Thirteen unemployed and underemployed people from New Hampshire and Vermont will soon be taking jobs with Dartmouth-Hitchcock as medical coders. Today they graduate from an innovative cross-state program.
Medical coders translate notes and orders from healthcare providers into standard codes, which are used for things like billing and insurance claims. Vermont HITEC President Gerry Ghazi says when Dartmouth-Hitchcock had trouble recruiting qualified coders, the company approached his non-profit organization for help. Their answer: create a training program for people with no experience in the field.
“The radical part about it is, we totally immerse the student in the subject matter to accelerate their learning far beyond what it normally would take," Ghazi says. "Normally a medical coder, it would take them at least a year of education, plus several years of actually coding before Dartmouth would consider them to come onboard. We’ve accomplished in ten weeks what would normally take a year.”
Graduates of the program are guaranteed jobs at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, starting at 17-dollars an hour. Another group starts training today. Ghazi says they received more than 700-applications for the first round of training. He says Vermont HITEC is also looking at doing programs for other in-demand positions at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.