it, for example, covers all non-medical information as well. But
if they also treat staff or other non-students, they have to comply with HIPAA and FERPA. To simplify things, Northwestern
restricts its care to students only—hence FERPA compliance.
But student health has some unique HIM considerations.
Teel says it’s common for students to start their freshman year
when they’re 17, and occasionally 16. She notes that college is
frequently the first time a student has seen a doctor without a
parent present; subsequently, students may call their parents
from the treatment room.
Students under 18 must have their parents sign a “consent
to treatment” form authorizing university providers to treat
students who are ill. That form is kept on file until the student
turns 18. Additionally, the parents of students under 18 can
call university health professionals to discuss their child’s
health unless their questions fall into protected categories
such as sexual or mental health and treatment related to substance abuse.
Non-Acute Care Presents Opportunities for HIM
As shown above, acute care and non-acute care HIM profes-
sionals face similar challenges. This presents an opportunity
for current acute care-based HIM; their skills will directly
translate to these other healthcare settings. And with the high
number of acquisitions in healthcare—especially larger hos-
pitals buying out physicians, clinics, and other non-acute care
facilities—HIM professionals could soon find themselves in
charge of newly acquired business lines. The healthcare in-
dustry in general is moving away from acute care, and moving
care outside the hospital—and experts say HIM should both
embrace and leverage this future. ¢
1. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “Hospice
Manual Update for Diagnosis Reporting and Filing Hospice Notice of Election (NOE) and Termination or Revocation of Election.” MLN Matters. August 22, 2014. www.
2. Butler, Mary. “Senator Demands Action on Nursing
Home Social Media Abuses.” Journal of AHIMA website.
March, 31, 2016. http://journal.ahima.org/2016/03/31/
Mary Butler ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is associate editor at the Journal
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