Blog | Ridley-Lowell Business & Technical Institute

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  • By Debbie Brundage LPN, RMA, CPC, AHI

    Medical billing and coding workers are the health care professionals in charge of processing patient data such as medical records and related insurance information. Medical insurance billers and coders code a patient's diagnosis, physician visits, office procedures, hospital visits, and hospital procedures along with a request for payments from the patient's insurance company.

    What do you need to know to do this?  You must know how to speak medical language and know what the body is made of and how it functions.  These classes are called Anatomy and Physiology and Medical Terminology.  These classes along with learning about insurance and the laws that govern insurance companies are the various components learned in order to work in the various medical billing and coding fields.

    In order to bill and code an operative report, you need to be able to read the report (medical terminology) and know what part of the body they are speaking of (anatomy).  Physiology is how your body works and knowing the function of organs will help you understand what procedures were done and to what extent.  An example of all of this would be the sentence:  “I biopsied a lesion of the ileum that measured 4 x 5 mm” which was sent to Pathology.   A biopsy is removal of a piece of representative tissue from the body.   The ileum is a part of the small intestine.  A lesion is a growth.  Pathology is the department in the hospital where they study disease through gross and microscopic examination (seeing with eyes alone and with the microscope). 

    You would not be able to read and understand a report without knowing the medical language spoken.  Knowing where organs are would help you understand that the above named “ileum” is part of the small intestine.  The physicians assume you know this.  Medical terminology courses will teach you that a lesion is a growth, pathology is the study of disease and a biopsy is removal of tissue for pathological examination. 

    Medical billers and coders can work in physician offices, hospitals, nursing homes, radiology office, laboratories, insurance companies, and ambulance companies to name a few employers.  Understanding the need to pursue the medical portion of being a biller and coder is essential to your studies.  Continuing education is needed in most medical fields and it is true of the Certified Professional Coder, the credentials you receive when you pass your exam through the AAPC. 
    Ridley Lowell offers all courses needed to pursue your CPC.

    Debbie Brundage has been an Instructor for Ridley-Lowell’s Allied Health programs including medical assisting, medical administration, billing and coding and phlebotomy since 2013.  Her medical career includes working as an LPN/MA at Danbury Hospital. For more information contact info@ridley.edu

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  • By Whitney Folan

    As the Admissions Representative, it is always a proud moment when I am able to watch the students I have enrolled accomplish their goals and walk across the stage every graduation. Three years ago, when the Dental Assistant program began at Ridley-Lowell Business and Technical Institute, I was elated to be able to provide a new opportunity for students to learn and get the hands on training they need to start a new career.

    In 2014, we had an 89% job placement rate for the Dental Assistant program, one the best placement rates we’ve had for a new program. Most of our graduates have passed their radiology and infection control certifications, including 2015 graduate Tanaysha Dixon, who proudly acknowledges her education as a key component to her success. “My experience at Ridley-Lowell helped me to become the Dental Assistant I am today because the teachers take their job seriously. If you want to have a career when you graduate, they are going to try their best to help you reach that goal. Everything I know about dental assisting, I learned by attending classes daily and putting in the work!”

    After completing the Dental Assistant classes on campus, students receive training in a real dental office by completing a 300 hour externship. Tanayasha’s extern site was Columbia Dental Group. Four weeks into her externship she was offered a job and has been there ever since. “It’s been 1 year and 3 months in this position. The opportunity they gave me to be part of their team makes me feel lucky. I can say I’m completely satisfied in my office!” Of course, starting out in the office Tanayasha was extremely nervous, but confident that her classes prepared her for her job duties from start to finish.  “For me my favorite class was being in the lab because we were hands on and learning something new. You learn so much in the 6 months you’re in classes and the last 3 months at your externship. It can get tricky, but it’s all worth it.”

    September classes are coming up soon and seating is limited. Tanaysha’s advice to prospective students, is simple; a dental career can be fulfilling and worth working hard for. “I knew becoming a Dental Assistant was going to be a challenge, but to know that your job is to satisfy people's needs and they walk out of your office smiling because you just gave them that boost of confidence by fixing their teeth; there is no greater feeling. The best advice I can give to anyone walking into the dental field is that nothing is easy, but it will all be worth it.”

