Award Winners Excel in Government Advocacy, Influence

The Tennessee, Florida, and Pennsylvania Health Information Management Associations took center stage at this year’s House of Delegates meeting as the top three finishers for this year’s AHIMA 2013 Core Service Achievement Award for Advocacy and Influence.  A representative from each CSA participated in an advocacy panel during the House of Delegates to discuss their specific project.


First Place: Tennessee Health Information Management Association (THIMA)

Tony Taylor, RHIA, CHP, THIMA president, represented THIMA to discuss the state association’s project, “Fostering a Collaborative Relationship.”  THIMA’s entry is based upon their ability to collaborate closely with the Tennessee Medical Association (TMA) over a long-term basis that culminated with a joint ICD-10 training initiative in Tennessee. Each organization put their personal and association goals aside and focused on the needs of members.  TMA’s trust in THIMA also enabled them to take a position on ICD-10 contrary to that of their national association, the American Medical Association.


First Runner-up: Florida Health Information Management Association (FHIMA)

Alice Noblin, PhD, RHIA, CCS, FHIMA president, represented the state association to discuss their entry, “FHIMA Strike Force: Using Networks of Volunteers to Educate about HIM and Advocate for the Profession.” FHIMA’s effort was a classic example of local advocacy at work. Regional Florida associations utilized the FHIMA advocacy tool kit to:

  • Train their members on making legislative visits
  • Used the Florida  Northwest Health Information Management Association (NWHIMA) and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) to have a one day visit to their state Capitol Hill in Tallahassee, Florida
  • Visited nine state/local healthcare legislators
  • Created an online reporting tool for post-visit reports to ensure consistency and allow for follow-up


FHIMA’s effort included the participation of 60 FHIMA volunteers, 1,491 hours of volunteer time, and came in well under budget—a total of $2,845 spent on AHIMA and FHIMA Hill Days. The totality of their effort enabled FHIMA to meet with 45 state and federally elected officials.


Second Runner-up: Pennsylvania Health Information Management Association (PHIMA)

Theresa Jones, MHA, RHIA, discussed PHIMA’s entry, “A Lasting Legacy of Advocacy and Influence.”  PHIMA was recognized for their work on advancing healthcare policy and legislation in Pennsylvania and the United States by visiting state and local members of congress to advocate for HIM issues. The association’s goal was to make contact with representatives of congress so that they will be familiar with PHIMA and consider its needs when making legislative decisions.

The state association also promoted AHIMA’s Advocacy Agenda. PHIMA’s education efforts became a solid component of PHIMA’s Advocacy program. The State Advocacy Coordinator conducted regional level advocacy presentations to educate members, and the PHIMA Leadership Conference dedicated a segment to advocacy with keynote speaker Margarita Valdez, director of congressional relations at AHIMA, who completed an in-service on advocacy.

PHIMA made a strategic effort to establish an advocacy legacy by including students in its advocacy efforts. In order to establish a legacy, PHIMA felt it must include those members who are new to the profession. To help with this effort, PHIMA is working to build a committee structure of charged individuals who are passionate about the American government and want to have their voice be heard.

The Core Service Achievement Award for Advocacy and Influence is given annually and is selected by AHIMA’s State Advocacy Council.

Following the award panel, the House of Delegates completed an interactive advocacy exercise that included seven advocacy questions focused on future HIM advocacy issues and various strategies for addressing them at the state level.


Follow the news and get insights from AHIMA’s 85th annual Convention and Exhibit being held October 26-30 in Atlanta, GA. For a complete list of event coverage on the Journal of AHIMA website, click here.


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