Wednesday, May 17, 2017

AHIMA Advocacy Summit: Part 1

“The meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” This quote by Nelson Henderson, underscores AHIMA’s goal to prepare the Health Information Management (HIM) workforce for the future.

AHIMA’s Advocacy Summit took place in Washington, DC on March 27-28, 2017.  Continuing to Inspire, Innovate and Lead, the HIM Summit participants were provided an AHIMA update, encouraged to think about yourself differently – you are not “Just a…….”, challenged to re-imagine healthcare, and presented with information to prepare for congressional staff visits.  It was a packed agenda with thought provoking presentations by Aneesh Chopra, President, NavHealth who invited a new way of thinking for interoperability of consumer directed exchange (there is interoperability for music, but not in healthcare) and Whitney Bowman-Zatzkin, Managing Director, Flip the Clinic, who uses system thinking design to provide outcomes that matter.  Check out for tools and ideas.

Cora Han, Senior Attorney, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, Federal Trade Commission addressed privacy and security challenges associated with non-HIPAA covered entities and business associates. is a good resource for security business guides, including information for mobile app developers.

Deven McGraw, Deputy Director, Health Information Privacy, office for Civil Rights (OCR) provided information for the Right of Access vs. authorization. (to be covered in more detail in next blog).  The OCR has monthly newsletters you can sign up to receive addressing such items as cyber security.

All the presentations provided meaningful information preparing us to speak to congressional staff regarding the 21st Century Cures Act which included language requiring the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) to evaluate ways in which the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) could improve patient matching methods.  AHIMA’s request to congress in 2017 is to clarify the current prohibition for the use of appropriated funds by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of the 1999 Omnibus appropriations Act, to promulgate or adopt any standard for a unique health identifier until legislation is enacted specifically approving the standard, doesn’t hinder the ability of HHS to assist private-sector led initiatives focused on developing a coordinated strategy to improve patient matching.

Tonya Bates, Krystal Phillips and Sandy Seabold met with their respective legislative aides and spoke with Senator Sherrod Brown in the hallway.

Washington DC was quite the scene, with the Cherry Blossoms blooming, Advocacy representatives from many groups and “activity on the Hill”, as locals say. 

Thank you for the opportunity; we were proud to represent Ohio and the HIM profession!!


About the Author

Sandra Seabold, MBA, RHIA is the Data Integrity Manager, Coding at the Cleveland Clinic and currently serves as the OHIMA 2016-17 Board President.  

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