All posts by Kengia Sabree

Health Information Professionals celebrated at SPC

health information professionals

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) celebrated the 30th annual Health Information Professionals (HIP) Week, March 24-30, 2019. During HIP Week, those who work in the field engage in focused activities in their organizations and the community to raise awareness of the important work they perform.

This year’s theme was “Driven by Health Data.” AHIMA CEO Wylecia Wiggs Harris said that because the healthcare ecosystem is constantly changing, health information professionals make it their priority to ensure high-quality data to enable better care for patients.

“Health information professionals drive success every day by using coded data and data collected within the EHR to improve clinical and business performance,” Harris said. “It’s an exciting time to be in the HIM profession and be part of the healthcare movement to data-driven health.”

St. Petersburg College’s Caruth Health Education Center celebrated HIP week with our first Career Fair. The event, coordinated by Dr. Sheila Newberry and Marcia Castle, included the support of the Provost’s Office, Student Life and Leadership, and Career Services. The two-hour event gave online Health Information Technology students the opportunity to network with six employers, have access to free books, industry journals and magazines, use four job search stations, win raffled prizes, and hear two presentations led by industry professionals.

Mary Roberts, Coding Manager at BayCare, presented an introduction on becoming a coder at BayCare, and Karolina Austin, HIM Director and Privacy Officer at Operation PAR, presented on interviewing skills. Between the six employers, there are over 50 vacant positions throughout the Tampa Bay Area.

To close the event, I thanked the employers for participating, and encouraged them to share their thoughts on ways St. Petersburg College can continue to meet the needs of our community. The department is looking forward to hosting this event for years to come!

SPC Adjunct Named HIT Educator of the Year

Health Information Technician

The annual Florida Health Information Management Association (FHIMA) state convention took place July 29th- August 1, 2018 at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, and St. Petersburg College had a strong presence this year. SPC adjunct Denise Fonzo, Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT), was presented with the Educator of the Year award.

Fonzo, who began her career in 1970, had many opportunities to expand her knowledge base, which, she says, grew her interest and allowed her to impart her wisdom to others. In 1992, Denise earned her RHIT after completing American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Independent Study, and earned her Associate Degree at St. Petersburg College. She began teaching as an Adjunct at SPC in 1999.

She regularly mentors students at HCA Northside Hospital in her role as Director of HIM. She is President Elect of her local Health Information Management Association, and is Past President of Gulf Coast Health Information Management Association. Denise has worked to bring meaningful and diverse educational opportunities to the local members, as well as to explore and present information to new professionals. Denise also served as chairperson for the State Advocacy Committee and assisted in the education of state legislators and students during the 2018 Hill Day in Tallahassee.

Denise has always felt a need to give back to the profession that has served her life well. Always learning and always sharing is her way of life. We are honored to have her as part of our HIT Team!

Also representing SPC at the conference was Cortnie Simmons, MHA, RHIA, CCS, CDIP, PMP, the current President of the Association. Cortnie has been teaching for SPC since January 2018. She did a wonderful job leading us into new HIM dimensions!

SPC Adjunct James Pfeiffer presented the sessions, “It Takes Heart to Code” and “Wounds that Heal”. He also hosted a CCS Exam Prep workshop. I was able to stop in for just a few minutes and he introduced me to his class and asked the students to consider pursuing their Associate degree in HIT at SPC. He then followed that up with a hearty- GO, TITANS!

Other SPC adjuncts in attendance were Raeanna Bonetti, MS, RHIT, CPC, and Joan Warner, RHIT, CCS.