    Whitney Folan has been an Admissions Representative at the New London Campus since 2012

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  • By Nina Cudney

    Last month, I attended the advisory council meeting for the Electrical Systems Technician program at Ridley-Lowell Business & Technical Institute. These meetings serve as an opportunity for local employers to come in and share feedback about the real world requirements and expectations for the Electrical field. The goal is to make sure that Ridley’s curriculum stays current to both state and industry standards while preparing students for employment upon graduation.  

    As a freelance writer, it was clear that I was not there to talk about Ohm’s Law and circuitry. I was asked to attend and act as the reporter on the inside scoop of what really goes on behind the scenes of this intense program. The word “intense” came to mind the moment I walked into the lecture room and saw a math equation and diagram that took up the entire length of the white board - proof that being an Electrician is not an amateur’s game.

    The round table discussion began with introductions. The combined experience in that room had to be closing in on 100 years! Charlie Noe from Healy Electric IBEW Local 3, Robin Brundage of Brundage Electric, Jordan Ramey of Hantsch Electric (who is also a current student) and Nancy Wildman, a local small business owner, represented the employer side. Philip Adams (Lead Electrical Instructor) and owner of Adams Unlimited Construction is a Master Electrician (E-1). David Coelho is another Electrical Instructor who retired from CT Light and Power (now Eversource) after 40 years and remains in the field by teaching at both Ridley-Lowell and Henry Abbot Technical High School where he has taught since 1976. Finally, David DeSousa, a graduate of Ridley-Lowell, who has returned to assist as an Instructor and now employed in the field at Bertozzi Electric. This was certainly a well-informed group to be discussing the field.

    So, how does Ridley keep up with the ever-changing State regulations? Well, this is no easy feat. Hosting this Advisory council meeting is one way to stay ahead of the game. When State requirements change Philip and David move into action quickly to make sure that all of the updated texts and supplies are ordered and manage to incorporate the content into their program in a fashion that does not throw their students off into the land of confusion. This was confirmed by the four students in the room as well. Jordan Ramey, Brandon O’Donoghue, Josh Cole, and Dwayne Ward are all current students in the Electrical program and came in with varying levels of knowledge and experience in the field. Throughout the conversation, each of the students would contribute with confidence and sincere respect for the profession. I was impressed by the way these students were carrying on conversations with men that had been in the field for many years!  From discussing tools to blueprint reading, I was in awe watching these young men keep up with the dialogue amongst the pros!

    Robin Brundage, of Brundage Electric, compared Ridley’s electrical toolkit to the work bucket he’s been carrying around daily for many years. Mr. Brundage proposed a few suggestions to update the toolkit for Ridley’s students. In agreement, Philip and David updated the toolkit for the students that started in 2016 shortly after the meeting was held. Improvements such as these add to the quality of the program and confirm the great importance of Advisory meetings.

    Although working with electricity is a very serious matter, it was clear that the students enjoy themselves as well. They spend five hours a day together in a rigorous academic setting and get very close to one another. Aside from their required lab hours, they have opportunities to go on real world jobs with their Instructors and get a feel for what it’s like to work with clients and be able to troubleshoot on the job. They even assist the Instructors with inside jobs at the school. One student spoke about his experience trying to figure out why a light was flickering in one of the staff offices. It’s not always as simple as we think it is. These moments not only build confidence but they encourage curiosity and self-directed learning, which is a skill that cannot be taught by a textbook.

    I left the meeting impressed, enlightened and very confident that the graduates that come out of Ridley’s electrical program are some of the most well-equipped in the area, hands down

    Nina Cudney has been freelancing since 2008 and has worked in many areas of writing - from blog posts to grant proposals. In 2010, she came on board at Ridley-Lowell as an Admissions Representative and worked her way up to the Dean of Education. Always putting her heart into everything she does, she is now following her passion and has a full-time career as a Writer and Wellness Coach. 

