Daytona Beach Community College will launch a new 36-credit Applied Technology

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1 I. Project Abstract Daytona Beach Community College will launch a new 36-credit Applied Technology Diploma (ATD) program to train 15 to 20 adult students a year to assume entry-level positions as Medical Coders/Billers, identified by the state as a fast-growing occupational position with hospitals, doctor offices, insurance companies, nursing homes, public health departments, and other health care agencies. DBCC will seek national accreditation of the program through the American Health Information Association, which can also provide certification for students after they have completed two years on the job. The program will provide a foundation in health care concepts and terminology as well as in the business, legal, and ethical aspects of working with medical and financial records. Because the College aims to instill in students a value for lifelong education and learning, DBCC will encourage and assist students to continue on to degree programs. II. Need As the health care industry continues to expand to accommodate a growing and aging population nationally and regionally, all related services are expected to experience growth. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the national need for Medical Coders/Billers also sometimes referred to as patient account representatives, medical billers, billing specialists, or reimbursement specialists is expected to increase significantly over the next eight years. Job growth is projected to increase 28.9 percent from 2004 to 2014, when there will be an estimated 205,000 positions. Although local statistics predict only 22 annual job openings in Volusia and Flagler Counties between 1

2 now and 2013, the statewide outlook indicates that the field will add 553 new jobs each year from 2005 to In addition, Daytona Beach is home to DuvaSawko, a company formed by local physicians to provide medical billing and records services. This company employs 100 people and expects to grow about 20% within the next five years. Entry pay for medical coders statewide is expected to be about $9.67 an hour, but average pay is better, $13.79 an hour statewide and $12.11 an hour in Volusia and Flagler counties. (This compares to a general average starting pay in Volusia and Flagler County of about $9.50.) Nationally median annual earnings in the field were $25,590 in The individuals and the communities of the region need good paying, stable careers to advance themselves. Nearly 29 percent of the 56,004 households in Volusia County and 27 percent of 21,284 households in Flagler County have incomes less than $25,000 a year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau s 2004 and 2000 American Community Survey. Per capita income in Volusia County is 16 percent lower than the state average and 20 percent lower than the national average, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce s Bureau of Economic Analysis. For Flagler County, per capita income is 19 percent lower than the state average and 24 percent lower than the national average. Other training opportunities exist in Central Florida, but Daytona Beach Community College is the only state community college serving the Volusia-Flagler region and can offer a more affordable and accessible alternative to residents than the programs offered by non-state institutions. The cost of the program will be approximately $2,337 per student plus books and fees for state residents. 2

3 III. Design and Implementation Goals and Objectives The goal of the program is to train 15 to 20 adult students a year for immediate entry into careers as medical coders/billers, with students enrolling in the three-semester program beginning in Spring By adding this program to its allied health and business offerings, which do include other vocational programs focusing on medical industry services, the College aims to meet the needs of local residents for good-paying jobs with advancement and growth potential and to meet the needs of local, state, and national employers for well-trained and well-educated employees. The program also will work to instill in students an appreciation for lifelong learning. They will be encouraged to continue their college studies and assisted with information about financial aid and associate degree programs. Credits earned in the program will be transferable to associate degree programs at DBCC or other colleges. Major Objectives: To achieve its goals, the project has the following primary objectives: 1) hire a qualified full-time faculty member to teach and direct the program; 2) create and implement the 36-credit, three semester program; 3) develop a recruitment plan and recruitment materials; 4) enroll and train 15 to 20 students during Year One; and 5) provide students with financial, academic, and career assistance and advising. Activities and Methods: Upon receipt of the grant, the College will begin recruiting a qualified faculty member experienced in health information management and medical coding and billing to lead the program and the grant project. This person will develop the 3

