Tuesday, June 25, 2019

In My Rearview Mirror

I am truly fortunate and not because of money, position, or title.  No, I am fortunate because I was able to live in moments of meaning that mattered to the Health Information Management (HIM) profession.  My year as President on the Board of Directors of the Ohio Heath Information Management Association (OHIMA) has been a time of serving the HIM membership in Ohio and advocating for patients throughout the United States.  The entire 2018-2019 year has been a string of moments of meaning for our profession.  It amazes me to look in my rearview and see myself in those moments.  It has been an honor for me to serve the profession I’m passionate about and you, the HIM professionals in Ohio who make our work so meaningful.

I only want to highlight some of the moments of meaning in my rearview mirror:

·         I began my year as President by participating in the 2018 American Health Information Management Association’s (AHIMA) Leadership Conference.  Component State Associations (CSAs) send first-time Board members from each state to listen, learn, and participate in general session and breakout session activities designed to communicate the AHIMA mission and strategies.  CSA participants then go back to their state associations and align their Board strategies with those of AHIMA.  It is important for all HIM professionals to be on one accord throughout the United States.  What a wave of service we create!  The 2018 Leadership Conference was even more meaningful because participants heard from our new AHIMA Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Wylecia Wiggs Harris.  It was thrilling to hear her plan to move AHIMA forward in a direction of usefulness and purpose.  She encouraged us all to participate in strengthening our desire and resolve to work with her to keep the HIM profession relevant, useful, and prosperous.

·         In September 2018, I attended my first AHIMA Annual Convention and Exhibit.  Our national convention begins with the convening of our House of Delegates (HoD) Meeting.  The HoD includes Executive Board members and elected Delegates from each state and tasks them with addressing HIM industry issues while using the parliamentary governing process of making decisions for AHIMA. The following day, the opening ceremony for the Convention was held at the newly completed Miami Beach Convention Center in Florida.  AHIMA was the first organization to hold an event there!  Many were moved many to tears when the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Eagle Regiment Marching Band as they performed the music for the opening ceremony.  The remainder of the Convention was filled with nationally known keynote speakers as well as leading HIM professionals facilitating the breakout sessions.

·         During the year, Board members were hard at work on a project that would have a positive impact on the people who live in Ohio and across Ohio’s healthcare industry.  The project was led by Kristin Nelson, your President-elect, and our OHIMA Executive Director, Lauren Manson.  With collaboration and brainstorming sessions during all board meetings, the “What is HIM?” video was created!  It debuted on Monday, March 18, 2019, the first day of the 2019 OHIMA Annual Meeting!  The OHIMA Board received so much positive feedback which prompted us to submit the video for the AHIMA Triumph Award in Innovation!

·         The week after the conclusion of the 2019 OHIMA Annual Meeting, I flew to Washington, D.C. for the 2019 AHIMA Advocacy Summit.  Nearly 200 CSA members were in attendance to advocate for HIM issues on Capitol Hill.  We met with our Congressmen/Congresswomen and Senators bring awareness to and advocate change in legislation.  Our “asks” were to align HIPAA Right of Access with the ONC Health IT Certification Functionality; to extend the HIPAA Individual Right of Access to Non-Covered Entities; to encourage Note Sharing with patients in real time; and to remove language in the 1999 Omnibus that prohibits the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from collaborating with HIM industry leaders to develop a unique health identifier (UHI) for a national Patient Matching system.  AHIMA does a phenomenal job coordinating appointments with each congressional office.  It was an incredible experience to see so many HIM professionals representing AHIMA converging over Capitol Hill in its entirety with a unified goal in their hearts.  Our voices were heard because on June 12, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives considered a bipartisan amendment offered by Representative Bill Foster (IL) and Representative Mike Kelly (PA) to HR 2740, the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2020 which seeks to strike language in the Labor-HHS Appropriations bill that prohibits the US Department of Health and Human Services from spending any federal dollars to promulgate or adopt a national patient identifier.” (AHIMA Policy and Government Relations Team; Email, June 11, 2019) 

·         April 26, 2019 marked the 2019 Educator’s Day event in Columbus, OH.  As a first time attendee, I was fortunate to be with the top HIM educators in Ohio.  The presentation by the Commission on Certification for Health Informatics and Information Management (CCHIIM) clarified the near-future changes coming to the certification and recertification standards and procedures of Health Informatics and Information Management (HIIM) programs throughout the United States.  Watching and listening at this event strengthened my respect and admiration for those who are dedicated to teaching, instructing, and mentoring the HIIM professionals of the future.

During this year of serving you, the gifted and talented members of OHIMA, I have experienced so many emotions; inspired, excited, grateful, and passionate are just a few.  Mostly, I am thankful to each of you for allowing me to represent you during the moments of meaning this year.  Take good care of yourselves and each other.  Thank you!

Krystal Phillips
2018-2019 OHIMA Board President

About the Author

Krystal Phillips, RHIA, CHTS-IS is a HIM coder at OSU Veterinary Medical Center and an adjunct professor at Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio.  Krystal currently serves on the OHIMA 2018-19 Board as President and Delegate. 

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