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‘STC helped me put my life together’: Alumnus Receives Prestigious Healthcare Certification

HIT Alum from South Texas College receives prestigious RHIA certification in health information management

Rosie Mendiola Balderas says she has always taken the road less traveled. By not only pursuing a healthcare career, but receiving an information technology degree and a Bachelor’s degree in Medical Health Services Management (MHSM) from South Texas College, she has been able to combine both passions into a career lasting nearly 30 years.

Beginning modestly as an executive secretary before diving feet first into IT, Rosie is now the Market Director for South Texas Health Systems’ central region. Through her position as Market Director, she oversees the McAllen and Edinburg region as well as Laredo and Eagle Pass.

“I grew up in this career field and then kind of moved my way up the ladder,” she said. “I started as an executive secretary and then worked my way up into the department of technology, where I was the director for many years. I was then given the opportunity to oversee health information management.”

Balderas has a degree in Health Information Technology (HIT) from STC, and recently obtained her Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) credentials from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) in November.

The RHIA license focuses on preparing members for careers in health information and medical records management. The certification also includes management of the systems that capture and report on health care-related data, which can be used to evaluate care performance.

A RHIA certification is often a requisite for numerous positions including Health Information Management Director, Clinical Documentation Improvement Professional (CDIP), and Registered Health Information Administrator.

“This deals with medical records,” Rosie said. “The credential is to obtain your registered health information administrator certification. Normally it requires that you have a Bachelor’s degree specifically from that field,” Rosa said. “It’s to be able to work in the industry of information, healthcare data management, as well as the management of EMRs and coding. It opens up a lot of opportunities.”

Originally from Mission, Rosie says she has been working at South Texas Health Systems since 1989. Earning her degrees at STC slowly over the course of many years while working and raising a family, Rosa was able to earn three different degrees from the college including an Associate in Networking Specialist, Associate in Health Information Technology and Bachelor’s degree in Medical Health Services Management (MHSM).

Through hard work, Rosie says she has successfully combined a career in healthcare with her love of technology. Balderas said she witnessed first- hand, the development of technology in healthcare over the course of her nearly three decades working at STHS.

During that time, Rosie says she has seen STHS facilities grow from a paper-based system to electronic and Internet-based applications. She has also seen numerous hospital conversions to an electronic format, and was a key figure in establishing Laredo’s IT Department.

“It has been an amazing experience because when I was starting we had typewriters. I helped transition to computers. I remember we really didn’t have a technology department, so when we were getting ready back in the early 1990s to convert to an EMR, I took the opportunity to be a part of that department,” she said. “At the same time, I began networking courses at STC so whatever I was learning at work helped me to put it together. With no background in technology, I was given that opportunity to learn a whole new field and watch our facilities grow from a paper-based system to electronic and Internet-based applications.”