2017 Advocacy Summit Recap

Message from your Board of Directors

2017 Advocacy Summit Recap:

During the 2017 AHIMA Advocacy Summit we advocated for patient matching as well as promoting the HIM profession itself. Still, many people do not what we as HIM professionals do, so we brought our skills to our local legislators. We met with the office of Senator Cory Booker as well as Senator Bob Menendez. During our conversations, we urged to be brought to the table for future discussions on healthcare-related activities and initiative at the federal level. We want to be present when legislation is being drafted, we do not want to always be the "clean-up crew". With interoperability as well as health information exchange still being buzz words around Capitol Hill, we want to make sure that we have a say in how legislation is carried out so that our concerns will be taken into consideration with any new regulations.

Wording from the 1999 Omnibus Appropriations Act has prohibited the use of appropriated funds by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to "promulgate or adopt any standard for a unique health identifier until legislation is enacted specifically approving the standard". These words within this legislation has been included in every subsequent appropriations bill since FY1999 and is often seen as a barrier to public-private sector collaboration in accelerating and scaling effective patient identification and matching solutions. When meeting with NJ senators, we wanted to clarify that the current prohibition does not hinder the ability of HHS to assist private-sector-led initiatives on developing a coordinated strategy to improve patient matching.

Both offices were receptive to our comments and suggestions. It was good to watch them take notes on the two issues that we brought to their attention. I believe that the awareness of how broad the HIM profession is will help legislators understand that we can be a pivotal part of any paradigm shifts. We are working to get a seat at the table, and the office of Senator Booker said that if we as HIM professionals see anything coming up that we think we should be involved in to make sure we call in and voice our concerns. I believe that our Senators were receptive to our struggles, and we made sure to thank them for all of their efforts with ICD10!

Susan P. Scully
Brianna Kelly
Fran DiLorenzo