     

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  • By Joanne Rodriguez

    We have been trying to change the scope of practice of Medical Assistants for the past 4 years with the state legislative bodies, to include the administration of medications. This has been led by the Connecticut Society of Medical Assistants under Policy Chairperson, Holly Martin. Connecticut and New York remain the last two states where this task cannot be performed. Last year several of us testified before the Public Health Committee, and we were advised to compromise by settling for Medical Assistants to administer vaccines.  We were told that the senate would pass the bill if we would take the “baby steps” approach, and then perhaps in a few years revisit the issue of “medications”. In 2015 we followed this advice. The bill, SB 981 passed the senate, but there was not enough time left in the House for it to get heard. Our bill died on the floor as time ran out.  Now, in 2016, the legislative session reconvenes, and we are back…our bill again presented to the senate, we testify before the Public Health Committee, now it is called HB 5129. This year is a short calendar year, and the final gavel rings down this spring. What will the outcome be? We are being very patient.

    In order to get the bills before the Public Health Committee swiftly heard, we hired a lobbyist. The AMT is splitting the cost with the CSMA (the cost must be covered by the state chapters). Nurses and respiratory therapists oppose our agenda. These groups mass email their representatives their opposition. To help our cause, we must do the same.

    Our wonderful staff at Ridley-Lowell has come to the rescue. The medical instructors have all co-operated in getting our students to email their reps to support HB 5129. Every letter counts. They are letting our reps know that they are skilled and prepared to use the training and education that they received. There is no liability or cost to the state of Connecticut.

    Calling all Medical Assistants to band together and write letters today in support of your future! To make this easy, you can find your local representative and sample letters here.

    Medical Assistants receive at least 60 hours of pharmacology training, which is equal to the syllabus of at least 2 LPN programs. The MA passes competencies set by a national board with a minimum score of 85. They pass a national exam for certification (CMA or RMA) which tests to knowledge in pharmacology. Our students are well educated, well trained, and certainly ready to take on this change to the scope of practice.

    Joanne Rodriguez is an Instructor for Ridley-Lowell’s Medical Assisting program and the incoming President of AAMA CT.  She teaches all of the clinical courses, anatomy & physiology, Medical Terminology and CPR/First Aid. Her medical career spans 20 years.  For more information about Ridley-Lowell’s Medical Assisting program, call 1-877-606-5325 or email us at info@ridley.edu.

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  • Screens and Scales - Episode 2: “There’s nothing here…it’s just a suit.”

    Ant-Man was AMAZING! (I promise...no spoilers!) One of my favorite scenes (which was used frequently in commercials) was the “break-in” scene. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) breaks into Hank Pym’s (Michael Douglas) home to steal the Ant-Man suit. So, hypothetically, if Scott Lang had been caught after he stole the suit...what crimes would he be charged with?

    “Larceny,” the wrongful taking of someone else’s property with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of it, would be one of the charges as Scott stole Hank’s suit. “Theft” is the general Model Penal Code crime that combines various common law crimes (including larceny) into one. The definition of theft is the intent of depriving another person of the property that they have taken. So, depending on the laws the state has enacted, Scott would be charged with either larceny or theft.

    Next, the modern definition of “burglary” is knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in a building with the intent to commit a crime therein. Since Scott entered Hank’s home with the intent of committing a larceny, it is very likely he would be charged with this crime as well. A few states use the old common law definition of burglary, which is the breaking and entering of someone else's dwelling at night with the intent to commit a felony therein. Given this more detailed definition, it would depend on whether the state classified the larceny/theft as a felony or misdemeanor crime.  Most states have switched to the modern definition, so we can assume that Scott would be charged with burglary.

    Lastly, “robbery” is the taking of property from either the victim’s person or immediate presence through the use of force or the threatened use of force. A key element is that the item must be taken from the person directly or in his/her presence. In our scenario, Scott breaks into Hank’s home with no one around, so he would not be charged with this crime. 

