At 38 years old, Denise Lee hadn’t thought much about going back to school. She was a wife, a mother and a full-time employee.
Lee had been employed by Harlan ARH Hospital for 17 years. She was skilled and knowledgeable within her field. However, when medical coding saw federally-mandated changes from the ICD-9 Coding System (17,000 codes) to the ICD-10 Coding System (140,000) she knew it was time to begin searching for options to continue her education.
Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College EPIC Project Team Leader David C. Dixon helped calm her fears when it came to going back to school. “I discovered the EPIC program when their staff set up an information booth at our hospital’s cafeteria.” Lee stated. “They had a lot of information about programs that were offered and even told me that I could take classes online or in the classroom.”
“Mrs. Lee was interested in our Medical Coding Certification Program,” Dixon explained. “Our Learn on Demand courses are designed to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our programs are designed to not only offer students convenience but also affordability. Textbooks cost are built into the online program. This format was a perfect fit for her.”
Lee quickly acknowledged the difference between online and face-to-face classes. However, she felt that the online environment gave her the opportunity to be more reflective in her responses to questions from her instructor. “I had the chance to really prepare what I wanted to say, without answering a question on the fly.”
By completing a credential with Southeast’s EPIC Program, Lee is better prepared for advancement in her career. By completing courses in medical terminology, anatomy, the laws that apply to health information, medical billing software, coding procedures and quality improvement measures, she now has an even broader knowledge and understanding of her field.
Medical Coding is a field that is constantly changing with government regulations.
Coders are now becoming an integral part of the healthcare industry. “Now that she has completed her certificate, Mrs. Lee has the opportunity to continue her work within the hospital or seek opportunities in a clinic setting or even working from home” said Dixon.
When asked what one piece of advice she would give someone thinking about returning to school Lee said, “Take advantage of the opportunity that has been presented to you. Online classes have made higher education accessible and convenient for everyone. You don’t have to sacrifice your current job to pursue your education Don’t let fear stop you.”
Dixon added, “Never let fear of cost or lack of time deter you from college. Schedule a time to speak with a financial aid representative or college counselor. If you set a goal and make a commitment, you will find a way to make the necessary sacrifices to accomplish it. Don’t let college intimidate you, let it help you find your path to success.”
If you would like to learn more about Learn on Demand or the EPIC Program at SKCTC contact David C. Dixon at 606-589-3021 or [email protected]