Creating pathways to health care careers in Kansas

Kristina Fouquet, LMSW, is the SDOH Employment Project Coordinator for UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas

Employment and income are critical social drivers of health (SDOH).1 Employment can provide a sense of purpose, financial stability and social connections that improve a person’s wellbeing. Access to education and job training can improve economic mobility and address inequities by creating a path to higher-paying jobs.2  Recognizing the impact of employment on health outcomes, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas offers members a value-added benefit to support continuing education.

The benefit offers eligible members up to $200 per year for pre-vocational education, including obtaining a GED, taking ESOL (English for Speakers of Another Language) courses, or participating in job training programs. KC Medical Coding Training, a local organization that offers medical coding training and certification, created custom program designed for UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas members to use their continuing education benefit to access job training. The goal of the program is to provide an entry-level pathway to a career in health care.

The program consists of a six-week self-paced course that covers detailed fundamentals of medical coding. After completing the training, students test to receive a certificate of completion to present to their employer or add to their resume. The program was designed to be inclusive: No prior experience or education is required. The self-paced nature of the course allows participants to work around their schedule.

KC Medical Coding Training also equips participants with professional job-readiness and ongoing mentorship. The program includes resume building guidance and bringing in local employers and community leaders to provide insights about the industry and interview process. Beyond sharing the fundamentals of medical coding, the program seeks to build a sense of community and a network of support for participants in their career journey.

Over the past year, 120 members have been referred to the program and 73 have already enrolled. Many students have already completed the program or are currently enrolled. The organization also follows up with members who experience barriers to enrolling or completing the program to ensure they have the support they need to move forward.

By recognizing the link between employment and health, the UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas is working with local leaders to identify paths for members to access education and job training. The custom program with KC Medical Coding Training provides members with support, a sense of community, and a path to a career in healthcare.

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