The HIM professional has an obligation to demonstrate actions that reflect values. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Code of Ethics sets forth these principles. (See also AHIMA Mission, Vision, Values.)
The code is relevant to all AHIMA members and non-members holding an AHIMA certification. These purposes strengthen the HIM professional’s efforts to improve overall quality of healthcare.
Members of the American Health Information Management Association may be subject to disciplinary action for unprofessional or otherwise inappropriate conduct or for adverse legal, regulatory, or credentialing actions, as described in the AHIMA Code of Ethics.
The AHIMA Code of Ethics serves six purposes:
The code includes principles that are enforceable and aspirational. The extent to which each principle is enforceable is a matter of professional judgment to be exercised by those responsible for reviewing alleged violations of ethical principles.
Coding is recognized as one of the core health information management (HIM) functions within healthcare. Due to the complex regulatory requirements affecting the health information coding process, coding professionals are frequently faced with ethical coding and coding-related challenges.
The Standards of Ethical Coding are important established guidelines for any coding professional and are based on the American Health Information Management Association's (AHIMA's) Code of Ethics. Both reflect expectations of professional conduct for coding professionals involved in diagnostic and/or procedural coding, data abstraction and related coding and/or data activities.
The Ethical Standards for Clinical Documentation Integrity (CDI) Professionals are based on the American Health Information Management Association’s (AHIMA’s) Code of Ethics and the Standards for Ethical Coding. A Code of Ethics sets forth professional values and ethical principles and offers ethical guidelines to which professionals aspire and by which their actions can be judged.
A Code of Ethics is important in helping to guide the decision-making process and can be referenced by individuals, agencies, organizations, and bodies (such as licensing and regulatory boards, insurance providers, courts of law, government agencies, and other professional groups).
Members and credentialed nonmembers of the American Health Information Management Association agree, as a condition of membership and certification, to abide by AHIMA’s Code of Ethics. The Ethics Self-Assessment is developed to help you identify your areas of strength in ethics and areas you might wish to strengthen.
This tool is intended for personal use only.
These case studies have been developed to complement the Ethics Self-Assessment. The case studies intend to help AHIMA members, AHIMA-certified HIM professionals, and students learn how to examine and resolve ethical issues they may confront in their own organizations.
Some were based on actual ethics complaints brought before the AHIMA Professional Ethics Committee, and others on AHIMA’s Code of Ethics and the Ethics Self-Assessment, which all HIM professionals are expected to complete.
Each case study includes a scenario describing a potential ethical dilemma, a choice of responses, and questions to facilitate thought and discussion to determine if the situation is indeed an ethical issue and, if so, how a satisfactory resolution can be reached.
Submit a Complaint on an AHIMA Member
If you believe an AHIMA member has violated the Code of Ethics, you may file a complaint with AHIMA. To submit a member complaint, complete the Alleged Violation of AHIMA Code of Ethics form and submit to email@example.com. For additional information, please read the AHIMA Policy and Procedures for Disciplinary Review and Appeal.
Submit a Complaint on an AHIMA Certified Member or Non-Member
Potential ethics violations regarding misconduct that involves currently certified individuals (i.e. certificate holders) must be submitted via an Ethics Complaint Form, along with supporting documentation, to CCHIIM@ahima.org. The CCHIIM Review Panel hears potential ethics violations regarding misconduct, pursuant to the AHIMA Code of Ethics and the CCHIIM Disciplinary and Appeal Policy. For additional information please see the CCHIIM Disciplinary and Appeal Policy Flowchart.