Meet the Board
Mechel McKinney, MBA, RHIA
Mechel McKinney, MBA, RHIA, is a full-time HIM program faculty member at Missouri Western State University School of Nursing and Health Professions. Formerly and for many years, she was part of the HIT program at CNM as full-time faculty and program director. She continues to teach part-time in the school of Business and Information Technology.
Mechel is a native New Mexican and proudly represents the Dine’ (Navajo) tribe. She started her HIM profession as a coder at a critical access hospital then directed her career to HIM management as the HIM Operations Director for Lovelace Health System in 1999.
Mechel is a NMHIMA past president, serving in 2007-08. Her areas of expertise are health information management, business operations, higher education, curriculum design, Quality Matters online course design, and training.
The New Mexico CSA is a treasure trove of expertise in all things health information-related. There is potential to do much with the information we have and can obtain through collaboration. Participation from all NM health information professionals is a needed benefit to healthcare in New Mexico. Sharing our HI knowledge is a crucial component.
Shawna Ramey, RHIT, CHPS, CCS, CompTIA+
Shawna Ramey has 27 years in the ancillary healthcare industry mostly in the areas of revenue cycle. Shawna is the Director of Health Information Management at San Juan Regional Medical Center. She leads a team of 13 HIM professionals both remotely and on-site. She sits on the board for the HIM program at San Juan College. She often with the students in the program to complete their practicum hours through San Juan Regionals HIM department. Shawna often works with students and employees to help pass their upcoming credentialing exams. She is a current student at Western Governors University working toward a bachelor’s in health information management and hopes to sit for the RHIA credential soon after. Working with the CSA provides us the opportunity work with our local communities to increase healthcare knowledge. We have a responsibility to the public to share our knowledge and support their information needs.
Patricia Garcia, RHIT
Patricia Garcia, BS, RHIT, is a proud native of New Mexico. Patricia is a graduate of San Juan College with an Associates of Applied Science in Health Information Technology, she has an Associates of Applied Science in Healthcare Administration from Pima Medical Institute. She received her Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management from Western Governor’s University.
With over 14 years in the HIM profession, she is passionate in helping spread the importance of health information management as it pertains to the overall health and good of the State of New Mexico. My professional certifications include an RHIT and CompTIA Project Plus.
She enjoys weightlifting, running, camping, traveling and enjoying all that New Mexico has to offer alongside her husband and three sons.
Bonita Garcia, CCS, CPC, COC, CDEO
I am currently the Interim Outpatient Coding Manager and Inpatient Coding supervisor for the University of New Mexico Hospitals (UNMH). I started in the medical field in the very late 70s in Southern California in the Northwest Regional occupational program. I was certified as an X-Ray tech assistant (back when you still developed X-rays!). During a break from the medical field, I worked as a bookkeeper—Office Manager in various areas.
I just completed my bachelor’s degree in HIM and will begin in the Master’s program. I hold a CCS, COC, CPC, and CDEO certifications. My next certification will be my RHIA. I’ve been in the PFS and HIM fields 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.
Laura De La Cruz, MBA, MPA, Ph.D. (ABD)
MEMBER AT LARGE (3rd year)
My name is Laura De La Cruz. I teach in the HIT Program at DACC (NMSU) in Las Cruces. I have been teaching in the Healthcare field for about 10 years. I have Board experience at the College level (President of Faculty Council), State level (Past-President of NMDLA), and National level (Membership Director for NM for MPBEA). I have 2 Masters degrees (Master in Public Administration and MBA with Healthcare Management Specialty) and am ABD on a PhD in Business with a Healthcare Management Specialty.
I am willing to serve and help support the mission of NMHIMA.
Beth McLeod, MS IHM, RHIA, CCS, CDIP
MEMBER AT LARGE (2nd year)
I have been in health information management in various capacities for over ten years now, with some roles including HIM Director, Billing and Coding Specialist, and HIT Program Director. In my previous role, I was the HIT program director for the CAHIIM accredited HIT program at CNM. Currently, I have returned to school for a master’s of instructional design and have begun doing instructional design work full-time. As I still love teaching and the field of health information management, I have also started working part-time as a medical coding and billing instructor at Carrington College.
