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Footprints Newsletter
Fall 2016

Inside This Issue:

President’s Message

Hello NCHIMA members! The 2016-2017 is underway and the Executive Board and Governance Team have begun their work to ensure we are meeting the needs of North Carolina for this year and for the future. As a part of this, the Delegates of the Governance Team participated in the yearly Leadership Symposium. Within this issue, you will hear more about that experience from Pamela Lail, President-Elect, Tammy Downum, Legal/Advocacy Delegate, and Kris McCall, Strategic Planning Delegate.

As discussed in the last Footprints, Strategic Planning is a very important part of how we meet the needs of the industry now and in the future. This was also a continued discussion at Leadership as we strive to be ready for changes within our profession. Ann Chenowith, AHIMA President-Elect, laid out the future strategy of AHIMA to the group and encouraged us to “Inspire Big Thinking to Launch Our Future.” For the past two years, NCHIMA has been working diligently to ensure we have a map for the future and that plan works in concert with the AHIMA initiatives to ensure industry success.  As you will see as further laid out from our Delegates within this issue, AHIMA has four strategic objectives to focus our energies around for 2017 and beyond. The chart below provides insight into how the Executive Board and Governance Team has planned activities to ensure we are providing the tools you need to prepare you for industry changes. Please visit the NCHIMA calendar to obtain the latest information on workshops, webinars, and onsite meetings. Also please remember to update your contact information at myAHIMA to ensure you receive emails on educational activities, Footprints, job postings, as well as other important AHIMA and NCHIMA updates.

A key message that I took from Leadership Symposium as presented by Mary Byers, was the need to realign your focus from time to time by asking yourself key questions and acting on those answers. These questions can possibly not only help you accomplish some tasks or a task more efficiently but can also help you refocus your energy and effort with so much coming at us these days. This is only a brief part of her presentation but is a good starting point to get us realigned and thinking differently about our day to day. They are:
  1. What problem do you have that you can fix now?
  2. What are your obstacles to the problem?
  3. Fix it…Act on what you know.
This is much like the SBAR technique I have mentioned previously but a different approach to issues we may have and how to solve them. This certainly sounds simple enough right? Well the answer is there will be problems that take more time and more effort but sometimes handling the simple things can free us up to better handle the more complex issues. Take a closer look and see how you can realign.

As I close, remember to look for updates on the new ICD-10 codes and Official Coding Guidelines from NCHIMA (many changes you need to be aware of), data analytics, and IG education, Legal Portal updates, and ways you can participate as a volunteer, contributor or participant.

“ NCHIMA focused on your future…”

Sharon Easterling, MHA, RHIA, CCS, CDIP, FAHIMA
NCHIMA President

Congratulations NCHIMA CSA Strategic Initiative Achievements for 2016

Congratulations are in order for Valerie Dobson, Past-President and the 2015-2016 Executive Board.  Each year we all put forth our best efforts for our NC Membership. AHIMA has recognized our CSA for efforts in Innovation as we have greatly improved Board communication and reporting with technology and dashboards, streamlined financial reporting and increased reserves and streamlined travel and financial reporting for Board travel.

CSA Strategic Initiative Achievements for 2016
The annual Component State Association (CSA) Strategic Initiative Achievements recognize CSAs' projects, from apps to awareness campaigns, advancing AHIMA's strategic initiatives in their states — Informatics, Information Governance, Innovation, Leadership, and Public Good. The 2016 recipients will be recognized at the House of Delegates annual meeting on October 16 in Baltimore, MD, during AHIMA's Convention and Exhibit.

