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Health care: Strengthening our community

Health care: Strengthening our community

By Christopher Coyne

Healthcare is booming! Industry evolves to reflect the needs of each generation, and now that the enormous population of baby boomers is growing older, one of those needs is high-quality choices for all manner of health care. Baby boomers want to live longer, healthier, more active lives, and the healthcare industry is responding to this demand by offering them more options.

Like many other areas across the country, the Twin Tiers and Finger Lakes have experienced a steady growth in the healthcare industry's presence over the past few decades. Our region is home to several highly regarded hospitals, and we're seeing a steady proliferation of medical practices that focus on particular areas of healthcare; from physical therapy to cosmetic surgery.

Because of the Twin Tiers' thriving industry, employment in healthcare has proven to be one of the more reliable prospects in our area. Department of Labor Employment statistics show that since 1994 through the first half 2013, jobs in the healthcare industry in our region have either grown or remained nearly static every year. As more Twin Tier's residents get older, the demand for high-quality healthcare will grow. And not all jobs in healthcare are for doctors and nurses.

There are opportunities in the field for those with specialized training for clerical work, office technology, billing, coding and many other valuable positions. Educational institutions around the state have seen the need for qualified personnel in these types of positions and have adjusted their course offerings accordingly. The Twin Tiers is no exception; Elmira Business Institute has, for years, offered certificate and Associates Degree programs in several fields of study within the medical and healthcare industries, and they steadily rank among EBI's most popular programs.

Healthy Life talked to Julie Fielding, Career Placement Coordinator for Elmira Business Institute about the programs that the Institute offers and the prospects for employment for those who complete their studies.

All of the healthcare-related programs offered under EBI fall into three different areas of study: Medical Assisting; Medical Coding and Reimbursement and Medical Office Technology. And within those disciplines there are a number of certification programs and Associates Degree programs. Ms. Fielding says that in the past year, enrollment within Medical Coding & Reimbursement has shown the biggest increase, but that there have been increases across all three programs.

Medical organizations are regularly looking for billing clerks, medical assistants, medical receptionists, phlebotomists, medical coders and medical assistants, and EBI offers programs to prepare candidates for all of these positions. Once a student successfully completes a course of study that requires certification, they are eligible to sit for the professional exam that will certify them in that field of study.

And the jobs are there. Ms. Fielding says the placement rates for those who have completed their programs are impressive. For the past academic year, the placement percentage for Medical Assisting graduates is 84%, for Medical Office Technologies is 95% and Medical Coding & Reimbursement had a 96% placement rate.

The expansion of the healthcare industry is good news for the Finger Lakes and Twin Tiers, not just because we're gaining resources to foster a healthier population, but also we have an ever-expanding source of rewarding employment opportunities for the entire region.

Julie Fielding-Career Placement Coordinator
Elmira Business Institute
303 North Main Street, Elmira

New York State Department of Labor