Penny Richards is the ACDIS Member Services Specialist. She is your primary contact for membership questions, including those about certification, recertification, continuing education credits, and employer verification inquiries.
Date: Friday, December 6
Time: 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Dekalb Medical Center, Decatur
Agenda: Celina Guardiola, JD, RN, Assoc. Director CDI Consulting at Optum discusses “ICD-10: Maximizing the opportunities and mitigating the risks.” CEUs will be offered
Contact: Maria Mann, Georgia.firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit the Georgia Facebook page.
Cost: $10; $25 for membership
Date: Friday, December 13
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Location: Maryland Hospital Association,Elkridge
Agenda: Holiday pot luck and “Toys for Tots” drive
Contact: Andrea Norris, email@example.com
Date: Thursday, December 19
Time: Noon to 1 p.m.
Contact: Susan Haley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Thursday, January 9
Time: 1:30 to 3 p.m.
Location: The Hospital of Central Connecticut, New Britain Campus
Contact: MaryAnn Shanley, email@example.com
Date: Wednesday, January 15
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Lucille’s in Tempe Town Marketplace (Hwy 101, McClintock, & Rio Salado).
Contact: Gloria Richardson, firstname.lastname@example.org
One of your ACDIS colleagues recently posted an open CDI position on the ACDIS job board. Today, he wrote back to tell us that within days of the post going live on the ACDIS site, they received an application from a CDI nurse who had just moved into the city. She’d been searching on the ACDIS job board, found the opening, applied, and got the position.
“I think [the job board] is great for both prospective employers desperately looking for CDI specialists to fill vacant positions, as well as CDI professionals looking for a job/change,” he said. “I can say from my personal experience that it takes three to six months to find quality CDI staff since the demand outweighs supply. So finding a good CDI specialist for our program, at such a quick turnaround rate was a miracle! Perfect timing! Plus the service was free (since I am an ACDIS member) and we did not have to pay external search agency fees which can cost between $10,000 to $20,000. Awesome service! Love ACDIS!” he said.
Have you used the ACDIS job board? As an ACDIS member you can post up to four openings in a calendar year. Why not give it a try. It’s free!
We recently removed several names from the CCDS certification list because those people did not recertify in a timely manner.
We send email reminders in advance of the holder’s recertification due date. When people fail to respond to email notices, we send a letter by U.S. mail.
Our mailing lists are only as good as the information you provide. If you have changed jobs or personal email accounts and have not updated your information with us, there’s a good chance we can’t get in touch with you.
Ultimately it is your responsibility to know when your CCDS expires. It expires two years from the date on which you passed the exam, and then every two years on that same date. The date you passed the exam is on your certificate.
Your Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist (CCDS) re-certification is due by the two-year anniversary of the date you passed the exam. You may re-certify at your convenience and if you need more time, there is a 45-day grace period.
Let’s use an example of someone who passed the CCDS exam two years ago today, on October 7, 2011: This person would need to re-certify by October 7, 2013. Using the 45-day grace period, it is due no later than November 21, 2013. To re-certify, you need to submit continuing education credits earned during the two year period that you held the CCDS certification (so, from October 7, 2011 to October 7, 2013).
The effective date of your re-certification (regardless of the date you submit it) is from the date it is due and then out two years (from October 7, 2013 to October 7, 2015).
When you are ready to renew, complete the re-certification application, and send it, along with proof of CEUs and the applicable fee, to the address on the application (mail, fax, or email). The application is available on the ACDIS website.
There is no current plan to restructure the CCDS re-certification requirements to include any specific number or level of ICD-10-related continuing education units.
Questions? Email Penny Richards, member services specialist.
Most people hear “ACDIS” and think “Brian Murphy and Melissa Varnavas.” Over the last two years, I’ve put my name out there as well, managing the CCDS program and member services.
But believe me, it takes many more people than we three to keep the well-oiled machine that is ACDIS operating efficiently and (seemingly) effortlessly. It’s impossible to list every person and show you their happy faces, so we picked a few folks here at the home office to introduce to you. Each of them does some work on ACDIS–related matters and represent coworkers in their departments and across the company that help us bring the Association to you.
Lodzia Marchwinski is the director of planning and analysis, which means she’s our numbers lady. She takes our ideas and numbers and works them into smart plans and direction so we move forward with huge success.
Wendy Walsh is a senior producer for broadcast and live events. For ACDIS, she’s a people manager. She’s the one who coordinates all of our ACDIS conference speakers’ contracts, itineraries, slide presentations, and PDFs, along with all of their special needs and requests. When they’re happy, you have a great conference.
Alex Datalo is our traffic specialist. No, she doesn’t stand out in traffic, she’s a logistics chick. She makes sure our stuff gets from here to there in a timely manner (like our marketing brochures from the printer to the mailhouse, and the ACDIS booth and all of the materials to our conference).
