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Brian Murphy

Brian Murphy, CPC, is director of the Association of Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists (ACDIS). Brian is also an executive editor in the revenue cycle division of ACDIS’ parent company HCPro, Inc.

2015 CDI Pocket Guide offers pediatric tips, new key references

2013 CDI Pocket Guide

2013 CDI Pocket Guide

The 2015 CDI Pocket Guide helps you take clinical findings and dig deeper, and look for additional details—such as medications and other conditions—to develop the most accurate picture of the patient’s condition.

Authors Richard D. Pinson, MD, FACP, CCS, and Cynthia L. Tang, RHIA, CCS, draw on more than fifty years’ cumulative experience and provide the clinical coding authority to strengthen patient care quality and resource utilization, and improve compliance and reimbursement.

The new 2015 edition of our popular CDI best-seller includes critical new updates from the 2015 IPPS Final Rule, and additional ICD-10 documentation tips to ensure you are ready for the national Oct. 1, 2015 compliance deadline. New to this year is additional information on Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) and how CDI specialists can incorporate VBP initiatives into their health record reviews.

What’s new in this edition:

  • Addition of pediatric clinical indicators and diagnostic criteria
  • New Key References for Shock, Neoplasms, Pneumothorax, Functional Quadriplegia, Cystic Fibrosis, Asthma, Intellectual Disability, and more
  • Standardized Key References format for each clinical topic: Definition, Diagnostic Criteria, Treatment, References, Coding and Documentation Challenges, and ICD-10
  • Content expansion of “MCC/CC” section to “Comorbid Conditions” that includes secondary diagnoses with a high impact focus for MS-DRG and APR-DRG, quality, and CMS Pay for Performance outcome metrics
  • Strategies for integrating CMS Pay for Performance initiatives into your CDI program
  • Expanded Reference citations of medical literature and other authoritative sources to support diagnostic definitions and criteria
  • Exclusive web-based resource center with detailed supplemental information and updates for all CDI Pocket Guide customers
  • Expanded and updated ICD-10 tips and strategies

Advisory Board nominations due today

We are currently seeking four new ACDIS members to join our advisory board in 2015. ACDIS advisors are important, volunteer positions that help shape the direction of the association and provide leadership and expertise for the membership. The term of service is a maximum of three years.

The deadline for returning completed applications is Monday, November 17, 2014. A nominating committee and the ACDIS membership will make final selections by January 2015.

The role and expectations of ACDIS advisory board members is described on the advisory board page.

Please fill out and submit the application form by clicking here.


ACDIS and its parent company HCPro were once again pleased to attend the annual American Health Information Management Association’s meeting–its 86th–which took place in San Diego, California. We attended some informative sessions and met lots of great people including (from left): AHIMA Foundation Executive Director Dr. Bill Rudman, AHIMA CFO Denise Froemming, ACDIS/HCPro Events Operations Coordinator Alex Dataldo, ACDIS/HCPro Senior Marketing Manager Sheila McGrath, ACDIS Director Brian D. Murphy, ACDIS/HCPro National Accounts Manager Brooke Drozdowicz, HCPro National Account Manager Chris Ferris, AHIMA Foundation Board of Directors Chairman Dr. Warren Jones.



Call for Advisory Board nominations open

Join ACDIS. Get the Journal. Get informed.

Consider volunteering for the ACDIS Advisory Board.

We are currently seeking four new ACDIS members to join our advisory board in 2015. ACDIS advisors are important, volunteer positions that help shape the direction of the association and provide leadership and expertise for the membership. The term of service is a maximum of three years.

The deadline for returning completed applications is Monday, November 17, 2014.

A nominating committee and the ACDIS membership will make final selections by January 2015. The role and expectations of ACDIS advisory board members is described on the advisory board page. If interested, please fill out and submit the application form. Thanks for your consideration of this important opportunity to serve our association.

ACDIS Membership Quarterly Conference Call scheduled

Don't miss the ACDIS Quarterly Conference Call!

Don’t miss the ACDIS Quarterly Conference Call!

The next ACDIS Quarterly Membership Conference Call is scheduled for Wednesday, August 27 (note: not typical Thursday), from 1 to2 p.m. Eastern. Dial-in instructions will be sent to ACDIS members this week (please check your spam filters and email permissions to ensure you receive important information from ACDIS about your membership benefits). If you are an ACDIS member and do not receive your dial-in instructions, contact Member Services Specialist Penny Richards at

These quarterly calls are a means for ACDIS members to network with one another and to discuss any CDI-related issues. We encourage your comments, thoughts, and questions during the call. If you have a question to ask the ACDIS advisory board, or general suggestions for discussion on the upcoming call, please email

Please note that due to heavy call volume, we recommend you dial in 10 minutes early.

Reminder: Participate in the CDI Week industry survey

The 3rd Annual CDI Week celebration begins!

Get ready for the 4th Annual CDI Week celebration!

The Association of Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists (ACDIS) is sponsoring the fourth annual Clinical Documentation Improvement Week on September 15-19, 2014. As part of the week’s offerings, we are providing an industry outlook survey on a handful of hot topics, with a special focus on quality. The summary results of the survey will be made publicly available.

