Long Island City, NY (April 28, 2017)—The highly successful initiative to train motivated New Yorkers for medical billing positions, conducted in partnership with Weill Cornell Medicine and the New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (NYACH),has graduated its third class of 21 students at LaGuardia Community College. Through a partnership with the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS), the five-month Medical Billing Training Program is offered tuition-free, and graduates superbly trained candidates for entry-level positions starting at $35,000-$45,000. The program has quickly built a successful pool of early-career professionals, with nearly 80 percent of students from the first two cohorts hired within three months of graduation—30 by Weill Cornell Medicine, seven by Mount Sinai, and several others by individual physician practices and other area hospitals.
“With its proven track record, our Medical Billing Training Program is providing students the opportunity to acquire in-demand skills sought by healthcare providers, without accruing student loan debt for tuition,” said LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow. “This training allows our students to secure jobs that enable them to build better lives for themselves, their families and New Yorkers.”
“By working together with our industry partners, we’re curating training programs that put New Yorkers on track to lucrative careers,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services. “The graduating participants will join the ranks of fellow graduates that have accepted positions at some of the city’s top tier medical institutions. I look forward to the continued success of this cohort.”
The program started in 2015 as a result of the Harvard Business School Club of New York’s “Skills Gap Initiative” to address a need for skilled, motivated workers for this growing niche in the healthcare industry. To read more about the Skills Gap Project and its work on the Medical Billing Training Program, click here.
“Our partnership tackled the challenge to train people so well that they do not need prior work experience to perform at the highest level, advance their careers, and completely satisfy their employers,” said Barry Puritz, co-chair of the team of Harvard B-School alumni that initiated the partnership between LaGuardia and Weill Cornell Medicine. “With careful attention to building a multi-faceted, results-oriented course offering, we have redefined the paradigm for successful entry level employment in non-clinical healthcare.”
Medical billing positions, along with many other mid-skills jobs, often go unfilled because applicants lack essential training. The curriculum involves 267-hours of training, and students graduate with technical skills, an understanding of healthcare finance, workplace professionalism and job readiness training.
“The collaboration between Weill Cornell Medicine and LaGuardia Community College has been very fruitful,” said Susan Shevlin, director of talent acquisition and onboarding at Weill Cornell Medicine. “We’ve appreciated having an expanded pool of well-trained applicants for our medical billing positions, which is essential to our operation. And because of the program’s vigorous training, those we have hired have been able to enter their positions nearly seamlessly.”
Reflecting the high-demand for well-trained medical billing candidates, the program has drawn interest from other area hospital systems as well. Northwell Health and Columbia University Medical Center also have participated in coaching events and instruction.
Based on word of mouth and media coverage of the first two graduations, more than 1,000 people applied for the 21 openings in the third cohort, which boasted a 100 percent retention rate; each of the 21 students who started the program in November 2016 have completed the program and graduated.
The average age of students in the third cohort is 33 (range: 21-49). Twelve of the 21 students were born outside of the United States, from Antigua, Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, Egypt, India, Jamaica, Philippines, Poland, and Romania.
The concept has the potential to be replicated for larger impact.
For more information about this program or hiring its graduates, contact Barry Puritz at the Harvard Business School Club of New York firstname.lastname@example.org or (917) 453-0311.
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LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, educates more than 50,000 New Yorkers annually through degree, certificate, and continuing education programs. Our guiding principle Dare To Do More reflects our belief in the transformative power of education—not just for individuals, but for our community and our country—creating pathways for achievement and safeguarding the middle class. LaGuardia is a national voice on behalf of community colleges, where half of all US college students study. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his championing the underserved. Since our doors opened in 1971, our programs regularly become national models for pushing boundaries to give people of all backgrounds access to a high quality, affordable college education. We invite you to join us in imagining what our students, our community, and our country can become. Visit www.LaGuardia.edu to learn more.