Angela Campbell, MSHI, RHIA, FAHIMA
Assistant Professor, Health Information Technology – San Juan College
Assistant Director Student Insurance, HIPAA Privacy Officer – Eastern Illinois University
Master of Science in Healthcare Informatics from Southern Illinois University
Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration from Stephens College
Bachelor of Arts in General Studies from Eastern Illinois University
Associate in Liberal Studies and Medical Coding Specialist Certificate from Lake Land College
Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA)
Fellow of the American Health Information Management Association (FAHIMA)
AHIMA-Approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer
How did you get your start (in HI)?
I was interested in healthcare early. I took health occupation courses in high school and became a certified nursing assistant. I went to work and enjoyed the environment but soon realized patient care was not for me. I had a mentor that encouraged me to explore the medical records department. I did this at my first opportunity and quickly figured out this was something I enjoyed. I was able to grow my knowledge and skills in medical records, medical office management, transcription and coding. Later, I had the opportunity to work in quality management for several years. The experience gained in this role also helped me grow as a health information professional.
I returned to healthcare, this time as a payer. Working in this role for more than twenty years has opened many doors and provided me with avenues that I never considered as a young high school student.
It was at the insistence of my program director of my bachelor degree program that I am a teacher. This was never a career I considered or even thought was possible. She insisted I look into a job and knew I would love it. She was right. Having the opportunity to share experiences and knowledge with new health information professionals is something I enjoy more than I ever imagined.
What do you focus on in your job?
My teaching role is what you would probably expect. I teach students in an associate health information technology program. I generally teach medical terminology, pathophysiology and pharmacology, legal and ethical issues in health information, introduction to data management, health statistics, and quality management. I advise students so they complete the courses they need, when they need them. I work with students of all ages from all over the country. I have a lot of dual credit students in my medical terminology courses. This gives me an opportunity to introduce them to the health information industry.
In my job as a payer, I administer two self-funded, self-insured insurance plans for students and student-athletes. I am responsible for writing plan benefits, administering the plans, overseeing claim determination, appeals, managing three open enrollment periods per year, negotiating discounts, compliance, responding to legal requests, and more. My office is the insurance company for students and for student-athletes. We receive and process all claims in-house. It is a busy place, but it is always interesting.
Have you had the opportunity to volunteer with ILHIMA/AHIMA or other HI organizations? If yes, what benefits have you seen from your volunteer experience?
Yes! I have volunteered with a variety of groups for AHIMA and have enjoyed volunteering in several capacities with ILHIMA. Volunteering was an opportunity to grow my knowledge and share my experience. With each activity, I have grown professionally, become more informed, and increased my network. Volunteering has allowed me to work with professionals that I may have never met and would likely never have had the opportunity to work with. Some of these relationships have turned into close friendships.
I have participated in writing articles, presenting at conferences, facilitating an online discussion forum, reviewing certificate programs, reviewing abstracts for the annual conference and many other projects and activities. My work as a volunteer has shaped who I am as an educator. It has provided me with a larger scope of our industry. Some of the AHIMA volunteer activities I have participated in include the following. Co-Chair for the Envisioning Collaborative Team with the House of Delegates, Professional Ethics Committee, Advocacy & Policy Council, Exam Development Committee, CEE Programs with Incentives Workgroup, Annual Conference Program Committee, Professional Certificate Program Approval Council, AHIMA Access Development and Implementation Committee, CEE Academic Framework Workgroup, CEE Curricula Workgroup, CEE RHIA/RHIT Remediation Task Force, CEE Workforce Workgroup, Health Informatics Practice Council, Facilitator for Engage Community of Practice, Foundation Student Merit Scholarship Committee, HIM Reimagined Taskforce, CEE Educational Programming Workgroup, and the Clinical Terminology & Classification Practice Council.
I have also volunteered in the following capacities for ILHIMA in addition to serving as President-Elect, President, and Past-President, Awards & Scholarship Committee, Annual Conference Planning Committee, Annual Conference Mentoring Program, Communications Committee, and Career Awareness Committee.
What advice do you have for somebody interested in pursuing a position like yours?
I worked in a number of areas before landing in the payer environment and deciding this is where I wanted to be. Working as a payer combines so much of what you use in many other roles, knowledge of coding, billing, reimbursement, release of information, legal issues and more. I was able to work with many different types of external agencies, patients, families, and providers. I have said for many years, for every coding/billing job, there is also a job with a payer because someone has to pay all of the claims. The jobs are out there.
My advice is to explore all the options in health information that you have an interest in. This industry is growing in so many areas. Ask questions, lots of questions. Be curious and don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. I also would encourage you to volunteer with your regional and state association and with AHIMA. This will help you grow your network, learn more about the industry, and develop leadership skills.
My last piece of advice is to pay it forward. I remember the individuals that took the time to explain things to me, help me, or mentor me. I have tried to pay it forward by sharing my time with others that need some assistance or mentorship. When you are in a position to provide some time to a student or new professional, offer them some time and insight. It will mean as much to them as it did to you when you were standing in their shoes.