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PHIMA Delegate Report

Marie Gardenier, MBA, RHIA, CHPS 
2017 AHIMA House of Delegates Meeting

The AHIMA 71st House of Delegates (HoD) met on Sunday, October 8th at the JW Marriott  Hotel in sunny Los Angeles, CA. PHIMA was represented by 3 of its 5 elected delegates:
  • Past-President Nathan McWilliams, MPA, RHIA
  • President-Elect, Margie Stackhouse, RHIA, CPC
  • 1st Year Delegate Marie Gardenier, MBA, RHIA, CHPS.
PHIMA Executive Director Linda McLinden, RHIA also sat in attendance.

The crux of the day was spent discussing a series of topics important to the AHIMA membership and the HIM profession. Each delegate addressed two topics on behalf of the membership.  Discussions were lively, with delegates offering a wide range of experiences and perspectives.  Ultimately, a series of conclusions and recommendations were summarized for report back to the AHIMA Board of Directors. Here are some highlights from those discussions:
  • HIM Reimagined (HIMR)
    Market research indicates the need for increased specialization for the RHIT professional and the development and marketing of new skills for members in the areas of informatics and analytics. Delegates discussed specific actions AHIMA can take to support both new students and working professionals position themselves to meet future marketplace needs. Of note, a proposal to revise the RHIT to an RHIT + Specialty credential and the current opportunity for anyone with an RHIT credential plus a bachelors or masters degree (in any discipline) to sit for the RHIA exam. This proviso has been extended until the year 2021.  
  • Consumer Engagement   
    Delegates affirmed HIM’s special role as advocate for the healthcare consumer.  Opportunities to strengthen AHIMA’s outreach to consumers, improve patient portal experiences and fill new roles as consumer engagement specialists were prioritized.  Recent AHIMA offerings such as the Model Patient Request form for release of information, the summer webinar series on the HIPAA Individual’s right of access and student brochures on the importance of managing their health information were acknowledged.
  • Professional Leadership and Development   
    Strategies to build applicant pools and increase recognition of the profession were discussed. Members agreed more work is needed to encourage HIM professionals to aspire to leadership positions. Additional tools and educational offerings to develop leadership skills are also needed. AHIMA’s new Leadership Assembly, modeled on the Assembly on Education, was announced. Members were encouraged to explore AHIMA’s new Career Map showing potential professional pathways in a variety HIM domains, and also to visit AHIMA’s new Volunteer Center on the Engage website to explore volunteer opportunities and expand professional horizons.
  • Business Process Outsourcing   
    Concerns about industry trends in outsourcing traditional HIM operations, such as transcription and coding, with a particular emphasis on offshoring work to foreign countries, were discussed. AHIMA 2017 market research, conducted to try to quantify trends and potential impacts, was reviewed. In general, it was agreed that more data is needed to determine if offshoring presents actionable challenges to work quality or domestic workforce opportunities. In the meantime, AHIMA was encouraged to support the membership with broader industry studies on the quality of coded data and model contracts and best practices for working with outsourcing vendors. 
  • Future of the House of Delegates  
    After discussion, members reaffirmed the ongoing relevancy of the AHIMA House of Delegates and agreed on the importance of efforts to clarify its focus, strengthen its relationship with the AHIMA Board, and improve communication strategies with delegates. Ideas for changing the apportionment of delegates may also be brought forward in the future. 
The day wrapped up with a report from AHIMA’s Executive Board and the Interim Chief Executive Officer, along with an invitation from the Florida delegation to the 2018 AHIMA HOD in Miami.
Special congratulations to Wanetta Edwards, MS, RHIA, FAHIMA elected by the House to Chair the AHIMA  2017-18 Nominating Committee.
On behalf of the entire PHIMA delegation, thank you for the opportunity to serve at this year’s House and to provide this update. For more information on the House of Delegates or this year’s Convention, please visit the AHIMA Engage webpage and AHIMA website. Interested in lending your expertise and opinions to a future AHIMA House? Contact Linda McLinden, PHIMA’s Execute Director, for more information.
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