UPMC | University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
EXTRA! - A biweekly newsletter for staff of UPMC
Friday, Dec. 15, 2006
Volume 17, No. 25
Download a PDF of this issue
Summary Plan DescriptionsArchivesUpcoming EventsResearch StudiesUPMC PerksSubmit a Story

Additional Articles
In the media spotlight

New hand hygiene policy

Kicking the habit

Unused purchased PTO
paid out in Dec. 29 pay

Don’t let the flu ruin
your holidays

Mediterranean collaboration

New Health Plan ID cards are being mailed

Mileage reimbursement
rate increases for 2007

Reports available for
benefit plans

UPMC launches
anti-fraud initiatives

Change announced for short-term disability administrator

Retirement program news

WQED special focuses
on diabetes

UPMC presents Cabaret

Before you celebrate


Jump-starting careers in health care
UPMC’s Healthcare Careers Initiative Program

  deJeana Rawlins
Drawing on the skills and knowledge she gained from HCIP, deJeana Rawlins was promoted to outpatient coder and recently to outpatient coding supervisor.

Career doors have been opening for deJeana Rawlins in the Health Information Management Department at UPMC Presbyterian. A graduate of UPMC’s Healthcare Careers Initiative Program (HCIP), Ms. Rawlins recently obtained certification as a medical biller at Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) through the sponsorship of HCIP.

Ms. Rawlins has assisted in billing and coding for three years. Upon returning from maternity leave, she heard about the HCIP program from a co-worker. “My duties as a records filer and liaison just no longer felt quite so challenging,” she recalls.

A program of UPMC’s Office of Diversity, HCIP is open to full-time and part-time regular, non-exempt UPMC employees with high school degrees or the equivalent. (A General Educational Development, or GED, pilot project is presently in the works.) Originally funded through seed money by the Pittsburgh Foundation, the five-year-old program is supported by UPMC corporate dollars and participating UPMC hospitals and foundations. Unique to the program’s mission is comprehensive funding of participants’ tuition, books, lab fees, transportation, even child care. HCIP’s purpose is to break down barriers to career advancement by easing access to education for employees seeking health-career opportunities.

Ms. Rawlins met with the HCIP career coordinator and reviewed the variety of career tracks offered through HCIP — registered nurse, radiology technician, medical assistant, pharmacy technician, medical records coder, respiratory therapist, and other degree and certificate programs — and decided on medical biller, a certificate program. “I knew I wanted to continue in coding and billing, and I also wanted to complete my studies in about two years,” she says. Employees attend classes on a part-time basis, usually one class a semester, scheduled around work hours. Associate degree programs, such as medical records coder, or histology technician, take longer to complete, usually four years attending part time.

“Most of our students start at CCAC where they begin with prerequisite courses,” says Marcena Sinclair, HCIP career coordinator. “With courses offered morning, noon, and night, there’s some flexibility of scheduling. We work with job supervisors to accommodate and adapt employee work schedules whenever necessary.” Employees pursuing nursing careers have the option of continuing studies at CCAC or switching to the UPMC Shadyside School of Nursing after prerequisites have been met.

For Ms. Rawlins, five semesters of part-time study required the juggling of job, motherhood, a South Hills commute, classes, and study time. “During my schooling, I saw my daughter, Maya, only two hours a day — in the morning and at night before bedtime — but we got through it and all for the better.” With her new skills and working knowledge, Ms. Rawlins was promoted to outpatient coder and recently to outpatient coding supervisor. She is responsible for conducting billing audits and interacting with department heads and staff to ensure accuracy in billing and coding.

There are currently 150 active participants in the HCIP program. Each of the 10 — soon to be 11 — affiliated UPMC hospitals is allocated a portion of student slots. The health career programs offered are for high-demand positions with employment opportunities projected into the future.

For Ms. Rawlins, HCIP study has made all the difference. “It would have taken me 20 years to advance this far without my medical billing certificate.”

Are you interested in jump-starting your career in health care? For more information about the Healthcare Careers Initiative Program, contact Ms. Sinclair at 412-432-7284 or sinclairml@upmc.edu.



UPMC’s Healthcare Careers Initiative Program is currently affiliated with and accepts students from the following UPMC hospitals: Magee-Womens Hospital, UPMC Braddock, UPMC McKeesport, UPMC Montefiore, UPMC Passavant, UPMC Presbyterian, UPMC St. Margaret, UPMC Shadyside, UPMC South Side, and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is expected to become affiliated during the next year.





Top of page


UPMC | University of Pittsburgh Medical Center