    Breaking into someone’s home to steal from that person can result in a multitude of charges against the thief. In Scott Lang’s instance, he would be charged with and most likely convicted of both larceny/theft and burglary.  

    *If you have questions about the above as it pertains to your specific circumstances, you should contact an experienced attorney to discuss your case.

     

    Jessica Reynolds is an Instructor for Ridley-Lowell’s Legal Assisting program.  Courses she teaches include litigation, criminal law & procedure, legal research and communication, and family law planning and probate. Her legal career spans more than 12 years in real estate, mortgages, divorce & family law, corporate compliance, case law research, and civil procedures. For more information contact info@ridley.edu

     

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  • Massage Therapy EDU moment by Kelly McCaffrey, LMT

    Have you ever woken up in the morning and felt an area of your body that is tense, stiff or in pain? Your mind and body are saying “you again?” This is one example of chronic pain.

    There are many reasons that cause people to have chronic pain; car accidents, repetitive stress injuries, illness, poor posture habits and more. Many people live day in and day out trying to ignore the nagging tension in their neck or the ache in their low back. Massage can help.

    To understand pain in the body, let’s look at few things. What caused the pain (injury, trauma, illness)? When did the pain begin and how long have you felt it? Does the pain radiate? Or is the pain in a local area? What makes the pain better or worse?

    Now let’s think about how the body functions. The main goal of our body is to maintain a level of homeostasis (or a state of equilibrium of the body). Our body wants to run like a tight ship, engine humming, all the gears are oiled and it’s full steam ahead.

    When our nervous system receives a message of pain, we begin to slow the ship and look to the malfunction. The body will begin to tense its muscles of the surrounding area of pain, guarding and bracing the area in a defense mechanism. At first, pain is a positive warning, something isn’t functioning efficiently and you need to look at why.

    Then comes life…the kids, your career, the house, the laundry, etc. We ignore the warning and before you know it, you can’t turn your neck and you can’t stand up straight. Now your body has gotten your attention.

    So what now? Massage therapy is one of the leading therapies that will help with chronic pain or tension in the body. Massage therapy calms down the nervous system by increasing circulation of blood, decreasing muscles spasms, and helping with circulation of the lymphatic system. Another benefit is increasing the body mind connection, becoming aware of areas of tension and practicing on letting those areas release and let go of stress or tension.

    Therapeutic massage can be in the form of a 90 minute massage session down to a 10 minute chair massage. There are many types of therapeutic massage; Swedish, Deep Tissue, Orthopedic Massage, Acupressure and many more. Finding out the type of massage that works for you and the length of time needed is a discussion to have with a Licensed Massage Therapist. Developing a routine for receiving massage therapy on a regular basis will help keep chronic pain and tension at bay. This way you can keep your body in ship shape and ready for your daily journey in life.

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  • By Lisa McPeak-Francis

    Many have asked me the question, “Why do we have career development courses at Ridley?” In the past, I've answered that question in several different ways. As I was walking through a supermarket recently, it occurred to me that career development courses are taught because packaging matters.

    We live in a consumer-driven society. When we shop, our decisions on what to purchase are driven by the products’ “complete package”.   As I stood in front of honey at the market, I was astounded by the variation in price. One jar was a whopping $58.99 for eight ounces.  Then, to my amazement, a gentleman who was also looking for honey, picked up that pricey jar of liquid gold and placed it in his basket. I sat there wondering how the company got him to buy the honey and the answer was clear – packaging. The jar was a beautiful glass bee shimmering in the light. It had keywords all over it including: no GMO, pure, 100% natural, unrefined, organic, etc.  He may have even heard from a friend that this was the best honey around.  Many elements come into play before we make our final decision on what to purchase. When the right packaging is missing, that wonderful product inside will not be bought.

    The same holds true for all employees heading out to look for jobs. If they do not know how to package themselves appropriately, they will not be able to sell their product. You can have all the skills in the world and be the perfect candidate for the job; if you can't sell your worth to an employer you will not get the opportunity to demonstrate your qualities.

