Major Healthcare Providers Team up with LaGuardia Community College, Weill Cornell Medicine, & Harvard B-School Alumni to Train New Yorkers for In-Demand Medical Jobs

Program grads hired at Weill Cornell Medicine, CityMD, Columbia University Medical Center, Elmhurst Hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Mount Sinai, Northwell Health, and other NYC health institutions

Latest Class of Graduates Complete Intense 5-Month Program

Long Island City, NY (October 25, 2017)—A unique program run by LaGuardia Community College and Weill Cornell Medicine, designed to expand the number of well-qualified candidates for open medical billing positions, has graduated its fourth cohort of 23 students.

Training NYers for Medical Billing Jobs, with Weill Cornell Medicine & Harvard B-School Alumni - Medical Billing Group photo

23 students graduated from the fourth cohort of the Medical Billing Training Program

Funded by the New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (within the New York City Department of Small Business Services), the Medical Billing Training Program is offered tuition-free and attracts more than 1,000 applicants for limited class spots. At last week’s graduation ceremony, CityMD, which operates urgent care walk-in clinics throughout NYC, was welcomed as one of the program’s newest employer-partner.
Brian Graybow, vice president of revenue cycle for CityMD, said, “LaGuardia’s medical billing curriculum is comprehensive and their students come with an appreciation and excitement for the role they are pursuing.”

Nearly 80% of program grads from previous classes are now working in New York as medical billers, customer service reps, and other non-clinical entry level positions with starting salaries of $35,000-$45,000.

Kim Kendall & Carolina Santana

Kim Kendall with 4th cohort graduate Carolina Santana, now working at Weill Cornell Medicine

As awareness of the medical billing program has grown throughout NYC, the number of employers engaged in the program and recruiting graduates for hire as medical billers has grown. More than 50% of graduates have started at Weill Cornell Medicine, the program’s lead employer-partner. Additional graduates have been hired by CityMD, Columbia University Medical CenterElmhurst HospitalMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterMount SinaiNorthwell Health, and additional NY metro health care facilities.

“The eagerness of NYC’s leading health institutions to join our partnership reflects their seeing that turnover is near zero, that some grads have already been promoted, and that all hires are detail-oriented, astute professionals eager to work every single day. By working together with business and academia, our team has created an intense, demanding training course whose graduates are much better equipped for immediate employment than the typical entry level job seeker who has worked in the field or had some post-secondary education. Plus, thru our course, taught by industry pros and regularly updated, they’ve obtained a deep understanding of the intricacies of the US health insurance system and have a genuine compassion for the patients whose treatment coverage they help facilitate,” said Barry Puritz, co-chair of the Harvard Business School Club of New York Skills Gap Project, which helped initiate the program in 2015 [ click here to read more].

“Patients are always top of mind; as healthcare expands, we must innovate and adapt our billing practices. Posting payments and adjusting claims in a timely manner is important to our physician practices in providing quality services to our patients.” said Mohammed Kabir, 30, who has been working at Weill Cornell Medicine since graduating from LaGuardia last year. “This program has changed my life in every way. Before, I made ends meet driving taxis and doing odd jobs. Now I have a career that I’m proud of and that fascinates me every day. The US medical billing system is so complex. It’s also ignited my interest in education; I’m planning to pursue a degree in computer science at LaGuardia this spring.”

“Programs like this one that enable our college to utilize our pedagogical skills for the benefit of the medical institutions that take care of us and our neighbors, while getting highly-motivated New Yorkers on the path to an economically and professionally rewarding career, is the pinnacle of what we do in continuing education,” said LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow. “And it’s especially gratifying when the program inspires graduates to take their higher education further.”

Kim Kendall & Larry Amaya

Kim Kendall with 4th cohort graduate Larry Amaya, now working at Weill Cornell Medicine

“It’s clear that there is a high demand for our Medical Billing Training Program—from both employers and New Yorkers eager for a challenging career with growth opportunities, and where they can make a real difference to fellow New Yorkers; ensuring that their bills from doctors’ appointments and hospitalizations are processed smoothly and accurately,” said Kim Kendall, Director of the Medical Billing Training Program at LaGuardia. “As well, because our college attracts many non-traditional students, program graduates bring a wide diversity of age, experience, language, and country of origin, to the healthcare institutions that employ them.”

Of students in the fourth cohort, the average age was 34 (range: 21-51); 82% (19 out of 23) were born outside the United States, from Bangladesh, Brazil, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico, Myanmar, and Nepal.

According to New York Health Careers, the medical billing occupation is expected to see continued growth as state and federal reforms have made health care available to many more people. Additionally, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that between 2014 and 2024, the number of jobs for Billing and Posting Clerks will increase by 13% nationwide. The New York State Department of Labor projects that the number of jobs will increase by 20% in New York during the same period.

Based on word of mouth and media coverage of the first three graduations, more than 1,100 people applied for the 24 openings in the fourth cohort, which had a 96% retention rate; 23 of the 24 students who started the program in May 2017 completed the program and graduated.

“The concept has the potential to be replicated for larger impact,” said Mr. Puritz.

To read more about the Medical Billing Training Program at LaGuardia Community College, click on links below:

1. First cohort 
2. Second cohort
3. Third cohort

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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 http://www.LaGuardia.edu to learn more.

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