate that is in the category of very fast growing.

The MIT program will offer an Associate in Applied Science Degree with four tracks, two diplomas and five certificates giving students the opportunity to select a curriculum that best fits their specific career goals.

The degree combines general education courses in communications, math, social science and humanities with technical courses in word processing, software applications, information management, medical record keeping, insurance and office procedures.

Degree students will take additional courses in medical terminology and anatomy amp; physiology and will choose one of four specialized tracks: administrative, coding, medical records or office management procedures. Degree and diploma students will also take an internship or capstone course.

Diplomas are available for Medical Administrative Assistant and Medical Records Specialist, and the certificates are Medical Unit Coordinator, Hospital Admissions Clerk, Medical Receptionist, Electronic Health Records Specialist and Medical Coding.

Certificate, diploma and degree graduates will be prepared for work medical care facilities such as physicians offices, nursing homes, outpatient care centers, home health services and hospitals.

ACTC students previously prepared for medical office jobs through the Office Systems Technology (OST) Program. OST offered administration and medical administrative options, and almost 100% of OST students pursued the medical administrative option.

The OST medical administrative courses were moved to the MIT program which will focus exclusively on the medical office credentials desired by students and the skills needed by area employees to meet federal legislative mandates and industry standards.

Those students currently enrolled in the OST program will be able to complete their degrees, and students will continue to have access to office administration courses online.

MIT classes are held in up-to-date computer labs and classrooms at the Technology Drive Campus. For more information about MIT, contact Professor Nenna Bayes, Program Coordinator, 606-326-2019 or e-mail: nenna.bayes@kctcs.edu after August 1 or call the Advising Center, 606-326-2196.