California bill a boost for health IT

Expected to help ease demand for technology, analytics professionals
By Bernie Monegain
10:27 AM

As health information managers gathered in San Diego this week for the American Health Information Management Society's annual convention, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that could result in more workers to fulfill the increasing demand for health IT and data analytics professionals.

The bill, signed on Sept. 28, allows up to 15 community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees programs in vocational fields, such as health information technology, a growing field, still expected to create more than 50,000 jobs.

[See also: CIOs see value in mission-driven vets and CHIME sees Rush vet program as model.]

Community colleges in other states grant four-year degrees.  But California community colleges – until now – have offered only two-year associate degrees.
The new program is slated to begin in time for the 2017-2018 academic year and end in 2024. At a cost of about $10,000 for the entire four-year program, it is expected to attract many students, including veterans.

"This is landmark legislation that is a game-changer for California’s higher education system and our workforce preparedness," State Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego, who authored the bill, said in a statement. "SB 850 boosts the focus of our community colleges on job training and increasing the accessibility and affordability of our state’s higher education system."

[See also: AHIMA apprenticeship standards certified .]