4 program during the fall 2006 semester by adapting existing associate of science courses and developing courses using state curriculum frameworks as a guide. The Program Director/Faculty Member also will lead a Developing a Curriculum (DACUM) process to ensure that the College s program will meet the need of local employers and the local workforce. A recruitment plan will be developed in collaboration with the College s Marketing & Communications Office, and brochures, posters, and videos will be distributed during the fall semester so that the first cohort of students can begin classes in January, the start of the Spring 2007 semester. Students abilities will be assessed either through a review of their high school transcripts and their standardized test scores or through testing done by DBCC. To enter the program, students will either have to demonstrate prior work experience in the field or take prerequisite courses, including Introduction to Health Care (HSC 1000) and Medical Terminology (HSC 1531). Students will receive financial, academic, and career assistance during their enrollment, and they will be assisted in obtaining jobs as medical coders/billers upon successfully completing the program. Timeline: The expected timeline for activities and the expenditures of grant funds during the project period is detailed below. (Graph and financial information deleted.) Student Services Recruitment: The Program Director will work with the Office of Marketing & Communications and Enrollment Services to identify target populations and recruit 4

5 students. DBCC enrollment specialists attend college fairs, visit schools and meet with school counselors, have information booths at community events, and place ads and informational materials in various regional media outlets. These activities will continue, and new methods will be employed to target high school graduates or equivalency degree holders in the region likely to be interested in Medical Coding/Billing careers. A primary target population is students enrolled in high school academies related to health or medical fields. U.S. Census data indicate that 5,504 adults in the Daytona Beach area have high school diplomas but have not yet earned four-year degrees; about 4,800 people earned less than $9 an hour as food servers in 2004 and might be interested in office jobs with higher earning potentials. A secondary target market consists of retirees or working adults seeking a new or additional job to earn extra money. Ideal candidates would already be working in medical offices or health care agencies, so information about the program will be sent to these businesses and organizations. By being located in Daytona Beach, the program will serve a diverse population. With 64,112 residents in 2004, the ethnic breakdown of Daytona area citizens is 32.7% Black, 3.5% Hispanic or Latino, 1.7% Asian, and 1.8% multiracial. Recruitment planning will begin in July with identification of pools of likely prospects and with methods to reach them. Appropriate ads, brochures, posters, and other materials will be developed and distributed from July to October. The Program Director will meet with prospective students as they respond to recruitment materials to determine their eligibility and orient them to the program and its requirements. A pool of 15 to 20 students will be in place by early January

6 Training Plan: Students interested in the program will either demonstrate significant experience in the medical field or will complete the required prerequisites, Introduction to Health Care and Medical Terminology. With successful completion of these courses, which means earning a C or better in each course, students will enter the Medical Coding/Billing program. The 36-credit, three-semester program will consist primarily of classroom instruction emphasizing hands-on learning with the type of billing and information management software students will likely encounter on the job. Classes will be held either during the evening at the Daytona Beach campus or during the day at the DeLand campus. The DACUM process is expected to clarify for the College administration and the Program Director which schedules would be more likely to serve the needs of students. While most courses will be traditional, in-class instruction, some courses could be offered online through the College s Virtual College, especially supporting courses with an emphasis on reading that do not require as much student-to-student or student-faculty interaction. Students also will be placed in internships with area businesses to obtain practical work experience in the field and apply their knowledge in business settings. These field or internship experiences will constitute a required course in the program. The precise nature of the courses and curriculum will be determined after receipt of the grant, but at this time it is expected that each semester will offer four to five courses, which will be designed as stand alone components, each one covering a major aspect of the industry and field such as biomedical sciences (to include such courses as Anatomy 6

7 and Physiology, Medical Terminology, and Pathophysiology and Pharmacology); information technology (to include Introduction to Computers and or Introduction to Microcomputer Applications); health care data content and structure (to include Health Care Data Content and Structure course); health care delivery systems (to include Health Care Delivery and Medical Office Procedures courses); clinical classification systems (to include Basic ICD-9-CM Coding, Basic Ambulatory Coding, Intermediate ICD-9-CM Coding, and Intermediate CPT); reimbursement methodology (to include a Billing & Reimbursement course); and a practicum or field experience. A possible sequence of courses is given below. Spring 2007 Fall 2007 Spring 2008 Medical Terminology Anatomy & Physiology Introduction to Microcomputers Health Care Data Structure and Systems Health Care Delivery Systems Pathophysiology/Pharmacolog y Basic ICD-9-CM Coding Basic Ambulatory Coding Medical Office Procedures Medical Office Procedures Intermediate ICD-9-CM Coding Intermediate CPT Coding Billing & Practicum/Internship Students will be required to pass all courses with a minimum of a C grade. They must also complete the internship, with their performance on the job evaluated by an onsite supervisor and/or a faculty member. Sustainability: The College administration is committed to the launching of this 7