Please take a few minutes to complete the 40-question survey by clicking here.

If you cannot access the survey, please copy and paste the following link into your web browser:

Thanks for your participation, and if you have any questions about the survey or Clinical Documentation Improvement Week don’t hesitate to email ACDIS Director Brian Murphy at

Deadline Extended: 2015 ACDIS Conference Speaker Proposals Due Sept. 5!

San Antonio in 2015!

San Antonio in 2015!

Dear Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI) professional,

The Association of Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists (ACDIS) is currently seeking speakers to present at the 2015 ACDIS eighth Annual Conference, to be held May 19-21, 2015 at the San Antonio Convention Center in San Antonio, TX.

Is that special person you or a colleague?

We seek speakers to present on all aspects of clinical documentation improvement. Advanced CDI sessions that push the profession forward are particularly welcome. Based on the learning needs identified by participants of the successful 2014 ACDIS Conference, several topics have emerged as areas of great interest within the ACDIS community. We are seeking potential speakers for the 2015 ACDIS conference with expertise in the following tracks and sessions:

Track 1: Management and leadership

  • Metrics: Selecting metrics to measure individual and program progress, analysis and interpretation of data, and presenting to administration
  • Managing CDI staff, including training new CDI, establishing career ladders, auditing staff, and rewarding high performers/managing under performing CDI specialists
  • Coverage of floors/CDI specialization by service line
  • Remote CDI: Management and operational issues
  • Dual coding and CDI, including benchmarking, team building, and education plans
  • Electronic health records, including implementation, battling note bloat and copy/paste, managing problem lists, etc.
  • Engaging physicians in CDI
  • Educating physicians (veteran docs, first year residents, etc.)
  • Principles of effective leadership

Track 2: Clinical and coding

  • Coding Clinic and Official Coding Guidelines updates
  • Surgical procedures (CDI/coder with surgeon co-presenters welcomed), emphasis on ICD-10-PCS
  • Complex diagnoses in ICD-9/ICD-10 (i.e., functional quadriplegia, respiratory failure, acute kidney injury, neurology/encephalopathy, etc.)
  • Advanced chart review techniques, including interpreting subtle clinical indicators
  • Complications of surgery vs. inherent to procedure
  • Dealing with unsupported diagnoses in the medical record
  • ICD-10 preparation

Track 3: Quality and regulatory initiatives

  • Reviewing for Patient Safety Indicators
  • Reviewing for Hospital Acquired Conditions and Present on Admission
  • Value Based Purchasing
  • Readmission Reduction program
  • Utilization review and CDI (medical necessity, 2 Midnight Rule, CMS Hospital Admission Reduction Program, etc.)
  • Hierarchical condition categories (HCCs)
  • Mortality/retrospective reviews
  • Recovery Auditor and denials management
  • Incorporating core measures (i.e., CMS Quality Measures) into CDI review

Track 4: Innovative CDI

  • Revenue cycle: Overview and its relationship to CDI
  • Pediatrics
  • Obstetrics
  • Outpatient CDI: Definitions (ER, observation, ambulatory surgery, clinics, etc.), starting/implementing a program, and defining metrics for success
  • Other settings, including Long Term Acute Care, inpatient psychiatry, critical access, etc.
  • CDI in the ED
  • Physician advisor specific sessions
  • Risk models (Healthgrades, Leapfrog, etc.)—a review of their formulas and using them to promote physician buy-in
  • ACOs, healthcare reform, and the future of CDI

Note: If you don’t see your hot topic listed here, please write and let us know what expertise you can bring to the podium! Original ideas not included above are welcomed.

Submission form and deadline
Please click this link, complete the form, and submit it to us no later than end of day Friday, Sept. 5. Speakers are welcome to submit more than one session, but must fill out a separate form for each submission. Conference sessions are typically one hour in length. Selected presenters will be expected to submit materials at a later date.

Please be sure to complete all the fields. Leaving the form open for a lengthy period may cause it to “time out,” so you may wish to draft your submission in a separate word document and paste it into the appropriate fields to ensure proper transmission.

We look forward to hearing from you! If you’d like more information or wish to discuss a speaking topic, please e-mail ACDIS Director Brian Murphy.

2015 Conference Committee volunteers sought

San Antonio in 2015!

San Antonio in 2015!

With a successful 7th annual ACDIS conference now a pleasant memory, it is time to turn our attention to the 2015 program. Thanks to the input from the more than 1,200 2014 conference attendees we are already well on our way with some exciting new ideas for 2015.

But we still need the help of a core group of dedicated volunteers. The 2015 ACDIS Conference Committee will meet via telephone conference and webinar on a regular basis. The 12-member team will establish core topic suggestions, review speaker applications and presentation proposals, assess presentations to determine audience level, and ultimately select all 2015 speakers. The Conference Committee will also select the 2015 CDI Professional of the Year Award winner as well as the two Recognition of Professional Achievement Award recipients.

