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Medical coding program available via online courses

By Gary Franchi
Special to The SUN

Having the only nationally accredited Medical Coding certificate program in Colorado is one thing. But now that Pueblo Community College has made it available entirely online, the program has become accessible to students throughout the state.

PCC is now enrolling students in this summer’s prerequisite classes that they need to become part of the Medical Coding program’s new rotation class in the 2013 fall semester. The prerequisite classes offered this summer are HPR 178 Medical Terminology, BIO 106 Anatomy and Physiology and CIS 118 Basic Computer Skills.

They are worth 10 credits, after which the remaining 32 credits in the certificate program can be taken, capped by the internship. All of the courses in the certificate program are now available online with the exception of an internship. The summer semester will begin May 28.

Offering all classes online has removed location barriers for students, and their internships also can be taken near a student’s home residence. PCC has the only nationally accredited Medical Coding program in Colorado (by the American Health Information Management Association or AHIMA).

The program can be completed in one year for those who attend full time. Students who earn the Medical Coding certificate can take the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) examination that is given by AHIMA.

Medical coding is the transformation of narrative descriptions of medical diagnoses and procedures into universal medical code numbers that illustrate the procedures and services performed by medical professionals. Codes are used for insurance reimbursement, public health statistics, determining dollars spent on medical research and many other medical needs.

“PCC’s program provides training for students looking for employment in the very near future and in a field that is crying for credentialed employees,” pointed out Ginny Sullivan, faculty member and director of the program.

Medical coders are also part of the electronic health records profession that is considered a growth industry, with the U.S. Department of Labor forecasting the number of jobs to increase 21 percent through 2020. Medical coding also can be an excellent stepping stone into higher-level careers in health information.

For more information, contact Sullivan at (719) 549-3317 or Virginia.Sullivan@pueblocc.edu.

This story was posted on May 16, 2013.