Jennifer Jimenez, CCA, CPC-A
MEMBER AT LARGE (1st year)
I reside in Santa Fe, NM and desire continued NMHIMA Board membership.
In 2020/2021, I was elected the Student Board Member and would appreciate the opportunity to continue my efforts and participation as an NMHIMA Member-At-Large board member.
I am enthusiastic about the long-term goals that the current NMHIMA Board has begun to establish. I feel that I can also be a voice for the Northern New Mexico Community.
Currently, I have the following certifications: CCA (AHIMA) and CPC-A (AACP). In addition, in Summer 2021, I begin Graduate School in Health Informatics at the University of Maryland Global College.
Pamela Burns, RHIT, AS HIT, MHA in progress
I am a self-motivated healthcare professional that has been involved in the healthcare field since age 17. I wanted to make a difference in my career and show my daughters that you can achieve anything in life, which prompted me to start my education. I am a single mom who works full-time while attending school full-time. I am interested in networking within the industry using my education. I love to learn and look forward to learning as much as I can with any new opportunity.
I have 25 years of HIM experience, from clinic coding through regional HIM director positions. I’ve worked for for-profit and not-for-profit facilities from New York to California and have especially enjoyed working in Albuquerque and Las Cruces. New Mexico is a very beautiful state that I’d like to help the HIIM profession get recognized more for the important role they play in all aspects of healthcare.
Kris Knight, MS, MBA, RHIA
NMHIMA STATE ADVOCACY LEADER
Kris Knight is a healthcare management professional specializing in operational efficiency tactics, client retention strategies, and targeted communication planning. She is currently the VP of Clinical Documentation at Savista. Over her almost 20 years at Savista, she has also been a Client Services Director, Project Manager, and HIM Consultant. Aside from her experience at Savista, Kris has been an Interim CEO, HIM Director, Patient Access Director, and Coding Manager at a range of healthcare organizations.
In 2021, Kris attained her Masters of Global Studies and International Relations from Northeastern University. She earned an MBA with a Marketing Concentration from the University of New Mexico in 2004. She received her Health Information Administration degree from Indiana University in 1996.
Gail Fuller, BA, CCA
NMHIMA STUDENT LIAISON
I have worked in healthcare for more than 20 years in medical billing, inpatient and outpatient coding, and in small practices and large hospitals. I am currently an assistant professor and a part of the HIT Program at Dona Ana Community College.
I reside in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I presently teach the billing and coding classes in Health Information Technology Program. I have mentored, tutored and assisted numerous students in earning their Coding certifications. I also recruit internship opportunities for our students across Southern NM. Furthermore, I have an extensive working relationship with many individuals in our healthcare community. I Joined AHIMA three years ago and became a member of NMHIMA 3 years ago as well. I have taught HIT and Medical Billing and Coding courses for 7 years now. My Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, and that plus working in Healthcare Information field, have given me a solid foundation along with my current AHIMA credentials. I am using my knowledge base and experience in online teaching to create a better and effective online experience for students.
CODING ROUNDTABLE CHAIR
HOUSE OF DELEGATES 21-22
Mechel McKinney, MBA, RHIA
See bio above
Shawna Ramey, RHIT, CHPS, CCS
See bio above
Jennifer Jimenez, CCA, CPC-A
See bio above
Cynthia Kinnaman, BS, RHIT
Cynthia Kinnaman, BS, RHIT, is a New Mexico Native with over 20 years of experience in the health information field. She is a graduate of Central New Mexico Community College, where she received an Associate degree in Health Information Technology. Cynthia went on to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science from the University of Cincinnati.
Cynthia has health information management experience in a variety of healthcare settings across the west. She was the HIM Manager at one of Oregon’s major healthcare systems. In this role, Cynthia oversaw HIM operations over two hospitals.
She also has worked for a New Mexico-based integrated delivery network as its HIPAA expert. Not only did she oversee Release of Information operations at this organization, but she also provided state-wide education and consultation on this function for all of its employees.
Currently, Cynthia works for Community Health Systems at the Carlsbad Medical Center location. She is the HIM Director and Facility Privacy Officer.
Cynthia enjoys her two grandchildren in her downtime and has a busy household with her three dogs.