President’s Message – October 2022

Melissa Zavadil, RHIT, CCS, CPMA, CRC, COC

Are you ready to create a better world?  Because I am, and so is our team!

As representatives of AHIMA and advocates for the healthcare organizations we serve, how do we fulfill the mission statement to “empower people to impact health”?  I’m glad you ask. In Arkansas, we are focused on the six key areas of advocacy that is supported through AHIMA.

As Health Information Professionals, we are on a mission to help our organizations understand better the cost of patient misidentification. It is within our grasp to recognize the safety, security, availability, and integrity of patient health records. We are the ones the officials look to for processes that must be in place to ensure proper identification and matching of patients to their unique health information in our health IT systems. That is how we can make a difference for the patient populations our healthcare organizations serve.

We powerfully advocate for the privacy, security, and confidentiality of health information as it is the cornerstone of our legislative agenda. With the full scope of EHI per the information blocking final rule at our doorstep, we want to prepare our organizations that may be at risk for noncompliance. At the AHIMA 22 Global Conference, we will hear directly from the policymakers and the AHIMA Government Affairs team as well as others working feverishly to implement information blocking and its related provisions.

AHIMA representatives provided comments on annual proposed changes to Medicare OPPS and MPFS payment system in order to advance health information quality, integrity, and interoperability and promote HIM principles and standards within the federal regulatory requirements. Our input toward those changes by our state advocacy leadership teams was key to our voices being heard. Our participation in surveys and team meetings is what makes a difference for productive changes made at the federal level.

For us to achieve a nationwide interoperability of health information technology that can exchange data while improving care, we must become more proactive by providing comments and feedback to federal regulators on the variety of topics including interoperability, data standardization, mobile device applications, emerging technologies, and more.

We must remain active participants in the Medical Code Set development and maintenance committees when the comment periods for proposed ICD-10-CM and PCS changes, as well for CPT and HCPCS Level II code changes are made by CMS, NCHS and AMA annually. They must be informed of the essence of the information that is submitted by the data we capture now in order to provide better information in the future standardization process.

To reduce the administrative burden associated with documentation requirements of EHRs, we must team up and provide ways to improve clinical workflow and enhance documentation integrity. We strongly rally for the creation of records that are complete, accurate, timely, reliable, and confidential.

All this said to show our gratitude to the active membership who continue to support our state association goals and to allow our delegates and advocacy leaders to be your voice in AHIMA22 Global Conference in Columbus Ohio this year. It will be the first live national conference in two years and we are looking forward to representing our great state of Arkansas on the national front.

Thank you!
Melissa Zavadil, RHIT, CCS, CPMA, CRC, COC