Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Value of HIM in Long Term Care/Post-Acute Care

by Anissa McBreen, RHIT

As I opened the door and walked into the office, or probably most appropriate the hole in the wall, my eyes darted and scanned the enormous amounts of loose papers, charts stacked to the ceiling, and cabinets filled to the brim with what at that moment I could not make out. Did I just find the black hole? Or better yet, did I just walk right into the Bermuda Triangle? What in the world had I signed up for? What new role did I just take on that I had no clue what I was doing? What exactly was this thing called Medical Records? Was this the path I was designed to walk on? Was this what I had in mind when I signed up for the Associates program? And, what did it mean to work in a skilled nursing facility? So many questions but so little answers at that time. Slowly but surely the fear and anxiety overwhelmed me.

This true scenario was 27 years ago to the month! Since that day, I have graduated with an Associates, working on my Bachelor’s, own and still operate my own consulting business and partnered with another HIM professional providing consultation, workshops and policy and procedure manuals to over 75 skilled nursing facilities throughout Ohio. I have written articles on the value of HIM and I have sat on several committees to not only bring value but encourage and mentor. I also teach in the RHIT program as an Adjunct and just recently partnered with the Ohio Health Care Association to provide workshops.

So, why do I tell you all of this? Is it for you to see just how great I am? How far I have come since that day 27 years ago or make you think I have it all together in this field? Not at all! I share my story because I am proud of not only the field I work in, the resources I provide to other HIM, the friendships I have made, the accomplishments I have, but I do this because I want my fellow peers that work in Long Term Care to know they have a voice, they are valued, and they must come to the table to show the difference they can make!

Those of us working in LTC know that we are few and far between. We have credentialed and non-credentialed professionals in this non-traditional setting. Some work with peers who in our workplaces know exactly what value we bring and what HIM stands for and we have those that have no clue and quite honestly do not want to know. Because of the perceptions of us just being a ‘file clerk” and because the role is changing from day-to-day and because of not only the rules and regulations, but this is the time that you must come to the table. Now is the time for you to take the fear and anxiety I felt 27 years ago and move forward! If I can do it, so can you.

I have talked with several of you that work in this non-traditional setting and I have heard your barriers, gaps, and lack of resources. I have mentored and given out lots of recommendations and advice. And, I have been on my soap-box more times than I can remember. Whether you are credentialed or not, I want you to sit at the table with me and bring your passion and expertise. I want you to feel your worth and value and be able to come up with solutions and recommendations to share with your organization. Okay, I can see the eye rolling and I can hear you say, “Anissa that’s great but I have done this before, and no one cares”. Well, then do it again! And again, and again and again. And don’t stop until your voice is heard. The future for us is incredible. Now more than ever we must show our value to our organization. Whether you schedule a meeting with your Administrator or ask to be a part of the QAPI committee, you cannot be silent. I feel so strongly about this that I will be speaking at OHIMA on this subject with my good friend, Tosha Roberts. We have put together a great presentation to get you started on the conversation with your organization and the tools, resources and tips to be successful. I feel so confident and so passionate in the area that I am working on some workshops and networking to help you succeed in this non-traditional role.
While you might not have had the experience, I had 27 years ago or maybe you currently do sit at the table, your job is not done! We must continue to show our worth and value and what we can do as a HIM professional to show the organization that we can make a difference!

I hope to see you at the OHIMA 2019 Annual Meeting. Now, go to the table. I see an empty seat just for you!

Anissa McBreen has been providing consulting services and educational workshops to Long Term Care/Post-Acute organizations for over 27 years. Under her leadership, HIM departments have developed and maintained compliance with state and federal regulations. She has also developed HIM programs for HIPAA and QAPI and provided policy and procedure manuals. She is an RHIT working towards her RHIA. Anissa is a highly driven professional and has a passion to educate those working in non-traditional settings to be successful HIM professionals. She can be reached at for questions, networking information or just table conversation between HIM professionals.

No comments: