Patient Health Educators Serve as
Wellness and Chronic Care

Hiring is booming as a result of health reform

By Jen Wieczner | MarketWatch 

“The law [the new mandates] puts pressure on employers to reduce their health spending by making workers healthier. That movement is taking the form of new work site-based wellness programs and classes… indeed, health educators, who teach people about healthy habits and develop programs to promote those behaviors, are on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s (BLS) list of fastest-growing jobs.”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Outlook – Health Educators and Community Health Workers
Percent change in employment, projected 2012-22

Community health workers 25%
Health educators and community health workers 21%
Health educators 19%
Total, all occupations 11%

Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Employment of health educators and community health workers is projected to grow 21 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will be driven by efforts to improve health outcomes and to reduce healthcare costs by teaching people about healthy habits and behaviors and utilization of available health care services. Health educators and community health workers help people understand how what they do affects their health. The need to provide the public with this kind of information is expected to result in an increased demand for health educators and community health workers.

Job Prospects

Employment projections data for health educators and community health workers, 2012-22

Occupational Title

SOC Code

Employment, 2012

Projected Employment, 2022

Change, 2012-22

Employment by Industry



SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program
Health educators and community health workers





Health educators






Community health workers






Workplace Wellness

In addition, Workplace Wellness has hit the ground running and dozens of articles can be viewed on-line discussing how the emphasis on disease prevention and wellness promotion is changing the landscape for corporate Human Resources services. Read Workplace Wellness article.

Health Care Reform mandates

After decades of working with healthcare and medical organization to raise awareness of the need for disease prevention and wellness education, the National Institute of Whole Health continues to lead the field in Whole Health and Wellness Education. Finally, the climate of healthcare is changing. With the upcoming Pay4Performance and health insurance mandates, disease prevention and health information counseling will be mainstreamed into all healthcare services – this means that health education and health information counseling has become more important than ever. The need for credentialed educators has never been greater.

The Affordable Care Act and other mandated programs, ensures health plans available in the individual and small group markets, offer a comprehensive package of items and services, known as essential health benefits.

Section 10408 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act allows Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide grants to businesses with fewer than 100 employees to create comprehensive workplace wellness programs based on evidence-based research and best practices. $200 million will be appropriated for fiscal years 2012 to 2015. Health care reform legislation outlines the following requirements for workplace wellness programs:

  • Health awareness initiatives, including health education and preventive screenings
  • Efforts to maximize employee engagement, including mechanisms to encourage employee participation
  • Initiatives to change unhealthy behaviors and lifestyle choices, including counseling, seminars, online programs and self-help materials
  • Supportive environment efforts, including workplace policies to encourage healthy lifestyles, healthy eating, increased physical activity and improved mental health.

Internet and Health Information

With the advent of Internet communication, patients have become exposed to an enormous amount of health information and can be  confused about what is appropriate for them and their unique health concerns. Today’s health consumers want, and expect, to be a partner in their health care decision making. Providing evidence-based health information that is easily understood and utilized is the challenge facing many health and medical practices today.

NIWH and Health Care Reform

In 2005, the NIWH model became the mandate for “the practice of medicine in all settings”. Now the focus of the current healthcare reforms, it was back in 2005 that both the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and hospitals and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) identified these key guidelines which include:

  • Placing the patients at the center of their health care decision making
  • Treating the patient as a whole person
  • Evidenced-based health education for prevention and disease management
  • Medicaid/Medicare initiatives include patient education, prevention of disease states and “Pay4Performance” reimbursement guidelines for medical practices. “Pay4Performance” reimbursements are based on a physician’s documentation of patient education methods and disease prevention outcomes data

Pay4Performance requires all healthcare and practices to demonstrate and document their patient education procedures to receive optimal insurance reimbursement payment. Electronic medical records and patient health education are rapidly becoming two of the fastest growing areas within the health industry!

NIWH graduates are professionally qualified and uniquely trained to provide evidence-based health education for a broad range of allied health care, medical, integrative and alternative healthcare practices. NIWH has developed and provides to all graduates or their employers, an outstanding health insurance billing manual. This health education billing manual is updated bi-annually by a Boston hospital billing and coding expert, which is written to simplify patient education billing and assist all licensed providers to better serve their patient, comply with Pay4Performance guidelines and enhance their practice income with the utilization of patient educators within their practice.

As a medical provider, you can serve your patients, comply with current and upcoming mandated guidelines and generate the necessary “pay for performance” data relating to patient education and disease management, through the services of a certified health educator. These services are consistently reimbursed when using standard procedure codes designated for patient education.

You will provide greater service to your patients, increasing self-selected compliance which result in improved clinical and quality of life outcomes, and in addition generate additional income for practice overhead. The following is a excerpt from a Family Physicians Journal article, which discusses how simple and beneficial incorporating patient health education into your current billing practice is.

“Most practices already provide a number of billable services [such as patient education] but fail to capture those charges. Reporting [these services] can bring additional, easy revenue to your practice.”

— Quoted from the American Academy of Family Physicians Journal

By using established procedure coding designated for patient education services you can simply and appropriately integrate patient education into your current practice with no additional staff training or expense. This added benefit to your patients and practice is a “drop-in component” to your current billing procedures.

Since 1997, NIWH has provided, free of charge to physician and provider practices, hospital and clinics participating in NIWH Pilot Programs, this outstanding billing and coding manual.  To learn more about the NIWH Physician’s Billing Manual contact Paul Bergeron, MD, Director of NIWH Pilot Programs, NIWH Administrative Office – 888-354-HEAL (4325)

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