Alumni Spotlight: Jessica McCarty, RHIA, CCS

During National Allied Health Week, we're interviewing CAHS alumni who are making a difference

We sat down with some of our alumni who are currently working in allied health during National Allied Health Week. See what they are up to today and how their UC degree helped them get there. 

 Jessica McCarty headshot

Jessica McCarty

Name: Jessica McCarty, RHIA, CCS, '22

Title:Clinical Documentation Integrity Specialist

Employer: Veterans Health Administration 

Programs graduated from: Health Information Management

How did UC prepare you and set you up for success in your career?

My initial plan was to earn my AAS in Health Information Systems from UC, along with receiving the RHIT credential. My goal had been to become a coder and leave it at that. For several years I worked as a hospital coder, but began to feel there was more I could contribute to health information management. Returning to UC Online and earning the BS HIM and RHIA was the best decision for my career. My leadership and decision-making skills are sharpened. I developed a deeper understanding of process, quality and performance improvement from both a HIM department and facility perspective. While in the program, I also began my current position as a Clinical Documentation Integrity (CDI) Specialist. The Health Data Management and Healthcare Statistics course could not have come at a better time. Although I had coding knowledge as a background to support my CDI role, I felt like my ability to communicate certain CDI metrics was thoroughly covered as far as data analysis and presentation.  I am content in my CDI position, but having the BS HIM degree has opened other opportunities for growth in the HIM department. The best part about this degree is it allows your HIM career to evolve, advance and grow as much as you allow it. 

What do you love most about your career or current position?

My current position as a CDI specialist allows me to address deficiencies in the health record. Failing to fully communicate the condition of the patient within the patient record creates a ripple effect that impacts patient safety and patient care. Poor documentation practices could lead to denials and reimbursement issues if provider notes fail to fully demonstrate medical necessity. I evaluate provider notes and educate them on actions necessary to meet established documentation standards. I am also an integral part of performance improvement through provider queries, then sharing CDI metrics and how our efforts impact the facility. It is very satisfying to demonstrate how my department contributes to the improvement of the facility. 

What encouragement or advice can you offer to fellow professionals in your field or others looking to enter the profession?

Earning my BS HIM degree from the University of Cincinnati and the RHIA credential absolutely sets me apart from my peers. UC's online program is CAHIIM accredited, so you know it is a quality program. If you want to advance in the HIM field, stop inventing reasons why you can't pursue this degree. Develop a no-excuses regime, stay disciplined and make study-time non-negotiable. As a full-time working mother of very active children our household absolutely experienced adjustments, but everyone understood that the schedule change was temporary. The streamlined semesters moved at an achievable pace; I was able to graduate in 5 semesters. The content of each course, along with the Capstone course helped prepare me for early testing for the RHIA credential. I am so proud of my BS HIM degree from UC. 

Anything else you’d like to share on your career path, current employment, fun projects you’ve worked on, etc.?

Don't forget to build your network along the way! I had the chance to connect with many wonderful classmates. My professors in the BS HIM program are approachable individuals who are active in the HIM field and share many of their experiences. They helped me see that in HIM, it isn't a competition to see who is the best, but rather a group effort, with everyone using our unique skill-sets to enhance the HIM field and build our knowledge. Great advice has been received through relationships I made in this program and I am so thankful for that. 

Celebrate Allied Health Week with us! 

National Allied Health Week is celebrated during the first full week of November each year. Learn more about how we're celebrating National Allied Health Week

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