Craig Chernov and Jim Ronan are our office services guys. They manage collateral and product inventory at the home office, ship everything from letters and small packages to huge containers of conference materials, deliver the mail you send us, and keep the facility humming so we can spend our work hours being very productive.
Mike Calabro is a relationship manager. He helps bring all those great vendors and sponsors to the conference, and is the mystery man behind that voice you hear but can’t understand in the exhibit hall (because of the crummy acoustics).
Marion Boudreault is a customer service representative. She handles your calls with cool confidence, processes orders and payments, clears up problems, offers sage advice, and does it all while being lovely, even without fresh lipstick.
Mike Mirabello (top) and Steve Dinis (right front) are two of our production specialists. They design and layout all the materials for our broadcast and live events as well as all our annual conference materials. They turn conference speakers’ presentations into your workbooks and slide presentations. They also design and produce our ACDIS books and newsletters. Along with a group of very talented designers, they add the color and graphical pizzazz to the words and in short, make everything our products and collateral look fabulous.
Jess Carbone is our media specialist who has one of the most important jobs associated with the annual conference. She’s in charge of the badge printing process, and bats pretty close to 100%. Not only does she print ‘em, she alphabetizes ‘em, stuffs ‘em into plastic holders, and sorts ‘em into shipping cases. There are always a few folks who forgot to give us a credential, or whose handwriting we interpret into a misspelling (we fix these on site). We love Jess and no one here wants this job. She is also in charge of the video production for our online boot camps. After a few years of filming many takes, we’re sure that she could write a compliant query and help maximize reimbursement.
Kathy Wilson is our conference goddess. She coordinates every single event detail with the hotels, convention centers, caterers, moving companies, security, electricians, carpenters, carpet installers, and the other myriad professionals that it takes to make a great conference. Kathy can make anything happen and we all bow to her greatness. She wasn’t available for a photo so we’re identifying her with Red Sox.
Those are a few of the people on our team, who help us do what we do. I hope you enjoyed meeting them.
As you may have read in the August 29 CDI Strategies, we will be changing the eligibility standards required to sit for the Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist (CCDS) exam.
Effective January 1, 2014, candidates must have a minimum of two years of documentation specialist experience in order to qualify. Applications may be audited to verify work history and educational background.
- Candidates must have at least two years of experience as a documentation specialist experience or equivalent.
- Once a candidate has accumulated the time, it does not expire (for example if an individual changes roles and then comes back to CDI after a time out of the profession).
- All work experience must be met by the application deadline.
Candidates must demonstrate that they meet one of the following requirements:
- An RHIA®, RHIT®, CCS®, CCS-P®, RN, MD, or DO, and two (2) years’ experience as a concurrent documentation specialist.
- An associate’s degree (or equivalent education) in an allied health field and three (3) years of experience as a concurrent documentation specialist. The education component must include completed coursework in medical terminology and anatomy and physiology.
- Formal education (accredited, college-level course work) in human anatomy and/or physiology, plus medical terminology, and disease processes, and a minimum three (3) years’ experience as a concurrent documentation specialist.
Applicants who qualify for the exam under current requirements (visit the certification page of the ACDIS website for details) may apply by December 31, 2013.
Applicants have one calendar year from the date their name is submitted to the exam company to schedule and take their exam.
Please direct questions to ACDIS Membership Services Specialist Penny Richards at email@example.com.
By Laurie Prescott, MSN, RN, CCDS
Six years ago I left a position as the director of education at a large hospital and took on the role of CDI specialist. I was not sure what the role entailed or how I was going do it but knew that with more than 20 years in nursing I had the tools I needed to succeed. I had spent the majority of my nursing career in acute care, primarily medical surgical with experience in ICU, PACU, endoscopy, one-day surgery as well as medical units. I worked as a unit manager of MED/SURG and ICU units, adjunct professor for an ADN program and then moved to onsite education and clinical support of nursing staff, before making the change to CDI. I knew I brought a strong clinical background, exposure to a wide variety of healthcare organizations and a specialty of education to the table, but also knew that I had little experience with healthcare reimbursement, MS-DRGs, and coding practices.
Fortunately, my new supervisor took a chance on me, a risk I will forever appreciate, and offered an experienced team of coders to train me and the patience to let me learn and grow and try new things. Together, we built a very successful CDI program. So far, this has been one my proudest career accomplishments. Yet now I proudly embark on another career shift.
Change can be stressful and frightening but that is precisely why it is so exhilarating. And it is why, when I made the decision to join the HCPro/ACDIS team as the new CDI Boot Camp instructor, I did not hesitate. As a person who actually enjoys change (strange I know), the challenges of CDI and the growth of our specialty over the last few years have been a welcomed challenge.
Now I am packing up those experiences and taking them with me in my new role. I am so excited to use my skills in new ways and grow each day by taking on new challenges and learning new skills from the ACDIS team and all the students I will potentially be teaching.
