2022 AHIMA House of Delegate Update

Hello Michigan HIMmers!

The Michigan delegation joined its colleagues from around the country at the AHIMA House of Delegates (HoD) in-person session on Sunday, October 9. The focus of this year’s HoD meeting was to update AHIMA’s bylaws. Sounds like a snooze fest, right? Trust me, it’s anything but!

Prior to the HoD meeting, Past President and Delegate, Shawn Armbruster, shared with the MHIMA family the proposed changes to the AHIMA bylaws and solicited your feedback. Your voice is critical to our success, and we want to ensure we’re representing the vision of Michigan’s HIM professionals at HoD. Thanks to all who provided feedback! We received four responses to Shawn’s inquiry.

Many of the proposed bylaw changes were minor updates to language, to align the bylaws with updated practices, or grammar/formatting/punctuation changes. However, there were several proposed changes that I want to focus on in this article because of their importance to MHIMA members and to respond to the feedback you provided the Michigan delegation. This is not an all-inclusive list of the changes.

  1. Article XII, Section 12.1 Organization: AHIMA proposed a bylaw change to allow two component state associations (CSAs) to merge. AHIMA had received a request from Vermont and New Hampshire to merge. The bylaws did not accommodate this scenario as written. HoD heard from both the Vermont and New Hampshire delegations as to why they wanted to pursue a merge of their organizations. The small population in both states makes it difficult to fill board seats and maintain financial viability.

We received two comments about this change. Both comments were in favor of the amendment which would allow two CSAs to merge. One commenter stated that allowing two smaller, struggling CSAs to merge would be a way to preserve membership in AHIMA. This is a very insightful perspective as AHIMA’s membership has declined in recent years, particularly in the wake of COVID-19. Feedback also suggested that AHIMA do more to assist struggling CSAs to prevent the need for a merge. This comment was mirrored by some of the delegates at HoD. We also received a question about whether there would be a process to “un-merge” a multi-state association if future circumstances change. Given that the impetus for the merge request for Vermont and New Hampshire is their small overall population, that may be unlikely in this scenario, but is a worthwhile question for future consideration.

The Michigan delegation voted in favor of this bylaw change. HoD approved this change.

  1. Article XII, Section 12.6 Dues Payment to Component State Associations: AHIMA proposed a bylaw change to withhold rebates to CSAs not meeting its obligations under their Affiliation Agreement. The Michigan delegation received one comment about this change. The commenter raised some good questions and suggested that more clarity was needed. The MHIMA Board considered this measure carefully. Like the commenter, the Board was very much in favor of the intent of the proposed change. Transparency and accountability are paramount, and all CSAs should be providing value to their members. However, the language as written was unclear and the procedures were not fully developed. Further, it is unclear how future changes to the CSA Affiliation Agreement would be factored into the assessment of performance. Finally, affiliation agreement changes are made outside of the HoD voting process.

The Michigan delegation voted against this bylaw change. HoD did not approve this change.

Again, the MHIMA Board believes in the intent of this change and will reconsider its position when AHIMA provides greater procedural clarity.

  1. Article IV, Section 4.4 Failure to Pay Dues and Article IV, Section 4.6 Reinstatement: AHIMA proposed deleting these two sections related to dues payment. We received one comment on this change asking for clarification on the procedure. AHIMA shared there wasn’t a way to operationalize a penalty/fee for late payment of membership dues. If a member allows their membership to lapse, they will simply pay the current year’s fee to reinstate their membership. The commenter also asked what constituted a “member in good standing” as written in the bylaws to be deleted. This term is used throughout the bylaws but is not defined. There is language in the bylaws regarding the expulsion of members:

“Article IV, Section 4.6 Expulsion. Any member who violates the Bylaws of AHIMA, the Code of Ethics, the Standards for Initial Certification, or the Standards for Maintenance of Certification may be expelled from membership in AHIMA under the procedures set forth in the AHIMA Policy and Procedure Manual.”

In looking at the totality of the bylaws, I think it’s reasonable to interpret this to mean that any member who pays their membership dues and abides by the bylaws, code, and standards as indicated above is considered a member in good standing.

The Michigan delegation voted in favor of this bylaw change. HoD approved this change.

  1. Article IV, Section 4.3.2 Student: the Michigan delegates didn’t receive any feedback from the membership on this item, but I wanted to briefly touch on it here. This language changes the time limit on student memberships. The former language limited the time an individual could receive the discounted student membership rate to four years. The proposed language allows individuals to maintain their student membership until graduation. I think the bylaws subcommittee did excellent work in making this change. We have many non-traditional students, part-time students, etc. Providing this flexibility to our future HIM leaders is a great recognition of their needs.

The Michigan delegation voted in favor of this bylaw change. HoD approved this change.

Apart from the dues payment to CSAs as identified in #2 above, the Michigan delegation voted in favor of all the changes to the bylaws and the HoD approved the changes. For a complete list of all the bylaws changes, click here. If you have questions about any of the bylaws changes, the HoD, or how you can get involved, please contact a member of the MHIMA Board or take a look at the volunteer page on the MHIMA website.

Thanks again for all of the wonderful questions and comments on the proposed bylaws changes. Your voice is valued!

Your 2022 MHIMA Delegates