The annual Achievements aim to spread successful ideas among the states; later this year, state leaders will be able to attend a webinar outlining the details of the winning programs.
Large-size CSA*: Florida
Medium-size CSA**: Oklahoma

Information Governance
Large-size: CSA Wisconsin
Medium-size CSA: Oklahoma
Large-size CSA: North Carolina

Large-size CSA: Florida
Medium-size CSAs: (Tie) Oklahoma and Kansas
Public Good
Large-size CSA: Florida
Medium-size CSA: Louisiana
*1,500 or more members
**500 - 1,499 members

Thank you to the members of the 2016 CSA Strategic Initiative Achievements Task Force: Sheri Blanchard, CCS; Rebecca J. Broyles, CCA, CPC, CPMA; Crystal Carpenter, CCA; Maria R. De Leon, MBA, CCS; Renay Dworakowski, MBA, CCS-P, CPC; Anastasia K. Gansfuss; Roger L. Hettinger, MBA, CCS, CCS-P, CHTS-IS, CRCR; Maryagnes Marek, MS, RHIT; Vong Miphouvieng, MHA, RHIA; Azia J. Powell, RHIA, CCS; Bonnie C. Sher, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P, CPC, CPMA; and Amanda S. Tompkins, CCA. ​

Back to School

Summer break has ended and it is time for college students to head back to school. Whether your classes are online, hybrid or traditional classroom, here are some handy hints to help you be successful.

The first couple of weeks are always a little confusing in getting to know your course schedule, the instructor and setting up your study time. The first thing I would have to say would always be prepared for class:
  • Read don’t skim. Read the assignment before class, don’t depend on the instructor to lecture on the chapter, they may not and even if they do, hearing it a second time will allow you to retain the information better.
  • Assignments ready. Have homework completed before you enter the classroom. If you are unsure of answers, at least try or ask the professor for help before the assignment is due.
  • Time management. This is important so you do not miss turning in any assignments or they are late and points could be deducted.
  • Schedule your month. Lay out a monthly calendar so you know when each assignment is due for what course you are taking. Waiting until the day before an assignment is due is a great way to get lower grades!
  • Professor interaction. Talk with the instructor if you feel you do not comprehend the material.
  • Get help if needed. Use your local tutoring lab if you have one. Use this resource early, before you are in danger of failing. You fail yourself, the professor only assigns grades earned!
  • Do it today not tomorrow. Don’t procrastinate about your homework. You more than likely will not make the grade you want if you are rushed.  
Education is essential to be successful in life. You have made the commitment to enter college so study and make a grade you will be proud of. Your success in the classroom will be useful when you graduate and start studying for the RHIT exam. And as a healthcare professional, you will find that formal learning is a part of your career, so why not get a process for success right now?

Zada Wicker, MBA, RHIT, CCS, CCS-P    
Chair Health Sciences
Brunswick Community College

Delegate Updates


AHIMA Leadership Symposium

by Pamela J. Lail, MHA, RHIA, CHDA, PMP, FAHIMA
NCHIMA President-Elect 2016-2017

The NCHIMA delegates to AHIMA attended a Leadership Symposium in July in Chicago with delegates from Component State Associations all over the United States. It was a fantastic meeting where we were able to discuss issues with national leadership and find out how other states are addressing certain topics of concern in the Health Information Management field as well as gaining the skills and abilities needed to be successful leaders for NCHIMA. We discussed a variety of topics concerning the future of our field such as education, advocacy for our professional credentials, information governance, analytics/informatics, and being ethical stewards of association people, resources, and time.


Legal and Advocacy Delegate Update

by Tammy H. Downum, RHIA

As NCHIMA’s Legal and Advocacy Delegate, I was privileged to attend AHIMA’s Leadership Symposium in Chicago, IL on July 15th and July 16th. The theme for this year’s meeting was “Inspire Big Thinking to Launch Our Future”. The AHIMA Board provided two days of networking opportunities, interesting topics presented by dynamic speakers and break-out sessions that required participants to collaborate “to think big” about what the future holds for HIM professionals.


Delegate- Strategic Planning

by Kris McCall, MHA, RHIA, CHPS
Let me start by saying thank you, I appreciate your vote and belief in me to be Delegate of Strategic Planning for the next two years. Volunteerism is in the hearts of all of us that serve NCHIMA, along with our passion for the success of this profession.


