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Sarah S. Laird, RHIA, CCS


Sarah S. Laird, RHIA, CCS, is senior director of corporate coding at Novant Health (NH) in North Carolina. Since joining NH, Laird has participated in several key initiatives for the system, including: developed a remote and corporate coding department, increased coding accuracy, developed a Coding Career Ladder, created a Coding Academy to help onboard new coding graduates into successful coders at NH, led the department through Epic installs at each acute hospital while exceeding Epic and Deloitte’s best practice metrics for a coding department (pre- and post-installment), and develops a strong team member engagement throughout her remote department. She is active in both state and national professional affiliations (North Carolina Health Information Management Association and AHIMA) and has spoken on a variety of topics at both associations’ annual meetings.

Position Statement Question

What makes you uniquely qualified as an educator or practitioner to serve on CEE? (Please include what capacity/degree level of programming in academia.)


Position Statement Answer

I am passionate about creating and sustaining a pipeline of talent for our health information management industry. The Remote Coding Internship approach for our CAHIIM-accredited health IT programs in North Carolina started in 2016. The program allows Novant Health to provide internship experiences to all students enrolled at CAHIIM programs that we partner with and removes geographic barriers that would have otherwise limited opportunities for internships. This approach was recognized in 2017 with the AHIMA Triumph Award for Innovation.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have evolved our approach to keep everyone as safe as possible. Beginning in 2021, these internships are facilitated using a Zoom meeting platform, and are fully remote for students, faculty, and Novant Health team members facilitating the internship.

I hope to support the CEE as a visionary leader in our field and can assist in developing internship strategies needed to further support our educators in the future. As senior director of corporate coding at Novant Health, I believe it is critical for providers to create pathways for internships to occur in an electronic health record, with or without a pandemic. As alumnae of the Western Carolina University Health Information Administration program (2006), I am committed to supporting future talent entering our health information management industry.


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