Healthcare News & Insights

You can teach an old dog new tricks!

Working in the hospital industry, you know how important it is for the elderly to stay mentally and physically active. Here is one gentleman who is doing just that.

At 88 years old, Howard Hurwitz is graduating with a degree in medical coding and billing, and will be looking for a job so he can put his education to use. After all, he plans to live to 100, so what else is he going to do for the next 12 years? Hurwitz remarked to a reporter from the Sun Sentinel.

Hurwitz, of Lauderhill, FL, will graduate from the Atlantic Technical Center in Coconut Creek. His teacher, JoAnn Smith, said that Hurwitz was a strong presence in the classroom, because he liked to share his many years of acquired knowledge with his classmates.

And acquired knowledge he has, from serving in the Army in World War II Europe, to working for a manufacturing company in New York, to his most recent job of running an Internet business selling janitorial supplies.

Hurwitz, a native of the Bronx, tired though of selling janitorial supplies and decided to reinvent himself — something  he says younger generations have to learn to do because they’ll have to do it throughout their lifetimes.

While pondering what to reinvent himself as, Hurwitz heard the medical field offered a lot of good opportunities. So he decided to learn medical office work, billing and coding. And that’s just what he did in 10 months time.

Being responsible for supporting himself is also what drives Hurwitz, because he doesn’t want to rely on his children.

Currently, Hurwitz is working as an intern while he’s seeking certification in his new field.

But going back to school at the age of 88 wasn’t easy, especially when he needed to get a copy of his transcripts from the Jersey City high school where he graduated in 1942.

Technology, however, wasn’t a big challenge for him at all. While his teacher sat him between two computer-savvy students, Hurwitz held his own and was quite capable. In fact, many of his fellow students tried to keep up with him.

Maybe if more elderly people were like Hurwitz, hospital beds wouldn’t be in such demand.


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