Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Advocacy - It's in You!!

Did you know you are already an advocate?  Yes, you are.  Before I can convince you, let’s define advocacy.  "Advocacy" simply means an action taken by concerned citizens to demonstrate support for an issue. 

You as a member of both OHIMA and AHIMA advocate for our profession all the time.  Telling people about your profession and what it entails, is part of advocacy.  How many times do you have to remind someone of your role and its importance?

There are other ways that you also advocate.  I’ll briefly give you four...

First and foremost as a citizen of the United States, your most powerful advocacy tool is your vote.  Exercising your vote in presidential, congressional state and local level elections is your first step as an advocate.

Next, you advocate for the profession when you participate in petition campaigns for AHIMA. When you get the emails to reach out to your congressional leader to bring their attention to an issue that impacts our profession- that’s advocacy.

Another way you advocate is by voicing your opinion and engaging in social media.  At a bare minimum, liking a post and sharing a post that advances and/or addresses an issue for the HIM profession is advocacy.

Finally, you can take your advocacy to another level by participating in OHIMA’s Hill Day. OHIMA’s Hill Day is a biennial event that places state leader and/or members of their staff with you, their constituents. The event offers you a face-to-face opportunity to advocate for our profession just by having a conversation.  Probably that same conversation you have had with others about your role as an HIM professional.  These meetings allow you to represent the HIM profession and our professional interests by:  

  • Ensuring that we are part of the decision making process,
  • Building name recognition for OHIMA and HIM professionals, and lastly
  • Making valuable legislative and agency contacts.

This past year, our Hill Day was held on November 20th at the Ohio Statehouse.  We had over 80 participants.  We provided 3 asks and talking points related to data collection of social determinants of health, consideration of HIM professionals expertise and advice on initiatives related to health information and financial support of current Health Information Management and Technology college programs.  We also had keynote speakers discuss health plans and HIPAA and patient-centered outcomes research institute (P-CORI). We also had a panel of advocacy professionals who gave us a glimpse into their world as advocates and tips on how to advocate.

So remember you are already and advocate.  I am certain that you have participated in at least one or more of the above that proves that advocacy is in you.

About the Author

Clarice Warner, RHIA, CCS-P, CPC, CHC is the Corporate Director of Corporate Responsibility for the Mercy Health Corporate Office in Cincinnati, Ohio.  She is also the Founder and Education Director for the Professional Reimbursement Network.  Clarice serves as a 1st-year Director and Delegate on the OHIMA FY 2018-19 Board of Directors, overseeing the Public Good strategy and Advocacy Committee.   

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