Meet the Board
Erica Lopez, RHIA
Erica is a highly committed, responsible and resilient self-motivator. She started her career as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at age 18, while going to college to further her education. Her ten years in the medical field as a CNA provided her with a great knowledge of the integrated healthcare services patients receive, including hands on experience by working at the bedside with patients. This helped her to be a devoted team member to provide her patients with the utmost excellent care. She has worked at an array of facilities which include: psych, long term care, hospice, skilled nursing facilities, home healthcare, inpatient acute care, intensive care, and a neuroscience unit. Her passion in caring for patients developed into an overall care of the big picture, which involved care of the medical record. She recognized how important this piece of the puzzle was in regards to delivering high quality patient care. This led her on a career to health information management (HIM) where she graduated on the Dean’s List from Central New Mexico Community College with her Associate of Science in Health Information Technology degree. Shortly after, she obtained her RHIT credential and continued to further her education. She attended the University of Cincinnati and graduated with the highest honor of Summa Cum Laude with her Bachelor of Science degree focused in Health Information Management Administration. She then obtained her RHIA credential. She has served on the NMHIMA board since 2016 and plans to advocate for the HIM profession. Her goal is to become a leader in the HIM field and to help the HIM community grow.
Michelle Bean, Ph.D., MSHA
Michelle Bean, Ph.D., MSHA a native of Delray Beach, Florida and proud graduate of Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Information Management. She obtained her Master of Science degree in Human Services with a specialization in Health Care Administration from Capella University in 2009. In constant pursuit of education, she completed Doctor of Philosophy in General Human Services. Her dissertation focused on: The Occurrences of Patient Information Breaches within Acute Care Hospitals.
Michelle has over 10 years of experience within the H.I.M. Field and is currently the H.I.M Director, at CHRISTUS St. Vincent in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has learned a wide range of disciplines within Health Information Management, Healthcare Administration, and Health Information Technology; especially in regards to the Electronic Health Record.
She is excited and passionate about the H.I.M. Field and the various opportunities that it has allowed her to experience over the past 10 years. As a volunteer member of NMHIMA Board, she is excited for the opportunity that it will allow her, to give back to the H.I.M. Profession. She looks forward to collaborating with other HIM professionals and students within the state of New Mexico and serving as the NMHIMA President Elect. And utilize her educational and professional skills, and knowledge developed. She will strive for the continued success of the association by working diligently to understand the procedures and components involved.
She enjoys running and putting together over 5,000 pieces jigsaw puzzles
Valentina is the Lovelace Health System Division Director for Health Information Management , where she provides HIM strategic leadership focusing on information governance. She graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the school of Allied Medical Professions with a concentration in Health Information Management and Systems. Valentina has served on the NMHIMA Board as a Member at Large from 2012-2018. During her tenure with the board she has facilitated participation among its members to provide them with the opportunity to advance their careers through avenues of advocacy, continuing education and certification. Her professional interest is to advocate for HIM locally and nationally to promote comprehensive and interoperable information technology among healthcare providers.
TREASURER, CSS, CPC, COC
I am currently the Outpatient Coding Supervisor for the University of New Mexico Hospital / SRMC HSC. I started in the medical field in the very late 70s in Southern California in a program called Northwest Regional occupational program and was certified as an X Ray tech assistant (back when you still developed Xrays!). During a break from the medical field I worked as a bookkeeper in a variety of areas.
I am currently working on my Bachelor’s in HIM. I hold a CCS, COC, CPC and am working on other certifications that pertain to what I do. I’ve been in the PFS and HIM field for over 25 years and have enjoyed all of it. I worked at Peacehealth in Washington state for many years and then in San Diego at Scripps.
The world of HIM is ever changing and therefore it lends itself to always having the opportunity to learn something new! I enjoy helping others’ get excited about what they do and show them how we impact a patient, even though it’s indirect. We all are a piece of the puzzle in patient care and affect each other. I’ve been fortunate to have worked in several areas within the hospital (even Pathology!) to understand that concept. Being a part of NMHIMA is a step in the process of helping and being proud of what you have chosen to do.
Rachel Martin, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P
Hello all! My name is Rachel Martin. Since my graduation in 2013 from the College of Saint Scholastica with a master’s degree in Health Information Management, I have been working in a myriad of revenue cycle management positions. In this profession, I have experience in medical coding, denials, charge capture, provider education, and process improvement. Currently, I am the Interim Director of Inpatient Coding at the University of New Mexico Hospital. I am passionate about my career and the greater HIM profession. As the upcoming Secretary, I look forward to volunteering my time and imparting my enthusiasm and capabilities to the association’s goals and outlook.
