The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Spring enrollment at Lamar State College-Port Arthur remains fairly steady with 2,162 students enrolled in credit courses and another 282 students in semester length non-credit vocational courses.
The enrollment figure is down from last spring’s 3,096 when the college saw a large jump in the number of students.
LSC-PA, at 1500 Procter St., also had a number of new programs ushered in with the 2013-2014 year. Gary Stretcher, vice-president for academic affairs, said the new programs include graphic design, an associate of applied science degree and a one-year certificate; medical coding specialist, associate of applied science degree and a one-year certificate; sound design for visual media/audio-visual production, associate degree; and live sound design and electronics technology, one-year certificate.
The new graphic design program, he said, was developed as a joint collaboration between the business and technology and liberal arts departments. The nearest comparable program is in the Houston area.
The medical coding program added eight new courses to the catalog and is a career field that continues to grow. Texas Workforce Commission predicts that the demand for medical records and health information technicians — a category that includes medical coding — will increase by 28 percent from 2010 to 2020 with 780 average annual openings. The U.S. Department of Labor projects a national increase of 21 percent during a comparable time period, Stretcher said.
“One factor for growth in the occupation is an aging population, the concomitant use of medical services, and increasing reliance on and availability of health insurance,” he said.
“A second factor is the increased use of electronic health records, which is requiring more coders who have been educated in electronic data management skills. Qualified coders are needed to enter data, review claims processing, and assist physicians with questions to and from insurance providers,” he said. “An effective and efficient medical coder is an important contributor to the financial success of a medical practice. Therefore, medical coders must have the necessary training to correctly transfer information from medical charts into the proper form for billing and patient records.”
In addition, LSC-PA revived a program — accounting technology, associate of applied science degree and a one-year certificate.