Tracey Pinelli

BS in Health Information Management

Class of 2023

Tracey Pinelli
"It has always been a dream of mine to be a registered health information administrator and this program, and its flexibility, allowed me to reach my goal."

Why did you decide to join the BS in Health Information Management program?

I decided to join the BS in HIM program at CUNY SPS because at the time I had been working in HIM for 18 years.  I am a DRG validator and CDI professional who has years of inpatient coding experience, and I wanted the credential that matched my skill set.  It has always been a dream of mine to be a RHIA and this program, and its flexibility, allowed me to reach my goal.

Why did you choose to continue your education online at CUNY SPS?

Everyone in HIM who is from NY knows that there are very few HIM programs in NY state and even fewer 4-year BS programs.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that CUNY SPS offered the HIM degree and that I would receive considerable credit for the credentials that I already held.

What was your motivation for returning to school for your bachelor’s degree?

My motivation was my desire to be in a more leadership role in HIM and or CDI and I also wanted to be able to help HIM professionals that have come after me. I was helped a lot at the beginning of my career, and I wanted to do the same for others.

Which skills have you acquired during your time at CUNY SPS that you believe will help you excel in the HIM field?

I have learned management and project management skills that I did not have before beginning the HIM program. I was always a good coder, but the skills learned here at CUNY SPS will do much to help me obtain a leadership role in HIM.

Can you talk about the connections/relationships you formed with your professors and other CUNY SPS students?

Since graduation, I have kept in touch with a few students who have become my friends.  We took many classes together toward the end of the program that allowed us to build a strong bond.  It was so nice to see them at graduation as well. I also built a great relationship with a few of my professors in my last two semesters. The classes became so intense that weekly group Zoom meetings with professors and students were the norm. I was comfortable enough to ask one of these professors for a recommendation for the MS in HIM program that I am currently enrolled in. 

In which ways have you grown as a result of your studies at CUNY SPS?

I have become more involved in student activities and feel more connected to school life. I am currently the president of the HIM Club and that is a role that I never would have taken on at the beginning of my CUNY SPS journey.

What kind of impact do you think your degree will have on your career/life?

My HIM degree makes me uniquely qualified in a way that most are not.  HIM is still what I call “one of the best-kept career secrets” and RHIAs are not readily available in the HIM work environment due to many not being aware of HIM and the lack of HIM programs.

What advice would you offer someone who is considering an online program?

I would tell a person who is considering an online program to be aware of time management and to start slowly.  Perhaps take one or two classes to begin with and gradually increase if they are able. I would also advise them to take advantage of all resources that are made available to them. CUNY SPS has many that helped me tremendously.

What does your future look like after CUNY SPS?

After I complete the MS in HIM program, I would like to continue in the field of CDI/HIM but I also see myself teaching in an HIM program.  There are so few programs and instructors in HIM and I think that I would have a lot to offer.

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