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Course offers career in a medical office

By Staff | Sep 1, 2015

For years, The Lee County Department of Human Services’ award-winning L.E.E. Medical Office Skills Program has lifted hundreds of people out of poverty and into well-paying careers.

That will continue this fall as the program is now taking applications online for classes that begin in October, with prospective candidates having a new way to get information about the program, both online and in person.

Marti Mills, who is in charge of the program, said it will still be the same class as before, but it will use technology for the application process to weed out those who don’t qualify.

“We’re happy to raise low-income people out of poverty and reliance on public assistance. This year, we’re excited about using technology to do that,” Mills said. “We’re going online and saving a lot of paper and trees by taking applications online.”

Under the old system, Mills would have to sit down and speak with the 200 or so candidates for the 20 open slots.

Now, the online tool will help self-select candidates through a series of questions, such as whether someone has been arrested on a drug charge or whether they can pass a basic aptitude test.

“This online screening will help reduce that volume down to only the core group of viable candidates,” Mills said. “Before, they talked to everyone.”

Individuals have the opportunity to register to attend one of several scheduled information and orientation sessions.

The deadline to apply is Oct. 8.

The L.E.E. Program is designed to substantially increase income for individuals who earn low wages by teaching the skills needed to work at the front desk of a doctor’s office or other medical facility.

Classes are held from 6:30 p..m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday evenings beginning Oct. 15.

Core classroom subjects include medical and dental terminology, HIPAA regulations, medical front office procedures, electronic medical records, basics of medical billing and coding, OSHA, infection control, computer protocol and computer applications.

Students also gain instruction in resume writing and job search, interview, job retention and soft skills.

By springtime, successful graduates will receive a certificate of completion in medical office skills and be trained to begin a career with upward mobility in a medical front office.

These jobs can carry people from working part time at minimum wage to a fulltime position, with benefits, starting at $12 to $14 an hour.

“These people have entered a career path with upward mobility, so in a couple years they can be moved from the front desk. Those soft skills are as critical to the process as the medical knowledge,” Mills said.

The L.E.E. Program is funded through the Community Services Block Grant and offered at no cost to eligible applicants. Students receive paid tuition, case management, books, assistance with childcare costs during class hours, and other support.

Go to www.leegov.com/dhs/fss/medical-office-skills-job-training, or www.