This web-exclusive Journal column highlights public policy initiatives at the federal- and state-level that impact the HIM profession, including news on AHIMA’s national and affiliated state advocacy initiatives, Congressional updates, news from federal regulatory agencies, public policy updates from state legislatures, and AHIMA’s public policy initiatives with other organizations.
By Lesley Kadlec, MA, RHIA, CHDA
The health information management (HIM) profession has long been recognized for its expertise and leadership in medical coding, medical record standards, documentation integrity, and privacy-related matters in healthcare. As such, HIM professionals often serve as a bridge between the clinical, financial, technological, and administrative fields in healthcare.1
But when it comes to advocacy, many are surprised to learn that HIM has a vital role to play as well. And if you’re reading this and wondering—“Can I really make a difference when it comes to healthcare public policy?”—the answer is yes! All HIM professionals, regardless of their age or number of years in their HIM position, can make an impact and get involved in advocating for the important role that HIM professionals play in today’s healthcare ecosystem. HIM professionals are often terrific advocates for HIM operational excellence, and many are more than willing to provide case studies and examples of best practices to share with their HIM counterparts. But as the landscape of the healthcare system rapidly and significantly changes, so too has the need to expand HIM advocacy efforts and visibility at both the state and national level. With the introduction of numerous regulations and a spotlight glowing every more brightly on healthcare, the HIM profession is being called upon with increasing frequency to advocate for their expanding role in health record management.
Given the critical role that HIM professionals play in healthcare, and to help you prepare for your role as an HIM advocate, AHIMA is expanding its focus on advocating for public policy that strengthens the HIM profession and its importance to the healthcare industry.
As a part of this expanded national advocacy strategy, on March 25-26, 2019, over 200 AHIMA members, staff, and component state association (CSA) designees, will bring their expertise to our nation’s Capitol as part of the 2019 AHIMA Advocacy Summit. Kicking off on the morning of March 25th, the event includes educational sessions for attendees as they learn the ins and outs of fulfilling the role of HIM advocate and culminates with attendees completing scheduled visits with their US Senators and US Representatives. The summit is a great opportunity for attendees to advocate for HIM’s interests, build recognition for AHIMA and the HIM profession, and make important legislative contacts.
AHIMA’s Government Relations team is offering a complimentary webinar this year on March 21 from 12:00pm – 1:00pm CST, “Preparing for AHIMA’s Virtual Hill Day,” as an opportunity for members unable to attend in person who want to learn more about getting involved in AHIMA’s advocacy initiatives. Virtual Hill Day webinar participants will hear how they can be a positive voice for the HIM profession. The webinar will explore the 2019 federal public policy issues AHIMA will focus on with Congress. Attendees will also learn how to contact their elected officials by phone, email, or social media with a comprehensive walk-through of AHIMA’s Advocacy Action Center.
An active, engaged HIM community will unquestionably result in having a greater impact on public policy and decision makers, ensure that healthcare remains resilient in the individual communities we serve, and provide a more vibrant HIM profession in the future. These efforts in turn will help AHIMA’s vision can become a reality as recognition of the value of HIM professionals grows among our state and nation’s policymakers and leaders, enabling them to better understand our needs and recognize the importance of our work to the healthcare industry. By participating in the Virtual Hill Day, you, too, can be a part of this important work. Ready to get started? Click here to sign up to learn more about your role in advocacy for HIM and healthcare.
- American Health Information Management Association. HIM Reimagined. White paper. 2017. http://www.ahima.org/about/him-reimagined/himr?tabid=whitepaper.