Name: Jordan Ast
Hometown: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Currently Resides: West Plains, MO
Occupation: Outpatient Coder II at Cox Health
All Degrees Received: Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology, Missouri State University-West Plains; Certified Professional Coder-Apprentice (CPC-A), American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)
Fatherhood provided Jordan Ast with the incentive to enroll at MSU-WP
Jordan Ast went on a long and winding personal journey before he sought a college degree 15 years after his high school graduation. But the Canadian native said he found clear direction for his future after he became a naturalized citizen of the United States and a father.
“I needed the incentive to improve myself as a future leader so I could make a positive impact in any professional organization,” he explained. “The driving factor behind my 15-year education hiatus was my son. I chose to attend Missouri State-West Plains because it was close to home, affordable and offered plenty of opportunities in technology.”
“I credit the professors because they are teaching valuable learning experiences for the real world.”
Even with the right incentive, Jordan’s educational journey wasn’t smooth sailing. “I had plenty of failures during my college journey, but I owe my success to the tutoring labs, especially Amanda Collins. She helped me improve my professional writing capabilities and showed me avenues to pursue professional writing as a second career. So did Leigh Adams, my Writing II: Writing for the Professions instructor,” he explained.
Jordan said the instructors of the Health Information Technology (HIT) program, including Carla Neff and Tresa Ryan, fully prepared him for his career and future in healthcare by teaching him the value of professionalism.
“Ms. Neff lectured on how the rules and regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) tie into healthcare principles, such as the revenue cycle, safeguards and the patients’ overall care. At the other end of the spectrum, Mrs. Ryan helped me pursue my coding credential, organized volunteer opportunities and guided me through my internship with Cox Health in Springfield,” he explained. Ryan, he said, “laid out the roadmap for completing this degree. One of the main requirements for passing this program is going through an internship. It helped me make contacts with potential employers and prepare for future interviews. It was an opportunity to see how knowledge in the classroom applied to real-world scenarios.”
“The greatest and hardest achievement was completing this degree with honors.”
Jordan’s time at MSU-WP totally changed the trajectory of his life, he said. “Missouri State-West Plains established my educational foundation and opened my eyes to the possibilities that one can attain, if the individual has enough dedication and perseverance to succeed. With this mindset, I was able to obtain my Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology in December 2019 and pursue my medical coding credential through a global pandemic while having symptoms of COVID-19,” he said.
That degree and credential, as well as his certification as a professional biller from the AAPC, are Jordan’s greatest achievements at MSU-WP. “I had plenty of challenges throughout my life, such as acquiring my United States citizenship, among others, but nothing compares to this,” he said. “I am decent in technology, so I chose something I was interested in learning – healthcare. Despite many negatives, I learned to see the positives to achieve the impossible.”
“There are no limits to possibilities. The only limit is yourself.”
Calling his experience at MSU-WP “fantastic,” Jordan plans to continue his education by seeking a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Healthcare Management degree. “My goal when I started the HIT program was to succeed and do my absolute best at each challenge. During my time here, I was able to forge lasting connections with instructors while helping my fellow students along the way,” he said. “I now have so many available job opportunities, such as inpatient and outpatient coding, medical billing, patient accounts, durable medical equipment and auditing, to name a few.”
He also stressed age shouldn’t be a factor when pursuing new opportunities such as a college degree. “Being older should not be a deterrent to future students, but a chance to share wisdom among peers while achieving a higher education,” he added. “Education is the key to opening potential opportunities to expand one’s horizons, which can never be taken away. Believe in yourself, have a support system – family, friends, authority figures – and ask questions. Just remember, your instructors want you to succeed just as much as you do!”