    The focus of our career development courses at Ridley-Lowell is to show the student all the elements for effective marketing of their product – themselves. Students learn to build a resume that highlights their skills and capabilities, keeping in mind the keywords employers are looking for in the position. Potential employees also learn how to get word of mouth advertising for their product; we call this networking.  Students learn how to write a compelling cover letter that will help market their personal qualities and accomplishments even further. And of course, no employee gets a job without their final sale at the interview. We take the time to pull apart standard interview questions and find out what is it the employer is looking for and how to effectively answer a variety of questions.

    Circling back to answer that first question “Why do we have career development courses at Ridley?” The answer should now be clear. We want our highly skilled and trained graduates to be able to sell the skills they possess and become employed!

    Lisa McPeak Francis has been teaching general education classes for over a year. She was an elementary school teacher in Providence and worked for big non-profit organizations for years. For more information about Ridley-Lowell’s programs, call 1-877-606-5325 or email us at info@ridley.edu.

     

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  • Cosmetology EDU moment

    By Jennifer Ballard     

    Let’s talk about kids and haircuts.  Sometimes grooming our children is a tough challenge for hairdressers and parents alike. 

    First you want to take the time to work with a child to get to know their comfort level.  Keep in mind that they may be afraid of the cape that you pin on them, or frightened by the clippers and scissors that you are using.

    Sometimes you may get a parent who wants to help hold the child's head. Explain to the parent that this can be a more traumatic experience for the child and will make it more difficult for you to work. 

    Make this experience as fun as possible:

    1)    Have the parents sit in the waiting room. As hard as it may seem, it is sometimes the best option.  Children tend to be a little bit better when Moms or Dads aren't standing right near them and even out of sight.

    2) Make it quick. You need to be able to move swiftly because they don't sit still for very long.

    3) Tell the child what you are doing, even if they are too young to understand. This can be a learning experience for them as well.

    4) Show them all of the tools that you will be using and show them that they don't hurt.  My favorite is to tell the little kids that my thinning shears are my alligator scissors; after a few visits they’ll start to come in and ask for the alligator scissors!

    5) Keep a small toy nearby.  Giving them something to hold onto helps to keep them occupied. You can ask them to help in the process by giving them the spray water bottle to hold.

    6) If the parent approves, you can also give them a lollipop during the haircut. Yes they get a little sticky...but they sit very still and they concentrate on that lollipop.

    It is really about you taking the time out of your day to make them feel comfortable.  Always remember that your young clients grow up to become the junior prom, homecoming dances and weddings that you take care of.  Your services can become a family experience and there is nothing more gratifying then to be asked to do a child's first haircut!          

    J. Ballard has been working in beauty enhancement for 17 years and teaching cosmetology at Ridley-Lowell’s Beauty school in Binghamton since January 2015. She has worked at mostly higher-end private salons. Her favorite thing to do is to help her clients and students step out of the box, leading them to do something that they never thought they could do before. "Hair is an accessory, it's meant to be played with!"  For more information about Ridley-Lowell’s Cosmetology program, call 1-877-606-5325 or email us at info@ridley.edu.

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  • Legal Assisting EDU Moment

    by Jessica Reynolds

    Without a doubt, my favorite TV show is The Big Bang Theory (TBBT). I love the mix of comic book culture with scientific theories and other “nerdy” genres. The same can be said to describe myself. I enjoy playing MMOs, reading comic books, learning about new scientific discoveries, and…the law. Alright, now I know that last one doesn’t really seem to fit in with the rest. But trust me...“law” can be found in the most inconspicuous places, and can be quite fun, and interesting.

    For example, on TBBT, Sheldon is always referring to the fabled “Roommate Agreement.” Now, individuals living together can enter into a Roommate Agreement (It’s usually not as exhaustive as Sheldon’s), but they can also enter into a “Cohabitation Agreement.” So, why did the brilliant Sheldon Cooper choose a Roommate Agreement instead of a Cohabitation Agreement?

