Grant to allow for expansion of medical program

Joe McHale

This past week, a $378,182 state grant was awarded to Saddleback College in order to expand the college’s Billing and Coding Program within the Medical Assisting Program.

“There is a great need for people who are very well trained in especially hospital billing and coding,” Medical Assisting Department Chair, Kay Stevens, said. “The more training that people have in the field, the more opportunities they have for higher paying jobs.”

Expanding the Billing and Coding Program will allow the admittance for more students who wish to enter the entry-level portion of the program; however, the new courses available are not required for the Medical Assisting Program. They will help student gain more knowledge about and beyond billing and coding.

Billing and Coding is very important for students who wish to become medical assistants. The program deals with teaching about claim forms and different insurance companies such as Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Midicare, etc. It teaches students different codes for the endless procedures in doctor’s offices or hospitals. The codes consist of numbers and some letters for eye examines, blood work, surgery, and many other procedures. It also teaches another set of codes strictly for diagnostics.

“As we expand it (Billing and Coding) becomes Health Information Technology,” Stevens said. “HIT encompasses more than just billing and coding, it encompasses medical records.”

The expansion of the Billing and Coding Program will consist of three new courses starting in the summer. These courses include one advanced Certified Procedure Coder (CPC) course and two International Classification of Disease, Ninth Edition (ICD-9) courses. Through these classes students will learn important information based on hospital coding and medical records.

The ICD-9 classes are especially important due to the technology age. The courses will use and teach about the computer software that hospitals are now utilizing for billing and coding.

The grant was awarded by the State Chancellor’s Office’s Economic and Workforce Development Division based on President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Act totaled $787 billion in spending and tax cuts over the next 10 years.


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