The announcements were made at a news conference Monday in Salt Lake City, where AHIMA is hosting its 83rd annual convention.
AHIMA Board President Bonnie Cassidy said the workforce training initiatives all aim to “provide opportunity for tens of thousands of Americans who have lost a job, and in many cases, a career.”
The proposed legislative amendment calls for tax credits for employers that provide health information management training to workers. AHIMA spokesman Craig May said the proposal does not yet have a legislative sponsor.
The partnership between AHIMA and HHS will include North Shore Medical Labs, which will provide through its Nortec Software subsidiary a free Web-based electronic health-records system as well as training programs for 100 providers and their staffs in medically underserved areas in Alabama, Mississippi and North Carolina.
Also, the AHIMA Foundation is working to expand its own recently developed online-training program to parallel one developed by the federal government under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS is already funding six-month workforce training programs in six subject matter areas through more than 70 community colleges.
The curriculum created by the AHIMA Foundation, however, aims to ready its graduates to successfully pass the same HHS-sponsored accreditation test for health IT competency that students of the six-month junior college courses may take.
Bill Rudman, vice president of educational visioning at AHIMA and executive director of the AHIMA Foundation, said 65 students have completed courses geared toward training EHR implementation specialists, but they have not yet sat for the accreditation exam. AHIMA has additional online training programs in the works to develop assistants who could help office-based physicians using IT to improve their workflow and meet meaningful-use targets under the ARRA. A fourth curriculum is being designed to train workforce IT trainers, he said.
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