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Graduate Recognized for Career in Health Information Management

Sep 15, 2014

Elizabeth Head has worked in a number of positions throughout her seven year career with Baptist Health, from release of information, to chart auditing, to front end compliance, before advancing into her current position working as a Revenue Integrity/Medicare Compliance Coder.  Although she’s seen the field constantly evolve over the years, she’s found that her degree in health information technology from the Louisville Campus, as well as her certification as a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT), has given her the skills necessary to succeed.

“With the electronic aspect that we’ve gotten into, and all of the changes from Congress that’s been made, the level of skill [required] has gone up a lot…You have to have a lot more knowledge now than you used to,” Elizabeth explained.

After working in the restaurant industry for more than 14 years, Elizabeth first came to American National University in search of training for a career that would bring her more stability and better benefits.  “I initially only came to get my coding certificate, but my admissions [representative] saw my résumé and saw that I had management experience,” Elizabeth recalled.  “She said ‘Why don’t you get a degree as opposed to a certificate,’ and I’m really glad that I did.”

In her classes at National, Elizabeth was pleased to find that she had plenty of opportunities for personal interaction with her instructors who were professionals in the field. “When I went to Eastern [Kentucky University] I loved it there, but with the large class sizes, I didn’t really feel a connection with many of my professors,” she said.  “Here, I really enjoyed that the people who are teaching me were actually people who were doing the job. I felt like I could go to any of my instructors if I had an issue and they would help me.”

In the last term of her program, she began working as an extern at Baptist Health, and she was offered an entry level position in HIM with the hospital a short time after graduating.  She also sat for the exam to become certified as a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT), and she feels that the credential has been an important component to her career success.

As certification is becoming required by more and more employers, she encourages current students to get certified, and urges graduates to take advantage of the tuition-free refresher courses available at National to help them prepare for the RHIT exam. “You come here and you work hard and you study, but without that certification, you’re not going to be able to get the type of employment you are looking for,” she said.
Elizabeth has served as an instructor and a member of the HIM advisory board at the Louisville Campus, which recently recognized her dedication to the profession when she was presented with the 2014 Alumni Hall of Achievement Award during the commencement ceremony in May.  “I was quite surprised, but I was extremely honored, because I felt like it’s nice to be appreciated,” she said.

The award confirmed, once again, to Elizabeth that she made the right choice in her education and in her career.  “I always try to promote the college, because I feel very strongly about it,” she said.  “I feel like it’s been a great opportunity, and I’m extremely happy with everything about it.”

A-Elizabeth Head, a 2006 graduate of the Louisville Campus, has had a successful career working in health information management for Baptist Health.  She currently works from home as a compliance coder and has also served as an instructor at American National University.

B-Elizabeth Head is shown accepting the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award from Louisville Campus director Vincent Tinebra during the campus's commencement ceremony that was held in May.

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tags: KY-Louisville Medical: Health Information Management - Associate's Degree (HIM)