BMCC Preparing New Generation of Healthcare Professionals

February 23, 2017

Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) is taking innovative steps to help meet explosive job growth in New York’s health care sector by overhauling courses in both the Allied Health Sciences and Health Education Departments.

Two medical coding courses, both taught within the Health Information Technology (HIT) program of the Allied Health Sciences Department, have been updated to reflect changing industry standards.

Another course, an advanced seminar on contemporary health issues offered through the Health Education Department (HED), has been updated to address issues such as the rollback of the Affordable Care Act, and controversial topics such as those surrounding genetically modified food.

Understanding a volatile health care landscape

From 2009 to 2015, New York State saw combined private and public sector health care employment grow by nine percent, according to data from the state’s Department of Labor (DOL).

In New York City, demand for well-trained professionals is expected to continue into the coming decade, as millions of baby boomers age into retirement. All the while, technological innovation will continue to transform both health care delivery and critical administrative functions, such as insurance processing.

The BMCC Health Education Department has fine-tuned an existing course, Critical Health Topics & Issues, to investigate some of these complexities.

“What people need to know to take care of themselves is very complex and complicated, with many moving parts,” said Lesley Rennis, Chair, BMCC Health Education Department.

This seminar course will examine timely issues and controversies being reported in the media from a historic, societal and individual perspective. Students will be required to prepare for vigorous class discussion and debates on health care insurance, health care-related technological innovation and social trends that contribute to the nation’s ballooning health care budget.

Overall U.S. health care spending grew 5.8 percent in 2015, reaching $3.2 trillion or $9,990 per person. This accounts for 17.8 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Preparing to seize opportunities as medical coders

BMCC’s HIT program, within the Allied Health Sciences department, is beefing up two critical courses, each designed for students interested in careers as medical coders.

Within the health care field, medical coders assign diagnostic codes that enable access to health records and processing of health insurance.

They follow standards of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), created by the World Health Organization.

In 2015, the BMCC HIT program began overhauling its medical coding classes to reflect a seismic change in ICD coding standards.

At that time, the U.S. medical coding industry, ordered by Congress, switched from ICD-9 to ICD-10 coding — growing from 14,315 to 69,101 diagnosis codes, and from 3,838 to 71,957 procedure codes.

“ICD-10 is very different than the old system,” said Lynda Carlson, Deputy Chair and HIT Program Director, Allied Health Sciences Department, BMCC. “This is an evolving industry and there has been an increased demand for skilled workers in the coding field since we began the switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10.”

One of the coding classes focuses on inpatient coding for those admitted to an acute care facility, while the other focuses on patients admitted to an ambulatory setting.

“Our students utilize 3M software, the same that’s used in the industry,” said Carlson. “They code ambulatory and outpatient charts, and get a chance to apply those skills as they complete internships at a variety of behavioral, long-term and acute-care facilities.”

Additional new classes in health care and other subject areas at BMCC

Health Education  255: Communication Strategies in Health Literacy, Promotion and Programming

An introduction to the United States and International field of health communication with an emphasis on theoretical constructs, practical models and applications. This course of study examines the multifaceted nature of health communication and its role in personal health behavior and public health interventions.

Linguistics 300: Language, Gender, and Sexuality

This course introduces students to the study of language events related to gender and sexuality. Practicing framing, speech act analysis, and discourse analysis, students will examine the relationship between cultural values, language, gender and sexuality.  Students will analyze with examples from global languages, how gender and sexuality affect language use and communities of practice as well as how language affects understandings of gender and sexuality.

Psychology 280: Cultural Psychology 

The course will examine theoretical and methodological approaches and challenges to studying the impact of culture on psychological processes and how people construct cultural meanings. Topics may include: definition and methods of cultural psychology, self and identity, motivation and emotion, cognition and perception, morality, mental health, and migration and cultural assimilation. Implications of cultural psychology for social policy and clinical practice will be discussed.

American Sign Language 105: Introductory American Sign Language I 

American Sign Language 105 is a beginner course designed to develop skill in a form of manual communication used primarily by American-born deaf person in interpersonal (face-to-face) relations. The main objective is develop signed communication skills, comprehension skills ,sign literacy and expressive skills,and develop a further awareness of culture of deaf and hard of hearing users of ASL.

American Sign Language 10: Introductory American Sign Language II  

American Sign Language 106 is a second-semester language course. The main objective is to improve signed communication skills, expand comprehension skills, increase sign literacy and expressive skills, and develop a further awareness of culture of deaf and hard of hearing users of ASL.

Math 150.5: Statistics with Algebra

This course focuses on algebra with statistics with an additional 30 hours focusing on elementary algebraic concepts useful in statistics.  After covering the selected algebraic concepts, the course covers the study of basic statistics.  It includes measures of central tendency, measures of dispersion, graphs, probability, the binomial distribution, sampling distributions, the chi-square distribution, t-tests, estimation and hypothesis testing, correlation and regression.

English 300: Fundamentals of Journalism

Fundamentals of Journalism offers an introduction to the practice of journalism and an opportunity to explore the purpose of journalism, its relationship to a free society, its means of production, its history and its projections about its future. The course addresses journalism in all its forms and media, e.g. film, print, radio, television, and Internet-based platforms, including Web sites, blogs, Twitter, and other social media. Further, this course provides a thorough foundation in journalism’s professional code of ethics and the work of a free press to safeguard social liberty, which John Stuart Mill defined as “the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual.” In addition, this course focuses on the methods and skills necessary for information gathering, establishing credibility, determining writing, editing and dissemination, which are explored more deeply in the sequence courses. This course, along with our other journalism courses, will provide students with the writing, editing and technology skills demanded in numerous careers in the twenty-first century.

Health Information Technology 110: Medical Terminology

This course introduces students to medical terms and abbreviations associated with each body system and applicable diseases as well as associated diagnostic and therapeutic tests. Students are also introduced to the anatomy and physiology for each body system and pharmacology options for treatment of diseases including name and category of medication and method of delivery. The correlation between medical terms, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, and medical coding is also covered.
Corequisites: HIT 111, HIT 112, BIO 425, and MAT 150

Health Information Technology 111: Introduction to Health Management

This course introduces students to the variety of functions and credentials associated with the health information management (HIM) profession. Students are also introduced to the legal requirements regarding documentation based on type of facility, health information technologies specific to the profession, and organizations that provide data that influences health care services.
Corequisites: HIT 110, HIT 112, BIO 425, and MAT 150

Health Information Technology 112: Principles of Health Care Reimbursement

This course will expose students to the different types of health insurance, payment systems based on type of services provided (e.g., long term, ambulatory, acute, outpatient, rehab, home health, and skilled nursing), components of the billing process, and the monitoring and controlling functions of the revenue cycle. Students will also be introduced to the strategies to improve the delivery and payment of healthcare services (e.g.), value-based, pay-for-performance).

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  • New classes meet changing health care market
  • Health Education seminar drills down into timely health care topics
  • Health Information Technology course provides skills in medical coding and reflects changing technology

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