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Student Profile - Eric Bediako, M.S. ’12

Eric Bediako came to the U.S. from Ghana, West Africa a little over 10 years ago to further his education after completing his bachelor’s degree in social sciences. He is a student in Worcester State University’s health care administration graduate program.

Eric BediakoWhy did you choose to study health care administration?

I realized that back in Ghana physicians were put in administrative positions to run hospitals and medical centers with little or no formal managerial skills or experience. Not only did this lead to poor decisions, but it also explains the poor state of health care delivery in my country.

What has it been like to study in a new country?

I must say, pursuing my master’s degree in health care administration has not been that easy for me. Coming from a whole different culture and system of education, I had to adjust quickly to my new environment and combine schooling with two jobs just to pay my tuition. I’m glad I’m finally at the finish line and looking forward to graduating this August.

Is the program classroom-based or do you also have to complete a clinical component?

The program requires that I get some field experience outside of the classroom. I just completed my internship at Harrington Memorial Hospital in Southbridge, Mass. Over the last 12 weeks, I have had the opportunity to learn a lot from almost all the various departments in the hospital. I began my time in patient registration. I explored pre-registration of all patients, preparing schedules for next day appointments, and how standing orders are checked to make sure they are not expired. I also spent time in a small department called pre-authorization, whose main duty was to get authorization from insurance companies for procedures like MRI, CAT scans, and some day surgery.

Another very important department I observed was the billing department. Here I learned how the hospital submits claims to various insurance companies and how they correct denials and try to fix them. I also learned about all the various insurance companies that the hospital is contracted with and who the biggest payers were. In the course of observing what they do in the billing department, I was given projects to complete such as sorting through Medicaid claims that were paid, but rejected by Medicaid for over-paying the hospital. I visited other facilities of the hospital in Webster and Charlton. In Charlton, I was able to see the new state-of-the-art Wound Center, which seems to be one of the hospital’s strong revenue-generating services.

I spent the bulk of my time during this internship in the finance department, working under the chief financial officer. I had the opportunity to work on the hospital’s vendor accounts, making sure each vendor the hospital did business with had up-to-date account information. I was introduced to the software used at the hospital, and had the rare opportunity to put it to use by working on the hospital’s budget.

It sounds like your internship helped you put into practice what you learned in the classroom—and more.

Yes it did. This whole experience was very informative and educational. I realized how involved and dynamic the health-care industry is. Additionally, it has given me a fair idea of which direction I’m heading in my career. In addition to the knowledge I have acquired, I have forged professional relationships and contacts within the Harrington system. The entire experience has proven extremely valuable as I set out in the health-care field.

Health Care Administration
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