The 2014 AHDI National Leadership Board election is over, and the results are in–and so am I, it seems, as one of six individuals elected as at-large and district NLB members. I know we’re all very grateful to everyone who cast a vote for us, and I personally offer congratulations and thanks to all the other candidates, elected or not, for putting themselves out there. It’s a big responsibility, make no mistake. I know this from personal experience as a previously elected NLB District 1 Director back in 2011. Unfortunately I had to resign from the NLB less than a year later due to a bout of ill health, but I was on the Board long enough to get a taste of the significant demands that come with the position. So my hat is off to everyone who ran and especially to those who were elected. Even though our terms of office don’t officially begin until September 1, there will be plenty for us to do between now and then.

One of the things I highly recommend as preparation for taking office, and something I’ve made a concerted effort to do myself recently, is to attend the NLB’s online meetings as a member of the gallery. (For that matter, the gallery is open to any AHDI member, and is a great way to stay current on the association’s affairs.) As newly elected Board members, we need to know what we’re getting into! Attending the NLB meetings is one of the best ways to do this. You can contact our CEO, Linda Brady, at lbrady@ahdionline.org to request an invitation to the NLB meetings, which are generally held monthly.

The biggest event for incoming NLB members between now and September will be our annual national convention, branded in 2014 for the first time as the Healthcare Documentation Integrity Conference. The venue for this year’s event is The M Resort in Las Vegas, NV, and the dates are July 23-26. You can find all the details of the conference here. Incoming NLB members will get plenty of behind-the-scenes exposure to both the logistics that go into putting on the national convention and the work involved in leading the association year-round. The conference will also be an important opportunity for new NLB members to meet their AHDI constituency and make the personal and professional connections that will be critical to successful leadership.

I think we’re also going to have some fun!

Of course, the real work for the new National Leadership Board members begins on September 1, when our terms officially begin. And let’s be honest, there’s a lot to be done. It’s no secret to anyone that our association and our profession are facing tremendous challenges right now. The healthcare documentation field is changing rapidly, and many of our practitioners are struggling just to stay meaningfully employed in this new environment. I don’t think it’s being overly dramatic to say that as AHDI leaders, we need to come up with some innovative and practical solutions to the challenges faced by our members if we expect the association to survive, much less thrive. Thankfully our financial position has improved over the last couple of years, but by no means is the future of our organization guaranteed. Make no mistake, some serious sleeve-rolling-up is going to be the order of business for the new and returning NLB members in 2014 and beyond.

That being said, I personally choose not to be discouraged nor dismayed when contemplating the future of our association and our profession. Our experience, fund of knowledge, and skill set will continue to be vital to the completeness and accuracy of the medical records of our citizens; perhaps our greatest challenge will be to communicate that truth to healthcare stakeholders as well as to the public at large. At the same time, we must also provide our workforce with information about new roles in healthcare documentation, and work with educational and business partners to help practitioners prepare to fill those roles. I’m confident that together, the National Leadership Board, our local, state, and regional component leaders, and our members at large will rise to meet these challenges.

Once again, on behalf of all the newly elected NLB members, thank you for the opportunity to serve as your representatives. We will do everything in our power to earn your vote of confidence.

Jay Vance, CMT, CHP
AHDI National Leadership Board Member-Elect

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