President's Message

Incoming President

Dear LIHIMA Members,

Thank you Melissa for your leadership over the past year. Leading an organization during a normal year can be challenging enough - but you had to lead during a pandemic.   You kept the LIHIMA organization together virtually and made it look easy!   I am looking forward to continuing to work with you over the next year.

I would also like to thank the “long-term” board members.  I am continually impressed by your unrelenting commitment to the organization and the HIM profession.   We appreciate all you have done thus far and look forward to all of your contributions to come.    To our educators within the organization - you are the reason why we have a future.  Your promotion of the profession adds energy to Health Information Management and keeps the light shining.

2020 was a challenging year.  Starting with the shortage of toilet paper and paper towels evolving into school closures, business shutdowns, and ultimately shortages of covid-testing kits.  Sadly, we saw mortality numbers increase - unlike anything we have ever seen before.

The pandemic forced us to quickly figure out ways to provide the same level of services we’ve always offered while also keeping staff, patients, and families safe.   If you worked in a completely electronic environment, you were on your way to working remotely with the correct set-up.  But if you worked in a paper-driven department,  how did the pandemic change how your department functioned?  In most organizations, space was already limited, and having to spread staff out  6 feet apart proved to be a challenge.   Through it all, HIM members were there to enroll patients into a portal for easy access to their information,  assist with access to the paper medical record, and continue the revenue cycle process.   We need to keep showing Senior leadership within the healthcare industry that HIM professionals play a vital role within all operations.  HIM sets the standards of documentation for EMR builds, establishes proper procedures for the release of information, and is critical for data capture through coding information.  Our data is used for budgeting, decision-making for implementing new programs, and quality score ratings just for starters. 

Over the next year,  I encourage you to actively participate in the LIHIMA organization to help strengthen the association through collaboration.  Silence sends a message that we don’t care or matter.    Active participation allows us to meet professionals who we otherwise might not have met.  By sharing best practices, we expand our minds and knowledge base, but we cannot share if you are not there. This organization is more than just a way to get your CEU’s.  Our voices can make a difference in healthcare if we come to the table and share.    Strength comes from unity.  Mentoring new members is vital to carrying the HIM profession forward.  John Ruth was a mentor and colleague to many of us. He was a pioneer in the HIM profession and we owe it to John to continue to raise the bar for HIM professionals.    I stepped into this volunteer role last year because someone reached out and asked.  I thought to myself: “Do I have what it takes to be the President of LIHIMA?”    What about the time factor?  I already have a position that occupies my attention seven days a week and I’m a mom and wife.  I steadfastly believe in the work we do and I know how important that work is to patients and organizations -  so I immediately agreed to take on the position.   Over the past year, I’ve felt the passion of fellow HIM professionals across New York State.   These professionals have been working within the HIM industry for 40 + years.  They remember when our credentials were and the certification exam was only administered once a year.    They witnessed the evolution from master patient indexes on index cards to enterprise master patient indexes within special software.   They’ve seen legislation such as HIPAA and Information Blocking be passed.  My favorite  Joint Commission statement was to my leadership team regarding scanning: “Nobody does it better than HIM.”   And those words live with me every day,  with everything I touch.  “Nobody does it better than HIM…”  

I know we haven’t been able to get together and strategize or share “war stories”  but better days surely lie ahead and we will be together soon.

I am looking forward to working with you and the LIHIMA Board over the next year!

Warm Regards,

Colleen Garvey

Outgoing President

Melissa PicDear LIHIMA Members,

Thank you for your continued support of the association during these unique times. It has been over a year with the pandemic in full swing, and we have all had to adapt both our professional and personal lives. Throughout all of this, HIM professionals have remained vigilant in our professional responsibilities to all of those we serve. And despite the pandemonium of the past year, we have been able to make some meaningful progress in our professional agenda. I hope that as we enter a phase where the “new normal” is starting to emerge that we continue to be motivated, innovative, and hopeful for whatever the future brings.


Very truly yours,

Melissa Minski