Those interested in serving on the 2015 ACDIS Conference Committee must be active ACDIS members and have attended at least two previous ACDIS conferences. To volunteer, please download this application form, fill it out, and email it to ACDIS Director Brian Murphy by Friday, June 13.

Next ACDIS quarterly conference call on Thursday, May 29

ACDIS quarterly conference call Thursday.

ACDIS quarterly conference call Thursday.

The next ACDIS quarterly conference call will be held on Thursday, May 29, 1-2 p.m. ET. Please note that due to heavy call volume, we recommend that you dial in 10 minutes early. Among other subjects, discussion will include the following topics:

  • CDI beyond reimbursement: Medical necessity (special guest Glenn Krauss with reference to Novitas Solutions: E/M Service: Face-to-Face Documentation; and the following .ppt:  Medical Necessity.
  • Implementing electronic queries (special guest Michael McKelvey)
  • Querying for hyponatremia in the setting of hyperglycemia
  • Including physician “teaching” in queries/functional quadriplegia
  • Obesity/BMI as a secondary DX
  • Meditech and queries
  • Clinical vs. coding guidelines

These calls are offered as a means for ACDIS members to network with one another and to discuss any clinical documentation improvement related issues. We will have a few ACDIS Advisory Board members on the call as well. Conference calls are a great way to ask a question, air any and all CDI concerns, or gather input on a policy or procedure at your hospital. While we cannot guarantee your question or discussion point will be addressed on the call, we will try to work in as many as possible. Note that we cannot answer questions relating to specific code assignment (i.e., which code to assign in a given clinical situation). However, questions about diagnosis sequencing, DRGs, ICD-10 preparedness, etc. are welcomed.

If you are an ACDIS member and did not receive your dial-in instructions please email Penny Richards at at least one-hour prior to the start of the program.

Thanks to the ACDIS Support Team

The 7th annual ACDIS conference has come and gone and I wanted to pause for a moment and thank the (in some instances) behind-the-scenes staff for all their tremendous efforts in Las Vegas. As some of attendees well-know, these conferences are a ton of hard work—(very) early mornings, long days on sore feet, and some long evenings as well. I know that our attendees and ACDIS members were as impressed as I was with our staff members’ hard work and dedication. It was truly all hands on deck. A few note-worthy performances I wanted to recognize:

Steven Andrews, David Horvath, Laurie Prescott, Sharme Brodie: These folks did a terrific job as room moderators, dealing with rooms filled to capacity and overflowing, as well as a breakout track on the 26th floor of the hotel. Steven works with us on JustCoding for outpatient services. David is a marketing specialist in our HCPro revenue cycle. Laurie and Sharme teach our CDI Boot Camps. Although this was their first time attending an ACDIS conference, I would never have known they were brand-new. Their professionalism and resourcefulness was much appreciated.

Shannon McCall and Julie McCoy: Too bad they weren’t born in the 1920s, because in my opinion they missed their calling as elevator operators. Although Shannon’s day job is leading our coding Boot Camp team and Julie is the Director of Live and Online Training for HCPro, they both jumped in to help guide attendees to the elevators and up to the 26th floor for breakout sessions and helped participants handle the wait time with a smile.

Cheryl Ericson and Laurie Prescott: Great job at our pre-con ICD-10 Boot Camps. The early reviews were impressive and it was a great way to kick off the conference.

Maggie Collins, Kerry Neenan, and Alexandra Datalo: These wonderful ladies did a fantastic job helping register more than 40 exhibitors in a huge hall. Behind the scenes in the weeks and months leading up to the conference they helped work through registration, established connections with the hotel staff, and generally ensured that the conference ran smoothly.

Chris Farris, Al Occhipinti, Maureen Croce, Brooke Drozdowicz, Rachel Dicker, Sheila McGrath, Erin O’Shea, Penny Richards, and Melissa Varnavas all did a terrific job explaining the various books, pocket guides, white papers, newsletters, and other products available to help CDI programs train their staff and grow. They  represent the best of HCPro and ACDIS and were ready to listen to attendees concerns and offer appropriate advice. I know they enjoyed being able to meet and reconnect with many of you.

Wendy Walsh: As our premier ACDIS conference producer, Wendy helped ensure that every speaker chosen received the best guidance possible. She kept track of speakers’ presentations, made sure their travel arrangements were set, ensured their presentations met ANCC continuing education requirements, and a host of other tasks required to keep the sessions full of quality information.

Kathy Wilson: As our events planner, Kathy did an outstanding job as usual helping to hold it all together. She is the glue.

Inevitably, I have left other helpful staff members off this list, members such as the production folks who created our workbooks and our operations manager who worked the weekend prior to the conference start to make sure all our shipments arrived on time despite inclement weather and delivery delays.

We have a great team here at HCPro, and I just wanted to take a moment to publicly thank them. More than ever it is important to acknowledge the greater team behind the faces you know as ACDIS. Just as your CDI efforts require the support of many different departments and individuals–so too is the success of ACDIS.

I know that 2015 in San Antonio will be just as amazing. See you there.