Dion Mendoza, RHIT
Dion began his career as a student doing a mentor-ship at St. Joseph West Mesa Hospital on Albuquerque’s west side which was an acute care hospital, skilled nursing center, and geropsych facility in 1987. He was hired into the HIM department as a clerk in 1988 and since then has gone on to do data analysis for infection control, has been a practice manager and consultant for several clinics, has served as HIM Operations Manager for St. Joseph/Lovelace Healthcare, was an HIM supervisor at Presbyterian Rust Medical Center, and is currently working as an HIM Technician at University of New Mexico Hospital. His career always seemed to lead back to HIM, so he decided to pursue his education and recently earned his RHIT, which he hopes to use to further enhance his career and to serve on the board of NMHIMA.
Kacey Holt, CCS, CCS-P
My name is Kacey Holt from Lovington, NM. I am married to Bob Holt and have two high school boys. We farm and ranch in Southeastern NM and I am currently employed at Nor Lea Hospital District. I graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in Agricultural Communications. I currently hold AHIMA credentials of CCS and CCS-P.
After staying home with my boys through their elementary school ages I returned to the work force. Bob and I had moved to Lovington and I started a job in Medical Records at Nor Lea Hospital District. I quickly moved from file clerk to Inpatient/Observation/ SNF/ Day Surgery Analyst. The hospital offered me an opportunity for education in the coding world. I completed my Coding Basics through ANIMA and sat for my CCS in February of 2012. I continued analyzing and eventually started coding for our 25 bed Critical Access Hospital, Professional Provider Clinic and Rural Health Clinic. In May of 2015, I sat for the CCS-P and currently am studying for the CDIP. I have been with Nor Lea Hospital District for 9 years. My future career goals including creating and implementing a district wide Clinical Documentation Program.
Our hospital is always on the move and as a staff member I have learned to move with it. We are a forward thinking CAH and Rural Health Clinic that believe that you can provide an excellent experience with each and every encounter. I consider this work environment to be a huge asset to the coding profession. Nothing stays the same. My strengths are learning, achieving, responsibility, restorative and consistency. These strengths allow me to keep up with the changing times, take the initiative to impellent changes, drive projects and maintain a high level of output.
Two expectations drive me to run for the Member-At-Large position; being the voice of the NMHIMA membership and planning and carrying out education. I currently chair our hospital’s Staff Advisory Committee and love the position that allows me to represent the staff’s concerns to the CEO himself. My experience with this committee alone has taught me to communicate passionate ideas to management for the good of the group. Also, to work with a team to complete desired tasks based on both staff and management requirements. The second expectation fits my desire for coding excellence and life-long drive to learn through education. I think education is the key to employee satisfaction. I have had the opportunity to both attend and teach excellent classes in areas of both work and social settings. I am confident with my experience and willingness to serve, I could be a great asset to the NMHIMA Board.
Patricia Garcia, RHIT
1st YEAR MEMBER AT LARGE
Hi, I am Patricia Garcia. I have been in HIM progressively for over 10 years. In my years in HIM, I have done medical transcription, Data Analyzing, Coding, Release of Information, Risk Management and many other opportunities. Health Information is a field that I truly enjoy. I am currently the HIM Director for the Department of Health (State of New Mexico). I received my Associate of Applied Science in Healthcare Administration in 2014, Associate of Applied Science Health Information Management Technology in 2016 and RHIT in 2017. I am currently working on my Bachelor of Science Business Management. I am really excited to serve on the NMHIMA board and cannot wait to meet all the professionals in HIM to gain and share knowledge.
Ernest Leslie, RHIT
3rd YEAR MEMBER AT LARGE
Ernest is an experienced Health Information Technologist who has worked for hospitals throughout his career, running a medical records department in a hospital in Santa Fe, then moving to Albuquerque, where initially, he worked as an HIM clerk for a smaller hospital, learning to create and manage charts and deal with ROI requests. Currently a Health Information Technologist at the University of New Mexico Hospital, Ernest plans on learning more from working in a larger hospital, trying to build on the knowledge he already has, and see what new opportunities might come his way. As Member-at-Large Ernest would like to learn from others in the HIM field, creating relationships around the state to see how HIM differs at each facility. To be that person willing to help and communicate effectively with others to find out how to help our HIM world grow. Ernest would be honored to represent his state in the career he is passionate about.
Angelica Stephens, RHIT, CCS-P