Meet WHIMA Member Cheryl Evans, MHRM, RHIA, CCA
Tell us a little bit about yourself, including your credentials, position, employer, and activities in the field.
I am privileged to work as a HIT and Medical Coding instructor at WCTC in Pewaukee, WI.As the wife of a retired Air force member, I have learned to adapt quickly to change; our field is all about change.I have lived in multiple states and held many different HIM hats over the past 30 years.While my undergraduate degree is a B.S in Business Administration, my career moved early on in a direction of healthcare administration.Sadly, I did not hear of AHIMA until my family made a move to Wisconsin.Once I learned of WHIMA and AHIMA, I began to see the true meaning of my work and understood the importance credentialing would take on in feeding my desire to know more about the deeper layers of our field.In 2010, I went back to school to complete an Associates in HIT and finished my masters in Human Resources simultaneously to diversify my skills and abilities.After graduating from both new degrees, I studied for and passed the CCA and RHIT, only wishing I had pushed myself to take the CCS as the rigor of my associate program had prepared me for this.My advice from this experience...be bold and go big!I have since earned an RHIA and will be sitting for further upgrades in credentialing soon.So many possibilities and so much room to grow!How can you go wrong?
How long have you been in the profession?
I began my career in HIM working as a temporary secretary for a health insurance company in Las Vegas, NV shortly after graduation from Winona State in Minnesota.I transitioned into a technical support specialist opportunity, working for a medical software vendor and fell in love with the possibilities and excitement of transitioning medical offices from paper records to the EHR (I even helped a few offices transition from a peg board system). A new duty assignment for my husband, three years later, brought a move to the sunny state of Florida where I served as a transcriptionist and biller for a chiropractic office.I then got an opportunity to work as the office manager for a pediatric therapy clinic for special needs children.It is there that I was challenged to cover all aspects of HIM duties from performing coding duties to billing, preauthorizations, ROI’s, claims disputes and was indoctrinated into HIPAA compliance (a terrifying new piece of legislation at that time).Eight years later and several stripes added to my husband’s sleeve brought a move to Texas.There I taught basic medical office management practices and the dreaded speech communications course.After Air Force retirement we moved to Wisconsin and I began a new and deeper dive into HIM with upgrades in my degrees and finally credentialing to back years of what I had always done on the job.For the first time, my credentials matched my career focus and my career exploded.I worked as the HIM manager at a skilled nursing facility, transitioned to the HIM director position at an inpatient rehab hospital and then landed my dream job, teaching the profession I had become passionate about…HIM!
Every year, what do you look forward to with your WHIMA membership?
The opportunity to put a face with a name and truly learn from those in our field is priceless and offered through multiple opportunities, my favorite of which is the annual conference. I anticipate opportunity to see smiling faces and learn from the best-of-the-best! I am astonished when I enter the large auditorium filled with both familiar faces and new. Oh …and to hear the stories of issues conquered…that’s when I really get excited!
How has WHIMA-AHIMA helped advance your career?
Prior to AHIMA credentialing, I walked and worked alone in the profession. Exposure to a network of answers and support was non-existent for me. Now I have partners throughout the WHIMA family, who choose to acknowledge my skills and build my tool kit for challenges that lie ahead. To boot, I am in my dream job!
What benefits have you reaped from volunteering for WHIMA?
Students are the future of our profession; as a student club advisor, I have the honor of mentoring students by introducing them to our ever expanding field as well as those who currently lead the charge and I have the privilege to create excitement about what our the future of WHIMA holds.
Three words that describe what WHIMA means to you?
Challenge, Change, Capable
Our state association challenges us to be cutting edge in our profession, puts us in a position to change our facilities/organizations for the better and provides opportunity to be capable of leading many to best patient practices.