June 2023 Member Spotlight
Paula Alonso, RHIA, CCS
Where do you work and what is your job title?
I am employed at UAMS. I am in my 24th year at UAMS. During my time at UAMS, I have been Director of HIM, Coding Director, Clinical Billing Compliance Officer, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Revenue Cycle, and my role now is Strategic Initiative Coordinator for Revenue Cycle. I am working part-time in a semi-retired role.
How long have you been a member of ArHIMA?
I have been a member of ArHIMA since 1987.
What certification types have you received or are seeking to receive?
I have an RHIA (first it was the old ART turned RHIT) and the CCS credential.
Which college/university did you attend?
I received my degree from John Brown University in Organizational Management and was allowed to sit for the RHIA due to being an RHIT.
What made you decide to pursue a career in HIM?
I was a nurse first and worked for a group of Orthopedic surgeons and used to go HIM at St. Vincent’s Infirmary to pick up face sheets for billing. It was during that time that DRGs were arriving on the reimbursement scene from CMS and the coding aspect of HIM was very intriguing to me. I sought out the ART correspondence course from AHIMA as I don’t remember there being any programs in Arkansas in 1985.
What are some of your responsibilities at your current position?
My current position is allowing me to assist with planning areas in Revenue Cycle that we are wanting/needing to see change and work with the Leaders to ensure that change.
What is a typical day like for you?
There is not really a typical day-meetings and reviewing/discussing data.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy seeing goals accomplished and marking completed items off my list!
Any other professional tidbit(s) you want to include?
I love HIM/Coding and the role that HIM plays in the Revenue Cycle.
Who had the most influence on you growing up?
My Dad was the most influential person in my life. He lived to do for others, whether it was providing food baskets to folks, mowing others’ yards-he truly lived the service he believed God wanted us to do for others. I am afraid I have not lived up to his expectations but every day I remember his actions.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?
I feel like I have been very fortunate in my career-the best advice I received early on was to do the best job at the job you are doing right now and future jobs will find you. I believe that to be true.
Any other personal tidbit(s) you want to include?
Having now gone part-time, a personal observation I would share is, find joy in each day somehow– even on those days that seem like everything is blowing up and is on fire. Find that joy both at work AND at home. Life is short!