Member Spotlight

Lynn Farmer, RHIA, CHPS, CCS, CCS-P
Director, Health Information Management
Northern Hospital of Surry County
Years in HIM Profession: 35 years

What initially drew you to this particular profession?

What are your future plans? Does it include further education or certifications in the Health Information Management (HIM) field?

How did you decide this was a good fit for you?  

What advice would you present to those considering the HIM profession?

I was young when I started as a file clerk at Watauga County Hospital and found that I really enjoyed the organization and diversity of the Health Information Management profession. I think more than anything I was at the right place at the right time. I have worked with some wonderful mentors throughout my long career, who encouraged me to obtain my RHIT, then my RHIA. I love coding and reimbursement so I went obtained my CCS and CCS-P, as I felt specialty credentials are important in our profession regardless of whether I plan on changing jobs or not. I decided to the take the CHP and then CHPS since I was appointed as a privacy officer. It has been a really helpful credential as well. I have not ruled out another credential as I do believe specialty credential validate that your skills are up to date with the profession.
I have been working in the HIM profession for over 35 years and have always been employed, the field is so diverse I am never bored, there is always something to do and/or learn. In recent years, I have volunteered more with AHIMA, serving five years on The Commission on Certification for Health Informatics and Information Management, this was a wonderful opportunity to contribute on a national level to the professional and meet and work with some of the brightest people in the profession. This year I volunteers to write test questions for AHIMA. It is hard work but very rewarding with the wonderful connections that you make in the profession. AHIMA and NCHIMA both do a lot of behind the scenes work for its membership, so if you do not know what they do, volunteer and you will discover that they truly are working for its members.
The HIM profession is truly a diverse field with a lot of opportunities, so those who like healthcare but not necessarily patient care should consider HIM as a profession. I encourage those looking at HIM as a profession to attend an approve program. For those working in the profession, I would advise them to get specialty credentials, they do give you more flexibility. Life is ever changing and you never know when you may want to make a change in life. ​

Student Member Spotlight

Angela H. Carpenter          
Health Information Technology Student
Brunswick Community College
Years in HIM Profession: Student

What initially drew you to this particular profession?

What are your future plans?  Does it include further education or certifications in the Health Information Management (HIM) field?

How did you decide this was a good fit for you?  

What advice would you present to those considering the HIM profession?

How does your student membership affect you and your career goals?

A physician actually suggested it to me before performing a scheduled procedure. She was intrigued by the medical questions I asked before agreeing to the procedure. I explained that I had done quite a bit of research to prepare the pertinent questions for my situation and that is when she suggested HIM as a profession. She thought I would enjoy the field and be good at it. She was right. I have thoroughly enjoyed every experience I have had thus far.
My plans are to graduate in the spring of 2017, with my associates degree and pursue my RHIT, and CCS certificates. I do plan on continuing my education so that I can evolve my career.  I took a couple of continuing education courses to give the field a try before committing to the associates degree program. I found out that I love it. I enjoy the medical field very much, and like so many others, I do not have the intestinal fortitude for the clinical side of it. This aspect of health care allows for much growth and many opportunities, and I want to be a positive part of that growth.

My advice would be; Do your research on the field before jumping into it. Go to an academic advisor and ask questions on what it means to be in HIM. Ask current students what the program is like in your area. Scope out the possible job opportunities for your area and …be prepared to work hard to meet your goals. This is a gratifying field, but you have to want it.

There as many advantages for being a student member of NCHIMA. Membership allows me the availability for the continuation of educational and certification goals as well as advancement opportunities within the HIM profession. It provides me with a wealth of experienced professionals to guide me and advise me, along my career path. The publications, provided by the organization, keep me informed of any changes that I need to be aware of and the NCHIMA portal provides up to date information on how to prepare for these changes. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of such a supportive environment. ​

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