8 program and will support its faculty, personnel, and instructional needs after the grant funding period is over. Revenues earned through student tuition and fees also will be dedicated to the continuation of the program. Staffing: The School of Allied Health, Human and Public Safety manages early childhood education, human (or social) services, emergency services, and health care programs. The Allied Health unit of the school offers eight associate degree and four vocational programs. The School is under the direction of a dean, Dr. James Greene. The Chair of Allied Health Programs is Dr. Mike McCumber, who holds a doctoral degree and oversees the Medical Lab Technician vocational program. He will provide guidance and advice to the new faculty member (Assistant or Associate Professor) to be hired after July. This faculty will teach the courses and will serve as Program Director for the Medical Coding/Billing program. The person will have a bachelor s or master s degree, will be a Certified Coding Specialist as designated by the American Health Information Management Association, and will have extensive experience in the field. The Program Director will be responsible for working with other College units to recruit and screen students; provide academic, financial, and career assistance; will teach courses; will monitor student performance, and gather and analyze data for the evaluation of the program. He or she will be assisted in the work by Allied Health support staff. Management Information System: The College has well-established and wellmaintained database systems to record, review, and analyze student educational and financial records. This includes the statewide relational database for community colleges that tracks information on student enrollment, completion, and placement. The College 8

9 provides regular staff training, which is required for those using the system. Policies are in place to ensure compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Collaboration Student success is fostered by the College through various offices offering advisement and counseling, financial aid assistance, and career placement. Academic support for students wanting additional help with coursework is also available through the Academic Support Center and the Center for Academic Excellence, and includes free tutoring, peertutoring, and online and video tutorials. Additionally, as part of their job descriptions, faculty are required to assist with advisement, counseling, and job placement. Career counselors can help students locate career positions as they near the time of program completion. However, many employers actively recruit DBCC graduates. Allied health programs, for example, have a 92% placement rate of completers. The College expects to continue its ongoing relationships with area health care providers that regularly provide internships and jobs to DBCC students and graduates. These include Halifax Medical Center and the Florida Hospital group. In addition, the College will collaborate with DuvaSawko, the medical billing and records company in Daytona Beach, which has indicated its willingness to accept students in internships and to interview and consider for employment successful completers of the DBCC program. (See letter of support included in this application.) IV. Evaluation The program will work with the DBCC Office of Institutional Research to collect and 9

10 analyze data about program performance and outcomes. Data to be collected will include student demographic information, student grades, course completion rates, student satisfaction with courses and the instructors, job placements, and employers satisfaction with graduates hired. This information will be used to develop the summative evaluation of the program to focus on outcomes. The formative section of the evaluation will discuss the planning and implementation processes. V. Support for Strategic Imperatives The curriculum for the proposed program meets Strategic Imperative 3: Improve Student Rates of Learning, including the state emphasis on literacy skills. Students will be required to read and comprehend texts written at the college level. The texts will increase vocabulary, improve reading fluency and comprehension, and provide understanding of medical terms and concepts. The reading and the assignments based on them will fulfill the intention of the Just Read, Florida! initiative. This project also supports Strategic Imperative No. 6: Align Workforce Education Programs with Skill Requirements of the New Economy. It does so by providing quality training and education to students to enable them to succeed in careers as medical coders/billers. VI. Dissemination Plan Information about student outcomes and regarding best practices for the education and training program will be shared on a statewide and national basis. Student data tracked by the program and the DBCC Office of Institutional Research is provided annually to the Florida Department of Education. In addition, the Program Director and 10

11 College administrators will share information about the curriculum through the College Web site (www.dbcc.edu) and will discuss best practices and other educational topics at the Council of Instructional Affairs and the Occupational Educational Standing Committee of the Florida Association of Community Colleges. The Program Director will attend professional conferences and meetings, sharing information at these events and through their publications, listservs, or Web sites. 11

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