Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Bet You're Wondering What I've Been Up To...

Oh wow, has this been a crazy fall! Up until this year, "Rocktober" was a term we used in Colorado whenever our beloved Colorado Rockies made it to the playoffs. This year Rocktober took on a whole new meaning for me. And while it was a great month, I am so happy to say it's over and now I can concentrate on the less busy holiday season. Yes, October was that busy!

As you saw from some of my blog postings, I kicked off October in true coder fashion by attending the AHIMA Convention and Exhibit in Salt Lake City. What a great opportunity to learn the newest, latest, and greatest from some of the nation's best HIM and coding minds and get in some serious networking as well. This year was particularly busy at convention as I was honored with an AHIMA Triumph Award for mentoring, mainly due to my efforts with the Coder Coach blog and some of the networking and educational events I've hosted over the last couple of years. It was an incredible honor and to help commemorate the occasion, I took my personal and professional mentor - my mom (pictured here with me) - along with me. It's hard to tell who was more excited about my award!

This was also the first year that I was chosen to speak at the national level. I presented an outpatient track at the coding meeting on the overlap between coding and charging in the cardiac cath lab. As if that wasn't enough, I just couldn't say no when another Triumph Award recipient and fellow Coloradan, Dee Johnson, asked me to be a part of the Student Academy. Dee is a student at Arapahoe Community College, my alma mater here in Colorado, and was a key planner in this year's Student Academy. The academy is a free event for students in AHIMA programs at the convention each year. I was a part of the mentor lightning rounds where several established professionals spent a few minutes with each group of students to share our experience and answer questions. All of that and Apolo Anton Ohno too! The Olympic athlete and Dancing with the Stars champion was our closing keynote speaker and he had an inspiring message about giving it your all.

Once I was back at home, there was no rest for the weary as I delved into not one, not two, but FIVE client trainings. For those who aren't aware, training sessions take about 4-5 times as long to prepare as they do to present but the work is always well worth it when I get to training. That is my favorite part of my job because it combines two of my great talents: coding and talking! My last week of training involved three training sessions, work-related road travel, a snow storm, and, of course, that inevitable sinus infection as a result of a crazy month. I would love to tell you that following that last training on October 28 I headed out for happy hour with my friends, but truth be told, I had a nice evening vegging out on the sofa and catching up on all my DVR'd shows!

So here we are in November and I'm trying to wrap a few things up before the holidays. Last weekend I met with a fantastic group of super coder geeks (birds of a feather!) who were so amazing to not only spend their own time coding some records in ICD-10, but to also give up a Saturday to come together and talk about the results. This is a project that the Colorado Health Information Management Association's (CHIMA) ICD-10 Task Force has undertaken to assess documentation readiness for ICD-10. I have had a great year chairing this task force and working with an enthusiastic group who is making great strides as a clearinghouse for ICD-10 information in the state of Colorado.

Last week I was interviewed by ICD-10 Watch, a terrific resource for anyone interested in ICD-10. We specifically chatted about the fantastic opportunities that await coders as we transition to ICD-10. The interview is recounted in the blog posting How ICD-10 can create opportunities for medical coders.

Whew, I think I need to take a nap now that I've recounted the previous month's events! I plan to get back to the ICD-10-PCS series in another week or two, but bear with me - November's calendar is starting to fill up, so it might be 2012 before I can give the series the attention it deserves. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a terrific holiday season.