Penny Begay Takes Over as New Health Information Management Director

A Humboldt General Hospital staff member known for her excellent work ethic and product now heads up the Health Information Management department.

Penny Begay has worked at the hospital for more than 20 years. In that time, Begay has seen many changes, but says she is sure of one thing: “HGH has definitely improved every year since I’ve started.”

According to Chief Financial Officer Sandi Lehman, Begay’s contributions to those improvements cannot be overlooked.

“Penny is a model employee, a hard worker and a confidence keeper,” said Lehman. “She is fun to be around, but serious about her obligations; we count her among our greatest assets.”

Penny began working at HGH in January 1994 as a receptionist, although the majority of her time has been in billing and medical records. She previously worked in the medical records (Health Information Management) department for 4-5 years.

In her new position, she oversees the medical records department, now known in hospital-wide vernacular as the Health Information Management (HIM) department.

Every time healthcare personnel treat a patient, they record what they observed and how the patient was treated medically. This record includes information the patient provides concerning his or her symptoms and medical history, as well as the results of examinations, reports of X-rays and laboratory tests, diagnoses and treatment plans.

Humboldt General Hospital is in the process of converting all health information to Electronic Medical Records, which Begay says will improve patient care and care coordination.

Additionally, new ICD-10 coding, the coding system that hospitals and physicians use to record all diagnoses, symptoms, and procedures, began last October. Begay says that too will provide improvements, especially with regard to claims processing with all insurances.

Begay’s job is to oversee the organization, analysis and management of this health information and to ensure its quality, accuracy, accessibility, security, and proper disclosure—and her days are busy.

“But I really enjoy working with our staff and managers at HGH,” she says. “We are all working and dedicated toward the same goal: providing the best hospital care in Winnemucca.”

Begay added, “I am so grateful to be able to work for a fantastic facility.”

Begay is a graduate of Lowry High School. Her daughter and son-in-law live in Denver, Colorado; in September 2014, they blessed Begay with a beautiful grandson. Begay enjoys spending time with her family, most of whom live and work in Winnemucca.