• 05-10-2010 -- CCAC partners with Virginia college in health-IT consortium

    Press Release

    PITTSBURGH-The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) will partner with Tidewater Community College (TCC) in Hampton Roads, Va., as part of a consortium in a 12-state region to educate up to 7,500 information technology professionals in healthcare over the next two years through a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grant for $16,017,608.

    One of the largest of five regions in the country's Community College Consortia to Educate Health Information Technology Professionals in Health Care program, the region including CCAC and TCC has 25 percent of the U.S. population - more than 75 million people. CCAC expects to receive $435,000 in the first year of the grant.

    "CCAC is proud to join with TCC in this endeavor to bring the nation's health records into the 21st century," said CCAC President Alex Johnson, PhD. "A study CCAC commissioned earlier this year determined that one of the 'nexus industries' for growth in southwestern Pennsylvania is the intersection of health care and information technology. CCAC's participation in this grant, and our strong foundation in training for the health careers, positions us well to prepare individuals for these up-and-coming careers."

    Each year, CCAC awards the second-highest number of nursing associate's degrees nationally among two-year institutions and the third-highest number of degrees in the health professions and related clinical sciences, according to Community College Week.

    Efforts to improve, implement and unify electronic health records (EHRs) across the nation come under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, as part of HHS activities to increase access to healthcare, protect those in greatest need, expand educational opportunities and modernize the nation's infrastructure.

    TCC will coordinate the collaboration of more than 100 community stakeholders and 22 other community colleges, including CCAC, to provide training on six key positions needed to establish or expand health information technology (HIT) systems.

    The six key positions are:

    • Practice Workflow and Information Management Redesign Specialist
    • Clinician/Practitioner Consultant
    • Implementation Support Specialist
    • Implementation Manager
    • Technical/Software Support Staff
    • Trainer

    "TCC has stepped up to be part of the solution, to offer collaborative leadership in this crucial work to prepare health IT professionals," says TCC President Deborah M. DiCroce. "With our longstanding record of successful partnering and innovative programs, TCC stands to well serve this national initiative. We're proud and ready to assist in the transformation of the American health system by preparing a key workforce to modernize electronic health records." 

    Leading educational partners in the consortium are Sentara Healthcare, Eastern Virginia Medical School and Virginia's Statewide Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center.

    The consortium's more-than-100 industry and community partners reflect a blending of the best healthcare providers, including military and veteran affairs treatment facilities, community clinics, healthcare insurers, Workforce Investment Boards and hospitals from Virginia to Maine.

    Consortium results will include an electronic repository of curriculum resources and materials for consortium members to share, and a blueprint of practical experiences in configuring EHRs within a simulated laboratory environment, with approaches to assessing, selecting and configuring EHRs to meet specific needs of end-users.

    HHS online descriptions note that health information technology "allows comprehensive management of medical information and its secure exchange between health care consumers and providers." With a well-prepared HIT workforce, records would become available in all healthcare scenarios and patients would be treated with the immediacy of electronic records showing individual medical history.


    About CCAC
    The Community College of Allegheny County is the largest institution of postsecondary higher education in Pennsylvania. The college serves 30,000 credit students through 170 degree and certificate programs and offers thousands of lifelong learning non-credit and workforce development courses to 35,000 students annually. Incorporating a learning-centered environment committed to the future of the region, CCAC continues to expand its reach through innovative programming and accessible instruction offered via convenient day, evening, weekend and online courses. With four campuses and six centers serving Allegheny County and surrounding communities, CCAC endeavors to fulfill its mission to provide affordable access to quality education and offer a dynamic, diverse and supportive learning environment that prepares the region's residents for academic, professional and personal success in our changing global society.

    About TCC
    Tidewater Community College - the largest provider of higher education and workforce development services in Hampton Roads - will serve a projected 46,000 students in 2009-10. The 15th highest associate-degree producer in the nation, TCC offers more than 150 programs including business administration, culinary arts, general studies, modeling & simulation, network security, nursing, and automotive technology. Among the fastest-growing two-year institutions in the United States, TCC was founded in 1968 as a part of the Virginia Community College System. The college serves the South Hampton Roads region with campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach as well as the TCC Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Center in Norfolk's theater district, the Visual Arts Center in Olde Towne Portsmouth, the Regional Automotive Center in Chesapeake, and the Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach. Forty-six percent of the region's residents attending a college or university in Virginia last fall were enrolled at TCC. For more information, visit www.tcc.edu.