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Rio opens Jackson Center; announces Medical Coding program

May 7, 2015

RIO GRANDE, Ohio – The University of Rio Grande has extended its on-site academic offerings into Jackson County with the University of Rio Grande Jackson Center.

The new center, located at 14761 State Route 93, Suite 1, will offer courses beginning with the Summer 1 term on June 1. The center’s summer hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

For more information, including a complete schedule of summer courses available at the Jackson Center, please contact Jackson Center Director Robyn Blache at 740-577-3555 or rblache@rio.edu.

“Rio Grande has a long, successful history of serving the students and businesses of Jackson County,” Blache said. “The new Jackson Center will serve to strengthen those existing bonds and partnerships, as well as develop new alliances that will further benefit our communities.”

Blache was hired in March to lead Rio’s Jackson efforts. She has a Masters of Jurisprudence in Health Law from Loyola University Chicago, a Bachelor of Arts in English from Ohio State University and several certificates, including Certified Healthcare Compliance and Certified Professional Code.

Among the academic programs available at the Jackson Center is a new Medical Coding boot camp where participants can sit for their American Academy of Professional Coding certification afterwards. The 10-week hybrid program requires students participate on-site twice a week for three hours with additional online responsibilities.

The Jackson Center and Medical Coding program are the result of a $243,000 Southeast Region Industry Workforce Alliance Partnership Grant awarded by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation (OWT). The pilot initiative fosters the development of career pathways to help unemployed and underemployed Ohioans find work and build careers in growing industries, while aligning education and training programs with the needs of business.

The program is funded from the U.S. Department of Labor and matching funds from the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation Innovation Fund. Ohio was one of 15 states to receive funds.

Rio Grande received the grant through the Appalachian Ohio Health Professions Pathways Southeast Alliance. The partnership also includes Jackson County Job and Family Services (JFS), Buckeye Hills Career Center, ABLE, Adena Health System, Holzer Health System, Vinton County JFS, Gallia County JFS and Meigs County JFS.

The Southeast Alliance was awarded the grant for its strategy focusing on healthcare. The strategy leverages career pathways in both patient care and health information technology to create new baccalaureate, associate and certificate programs, develop boot camps for exam preparation, launch a local industry networking chapter, and fill out gaps in existing health pathways.

“The Jackson County Department of Job and Family Services staff are looking forward to collaborating with the University of Rio Grande on this exceptional opportunity within our community,” Director Tammy Osborne-Smith said. “The agency is delighted to invest in a partnership that will support the development of highly skilled occupations for the citizens of Jackson County and the surrounding region.”

Medical coding professionals are in high demand throughout the country, with employment opportunities in healthcare billing, revenue cycle and compliance. Blache said Rio’s goal is to take the summer boot camp program and develop it into a 1-year certificate program.

“Aligning state education and training programs with the needs of business is one of our primary, ongoing goals,” Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Cynthia C. Dungy said. “These regional training programs will combine classroom instruction, on-the-job training, internships and co-ops to bridge the gap between Ohioans looking for work and businesses looking to hire.”