Year of Graduation: 2012
Current Employer: Shriners Hospitals for Children - Chicago
Position: Manager, HIM & HIPAA Privacy Officer
What are your current job duties and how did your education at The College of St. Scholastica prepare you to be successful at those duties?
As our professors at CSS always told us in class, “you will wear many hats as an HIM professional.” This is definitely the case in my current role, as my job duties include managing the HIM department, working as HIPAA Privacy Officer of the hospital, acting as a CDI Specialist support, and providing oversight of implementation of policies and procedures regarding health information. Further responsibilities include deficiency reporting and statistics, new provider and resident orientation, state and JCAHO reporting for accreditation, and just about anything else that could fall under those umbrellas.
My education from The College of St. Scholastica more than prepared me for success; our valued instructors taught us to be versatile above anything else. They did not focus on one or two areas of expertise within the HIIM realm, but rather introduced us to all the various areas of our degree. This was also helpful in determining my future career path as I cannot thank my professors enough for providing me the ability to adapt to such a dynamic profession.
Working collaboratively with various departments to improve patient care is the most rewarding aspect of this position. Between working with risk management, medical staff, and quality assurance, no day is ever the same. I love the variety. As an HIM professional, I am tasked with making a significant contribution to the hospital’s performance. I enjoy having a seat at that table.
HIIM is an ever-changing field. What do you see coming on the horizon?
I feel that HIPAA auditing and compliance is currently, and will continue, to hit entities hard. We continue to see how technology is shaping healthcare, and the push to get the latest and the greatest to interface with our electronic health records. The Office of the Inspector General will be rolling out their permanent audit plan in the near future and we need to recognize future implications for our organization in order to stay compliant.
What one piece of advice would you offer to current students?
I was once told to “never be the smartest person in the room.” In my first role as a supervisor, I remember wanting to have all of the knowledge my mentors and superiors had in meetings. Three career moves later, and that quote could never be truer. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. Move out of your comfort zone and learn as much as you can from other professionals.
What hobbies do you enjoy?
I am a pretty big baseball fan, the Minnesota Twins in particular (53 days until Home Opener as I write this!). I recently moved to Chicago, though, and am starting to warm up to the Cubs. Do not worry fellow Minnesotans, I could never be a White Sox fan.
What is your favorite movie?
If I have to pick one, I would have to say A Few Good Men. You can’t beat that courtroom scene when Jack Nicholson takes the stand.