    A Roommate Agreement is a contract between two or more individuals living together regarding the general obligations and responsibilities they have to each other (not including the landlord). Some examples of typical inclusions are: amounts each roommate pays for utilities, responsibilities for overnight guests, and the protocol if a roommate decides to move out. A Roommate Agreement is not required; however, it helps set clear rules and responsibilities for everyone in the household, as well as a means to enforce those rules if and when they are broken.

    A “Cohabitation Agreement” (living-together agreement) is a contract between an unmarried couple to protect their rights as a couple along with clarifying their individual property rights and financial obligations. Some common provisions include childcare, dealing with debt (individual and mutual), ownership of property, and financial support. Although it’s not required, this agreement is very beneficial for unmarried couples who wish to protect their assets and interests in the event of termination of the relationship.

    In summary, a Roommate Agreement is ideal for those individuals in a short-term relationship looking to set clear rules and responsibilities for cohabitating together, while a Cohabitation Agreement is better suited for those in a long-term relationship that want to protect their individual interests as well as their interests as a couple. (Yes, Sheldon chose the best option for his circumstances!)

    *If you have questions about the above as it pertains to your specific circumstances, you should contact an experienced attorney to discuss your case.

    Jessica Reynolds is an Instructor for Ridley-Lowell’s Legal Assisting program.  Courses she teaches include litigation, criminal law & procedure, legal research and communication, and family law planning and probate. Her legal career spans more than 12 years in real estate, mortgages, divorce & family law, corporate compliance, case law research, and civil procedures. For more information about Ridley-Lowell’s Legal Assisting program, call 1-877-606-5325 or email us at info@ridley.edu.

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  • Esthetics EDU Moment

    by Jacqueline Pugliese, LE 

    For over a decade, light-emitting diodes – commonly known by the acronym, LED – have been used to treat skin for a variety of maladies. Until recently, one could only find this LED equipment in spas, esthetics institutions, and in the places of practice for licensed skin care professionals. Most recently, however, LED skin therapy products have begun to be marketed for home use. Coming in hand-held assortments, the LED equipment is becoming more affordable and widespread in its use. In Ridley-Lowell’s esthetic curriculum, students learn about LED in classes such as “Electricity and Machines” and “Intro to Paramedical”.  We discuss different treatments using LED light therapy. 

    Estheticians and other skin care professionals – and now the common consumer – use LED therapy for different skin ailments or for improving overall complexion. They work by releasing flashing light onto the skin to stimulate specific responses. Depending on the color of the light, LEDs treat wrinkles, stimulate collagen, reduce acne, heal and calm irritated skin, reduce redness and inflammation, minimize future breakouts, is good overall for “anti-aging” of the skin, and promotes better absorption of creams and serums.

    Different color lights are used for different results; LEDs are available in red, blue, yellow, or green. The red light is used for increasing collagen in the skin. It helps improve circulation and stimulation in the skin. The blue light is mainly used for reducing acne; it accomplishes this by killing the bacteria that causes acne and prevents future breakouts before the acne even appears on the surface of the skin. The yellow light is used for reducing swelling and inflammation and can be used for treatment after any skin-related procedure or treatment that may make the skin red, like waxing. And finally, the green light is used for reducing pigmentation in hyper-pigmented areas of the skin.

    LED skin therapy can also be incorporated into other procedures and treatments to enhance the efficacy of the product or procedure performed. If the treatment irritates the skin, LED skin therapy lights can be used to calm the skin. LED therapy can also be used to help serums and other topical treatments more effectively penetrate the skin.

    Though they are becoming more popular in home use, LEDs still need to be used with the same caution and care as they would be in any professional setting. LED skin therapy should not be performed on anyone with light sensitivities, phototoxic reactions, epilepsy, cancer, or is taking antibiotics, pregnant, or under a physician’s care.

    It is recommended to see your local skin care therapist before trying any new product for skin analysis and appropriate recommendations. The Ridley-Lowell Esthetic Clinic is open Monday-Friday from 9am - 5pm http://www.ridley.edu/esthetics-clinic

    Ms. Jackie has been teaching at Ridley-Lowell’s Poughkeepsie beauty school for over 2.5 years. 

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