Monday, October 11, 2021

Advocacy and the Delegate Role

by Kristin Nelson, MS, RHIA

AHIMA held its 75th House of Delegates (HoD) meeting virtually on Sunday, September 19th. During this all day event, Delegates listened to a presentation about Advocacy and the vital role Delegates have surrounding this topic.  Some key takeaways are as follows:

Why Does Advocacy Matter to AHIMA?

  • It serves to meet AHIMA’s mission, vision and purpose
  • Strengthens communities
  • Assists policymakers who need input within the healthcare arena

·        Why Should HIM Professionals Engage in Advocacy?

  • Opportunity to use expertise and experience to help solve large issues
  • Support professional development and empowerment
  • Position HIM professionals as the leading voices in health information
  • Ensures a seat at the table when issues in health information arise

Six Ways HIM Professionals Can Get Involved in Advocacy and Public Policy

  • Read: Stay up to date on current policy issues in healthcare by signing up for AHIMA’s advocacy alerts and following the Advocacy and Policy community on ACCESS.
  • Write: Contact members of congress about issues that matter to the HIM profession
  • Share: Talk with friends and family and share things on social media
  • Learn: Attend AHIMA’s advocacy and public policy webinars
  • Volunteer: Considering volunteering for AHIMA’s Advocacy and Policy Council or running for a Delegate position with OHIMA.
  • Speak: Meet with members of Congress and speak about critical issues within your organization

After the presentation concluded, Delegates had rich discussion around advocacy at the state level. Most agreed that we need additional focus in this area with specific language about writing your state legislature, not just Congress. A lot happens on the state level that impacts our industry, and it is important to keep local advocacy in front of HoD and members.

In addition, Delegate advocacy extends beyond policy, and includes marketing of the profession and future skillset requirements, and promoting the idea of partnering and building relationships with other organizations such as: HIMSS, HFMA, and OHA.  Finally, Delegates cannot forget to advocate for our HIM students.  Voicing the importance and mutual value of hiring students for internships or being a preceptor for practicums is a must.  In what ways will you step out and advocate for Health Information?

About the Author 

Kristin Nelson, MS, RHIA is the current Past President and Director of Awards & Scholarships on the OHIMA FY 2021-22 Board of Directors. Kristin is a Clinical Instructor at The Ohio State University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences HIMS Division.