A TOTAL of 40 Negrenses completed the medical coding professional course under a scholarship program of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).

The new coders were formally presented with their certificates by the Tesda and MedStar Philippines Health Information Management Inc. as the training service provider in a graduation ceremony at the Business Inn Hotel in Bacolod City recently.

For Health Information Management (HIM) training, the agency partnered with MedStar as one of the training service providers in the Philippines to implement its "Tulong Trabaho" Scholarship Program.

Eighty percent of the graduates also passed the US licensure examinations for the Certified Professional Coder last March 2022.

Based on examinee surveys, only about 40 to 50 percent pass the exam on their first attempt.

One trainee, Catherine Isabel De Capia, garnered a score of 94 percent.

Students were prepared for the examinations by their instructor, Napoleon Cortez, a US certified instructor and considered the first in Western Visayas to teach medical coding.

Delivering the message of support of Tesda Regional Director Jerry Tizon to the graduates was Supervising TESDA Provincial Specialist Ernesto Duremdes.

The Tesda works with industries and associations under the priority sectors to develop industry-led training to ensure job opportunities after the training.

Digital transformation advocate and co-founder of the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for Information and Communications (Bnefit) Jocelle Batapa-Sigue commended the inspiring efforts of the new Negrense medical coders for paving the way for the healthcare information industry to thrive in the province.

Batapa-Sigue said the goal of Bnefit in 2014 was to reach 5,000 HIM jobs by 2022, but the pandemic and many other factors have hindered its achievement.

She said the federation together with all stakeholders from government, academe and industry will reset the targets up to 2030 within this year to generate more jobs and opportunities.

Negros Occidental Language and Information Technology Center (Nolitc) Executive Director Ma. Cristina Orbecido conveyed the continuing support of the provincial government for HIM industry.

The center pioneered the first HIM training under Medstar in 2018.

MedStar Philippines is a human resource development and training affiliate of MedStar Billing Technology and Resources (MedStar USA), a medical billing company located at the heart of Manhattan, New York, USA.

Founder of MedStar Philippines and USA Judilyn Cañete is proud of her Bacolod roots.

MedStar is an American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)-approved and Tesda-accredited training provider in the roll-out of the AAPC Certified Professional Coder (CPC) in the USA and Philippines.

CPC certification is internationally recognized as the gold standard and the most recognized and respected medical coding certification in the healthcare industry.

MedStar Philippines has also partnered with the Visaya KPO, a company that provides HIM and other services as an industry or enterprise partner.

It will provide employment opportunities to the scholars who will fully complete the training and pass the AAPC Certified Professional Coder Certification Examinations to help realize the implementation of Tesda's "Tulong Trabaho" program.

This year, Visaya KPO will be expanding to Bacolod City and Negros Occidental, with a target of 1,200 direct jobs, potentially becoming the largest healthcare information management company in Negros Occidental.

Medstar Philippines credits the strong collaboration among partners this year as an offshoot of the 2017 Bacolod HIM Conference initiated by former Bacolod councilor Batapa-Sigue and Bnefit.

Batapa-Sigue as a strong national advocate for information and communications technology (ICT) jobs said he believes in the value of promoting the countryside as choice locations for digital jobs to provide opportunities to Negrenses and promote the province and Bacolod City as a top HIM industry destination in the Philippines.

Cañete, for her part, said they will also provide in-house scholarships for Negrenses who will not be qualified for Tesda scholarships as part of her personal mission to give back to her home province.

Together with Tesda, the Health Information Management Association of the Philippines (Himap) answers the call of the overall national strategy for talent development by searching for training providers like MedStar to roll out the training in medical coding through the agency's funds.

"Tulong Trabaho" targets the beneficiaries are displaced workers, repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), out-of-school youths, and employed individuals who need upskilling to expand their capabilities and opportunities at work. (PR)

Contributed Photo. Forty Negrenses complete the medical coding professional course under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority in partnership with MedStar Philippines Health Information Management Inc. recently.