Dear THIMA Members,
On behalf of the entire THIMA Board, I am sharing important information with you about this year’s AHIMA ballot, specifically as it relates to the positions of President-Elect and Speaker-Elect of the House of Delegates (HoD). Please read through the information below and make an informed decision. I apologize in advance for the lengthy message.
Background: On occasion, THIMA and other component state associations (CSAs) disagree with AHIMA’s decisions relative to governing our HIM profession. Today we find ourselves in one of those situations. It is time to vote for AHIMA board members for the upcoming association year, and you may have noticed that the ballot includes only one candidate for each of the positions of President-Elect and Speaker of the House. The Speaker of the House is elected by the House of Delegates, so this candidate will not appear on the AHIMA member ballot. The Speaker of the House is a very important position and serves on the AHIMA Board of Directors.
The Nominating Committee (NC) has the responsibility of selecting candidates for open board positions for the upcoming year. The NC is partially elected by members of the House of Delegates during an annual vote and partially appointed by AHIMA Board of Directors. The NC has a well-defined process and procedure. Potential candidates complete the Volunteer Leadership Competencies self-assessment and the Board of Directors candidates must review the AHIMA Board of Directors Attributes, developed by the Board of Directors and updated yearly to ensure candidates meet the needs of the Board for the upcoming three-year term. According to a message posted on the State Leader/House of Delegates Community on Engage by the current AHIMA President, this year’s instruction to the NC was to find candidates with specific skills to help further the new AHIMA Mission, Vision, and Values in support of the strategic plan. It is certainly not unusual to expect candidates for Board service to support the mission, vision, values, and strategic plan of the organization they wish to serve as they become an active part of the leadership team.
Assessment: The unusual and surprising thing about the ballot – the outcome of the work of the NC – is the uncontested candidacy of two key association leaders: President-Elect and Speaker-Elect of the HoD. Based on comments made by other CSAs, we know there were other nominees for these positions. By presenting a ‘slate’ ballot for these key positions, the NC has in effect determined who will serve in those roles, removing the individual member’s right and opportunity to review multiple, qualified candidates and make a choice.
The THIMA Board of Directors does not doubt the skills and professionalism of the candidates selected by the NC. We do, however, have strong doubts and concern that of more than 83,000 members, there was only one qualified for each of these two key positions in the governance of our profession.
Options and Impact: There are three ways members can respond. **An important note: AHIMA bylaws require a 3% voter response from members for a valid election.**
- Vote: Voting would count your vote for the President-Elect, as there is only candidate on the ballot and it would also allow you to vote for 3 other roles that are currently on the ballot and do have more than one candidate. This choice counts toward the 3% requirement.
- Abstain: If you abstain from voting for certain candidates, this means that you state you are “not voting” for certain positions but the choice does count toward the 3% requirement.
- No Vote: A no vote, meaning you simply do not complete any part of the AHIMA ballot. This option is the only option that removes you from the percentage of members placing a vote. This does not count toward the 3% requirement.
THIMA Delegation Decision:
As THIMA Delegates are a VOICE for you in our state and nationally with AHIMA, we have decided collectively to be a “NO VOTE” on this year’s AHIMA ballot. We believe this stands in support of serving you as well as standing for ourselves as members demanding that our voice be heard in governing our profession.
The THIMA Delegates are partnering with other CSAs to work on AHIMA bylaw revisions that remove the AHIMA Board’s involvement in appointing members to the NC and remove the possibility for an uncontested vote. We expect to have more CSAs from across the country join us in this effort. This situation is currently unfolding and we have much work to do in formulating responses and reaching out to others, but we are working to be YOUR voice at a national level on this issue.
Again, we ask that you consider all of the information, options, and impact of those options and make an informed choice when deciding on the action you will take. As always, please do reach out to your Board members and delegates with questions and concerns.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve!
Shannan Swafford, DHA, MBA, RHIT, CHDA, CCS