On a personal level, I have two daughters who are now young ladies. One recently graduated and the other is entering her junior year in college. The nest is on the verge of being empty, and while bittersweet, it will enable me to travel the country teaching and engaging in a new chapter of my life.
My other “child” is a 120-pound lab/Pyrenees mix by the name of Romeo. Although he won’t be able to join me in my travels, I am sure some pet hair will cling to me wherever I go! My husband of almost 30 years and I love to spend our spare time riding our the motorcycle (a midlife crisis purchase!) and are now beginning to think about where we will settle and spend our retirement (although it is still a number of years away).
That is why this change is a positive one for me, time to spread my wings a little, meet and learn from a whole new group of people and expand my horizons, and help others who struggle with the challenges of CDI and ICD-10.
Editor’s Note: Prescott became ACDIS’ second full-time CDI education specialist starting her role at HCPro, Inc., based in Danvers, Mass., last week. She brings a rich background in CDI, nursing, and education to the position. She will spend her first weeks working with CDI Education Director Cheryl Ericson and ACDIS Director Brian Murphy, observing CDI and CDI for ICD-10 Boot Camps. Please join us in welcoming her to the team; contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many of you have been patiently waiting, and it’s finally ready—the CDI Week poster is available for download on the ACDIS site.
Our designer’s interpretation of the theme—“ICD-10: Preparing for tomorrow today”—is right on the money. The image is one of a stop watch with the months between now and October 2014 set around the circle, as the numbers would be on a clock. You can almost hear it ticking. Visit the CDI Week toolkit to download the poster.
You’ll also find a CDI Week case study by Sherri A. Clark, BSN, RN-BC, CCDS, CDI specialist at The University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, which describes how her facility went “back to school” to prepare for ICD-10.
After you download the poster and case study, check out the Week’s Activities page for ideas about things to do to engage your clinical staff in CDI education. There’s a great activity called “Two Truths and a Lie.” It takes a little advance planning but it’s a fun way to learn some interesting facts about your CDI teammates and clinical partners. Or download the sample CDI-Physician Engagement wedding skit and get some volunteers to perform it for the team.
Don’t forget to send in photos and success stories to ACDIS Associate Director Melissa Varnavas. She’ll share them on the blog and choose a few for the CDI Week special section. Who knows, your great idea might expand horizons and opportunities for a program across town or thousands of miles away and it might even earn you a prize like a book or complimentary audio conference.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in CDI Strategies.
Although ACDIS will continue to publish lists of recent Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist (CCDS) credential holders, only those who obtained their certification within the previous six months will be listed. Older lists are being taken off the website. There are a few reasons for doing this.
- Not everyone who earns the CCDS renews it. Individuals who do not re-certify in a timely manner* (and after ACDIS’ attempts to make contact) will have their credential revoked. It is important that individuals who hold the CCDS notify ACDIS of address and/or email changes so we can reach you with reminders as your re-certification becomes due.
- Not everyone who earns the CCDS remains working in the field.
- People marry and names sometime change.
We frequently receive requests from employers looking to confirm whether a person holds a valid CCDS and we are happy do so upon email inquiry to ACDIS Membership Services Specialist Penny Richards.
CCDS holder receive one certificate and certification pin upon successful completion of the exam. At renewal, ACDIS sends a wallet-sized card with notice of a successful re-certification. Upon your successful recert you’ll get a notification email and a wallet card shortly thereafter by mail.
*If your CCDS expired in 2011 or 2012 and you did not renew, it is no longer valid. You will have to take the exam again to certify.
From the non-clinical ACDIS Membership Services Specialist Penny Richards (follow her on Twitter at
- Drink plenty of fluids. A cocktail now and again is not a bad thing (but not at work or if you plan to drive).
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Make a donation to a food pantry.
- Pay someone a compliment.
- Pat a puppy.
- Say “No” when you need to.
- Give yourself a break.
- Don’t take everything too seriously
From Dee (Schad) Banet, RN, BSN, CCDS, CDIP, ACDIS Advisory Board Member, and Director Care Coordination and CDI at Clark Memorial Hospital, in Jeffersonville, Ind.:
- Share your passion
- Always do the right thing for the right reason (integrity)
- Persistence is a virtue ( a ‘no’ today could be a ‘yes’ tomorrow)
- Assertive v. aggressive, a fine but important line in CDI (and my advice is—don’t cross that line)
- Education will get you everywhere
From Sharin L. Cancilla, RHIT, CCDS, former Michigan ACDIS Chapter state leader, CDI specialist at Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills, Mich.:
- My advice is simple – educate, educate, educate! You’re either learning or you’re teaching. Go to classes, seminars and meetings and learn. Then go back to your colleagues, docs, and administration and teach them what you’ve learned.