Mercy Independence Tops in Birth Certificate Compliance

April 11, 2014

The Mercy Hospital Independence Health Information Management (Medical Records) department was recently recognized for outstanding performance in submitting timely birth certificate data in accordance with state standards.

Kristie Royer, HIM director, attended a conference for hospital birth clerks presented by the Kansas Department of Health and  Environment’s Office of  Vital Statistics, where Mercy  Independence was recognized among the top 10 hospitals in the state for consistently meeting the KDHE requirement for submission of newborn data within five days of birth.

The data submitted by the hospital is what allows a Social Security number and an “official” birth certificate to be generated for newborns.

“This is what actually makes you a real person in the United States, with a Social Security number,” Royer said.

Mercy Independence delivers approximately 260 babies each year. Royer explained that for every delivery, HIM is responsible for collecting data from the mother - everything from the mother’s height and weight to breastfeeding status - and submitting complete, accurate information both electronically and on paper documents sent via postal mail. Regardless of when the baby is born, the documentation must be received in KDHE’s Topeka office within five days of the birth.

“That’s not five ‘business days,’” Royer clarified. “It’s five days,  period. Five days for us to collect the information, have the mom review it, then complete the documentation, send it and have it  received in Topeka.

“You can imagine the scenario when a baby is born on a Friday night, and there is no one working in the HIM department until Monday morning. Then, we really have to hustle!”

And they are pulling it off 99.5 percent of the time, Royer reports, noting Independence performs well above the Kansas target average of 80 percent.

She attributed the success to a high degree of teamwork, including the efficiency of records clerk Teresa Goodman and the assistance of the OB staff, who get the whole process started and collect a great deal of the necessary information that is then available in the hospital’s electronic health record system for HIM to access.

“We all work together, and we wouldn’t be this successful without everyone’s contribution,” Royer said.