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Florida ACDIS meeting scheduled for June

Doesn't Tampa General look beautiful?

Doesn't Tampa General look beautiful?

The second Florida ACDIS meeting will be held on June 19, 2-6 p.m. at Tampa (FL) General Hospital. This meeting will concentrate on the future of Florida ACDIS and the role of Clinical Documentation. Darlene Shelffo, manager of CDI at TGH will unveil our new Florida ACDIS Web site.


There may be a few more surprises as well with the first ever election of officers. Members will be contacted by e-mail. Look on the ACDIS Web site for more information and updates. Mark your calendars and don’t be left out!


ACDIS conference photos posted

Believe it or not, I’m still jet-lagged from our whirlwind trip to that desert oasis. My husband and I planned to fly out of Vegas on Sunday

Here's a shot of ACDIS Director Brian Murphy before one of the sessions started.

Here's a shot of ACDIS Director Brian Murphy before one of the sessions started.

 but our flight was delayed due to some engine trouble. We missed our connection flight in Cleveland and had to spend the night there. So we arrived back in Boston on Monday. . . Better late than never!

Hope you’re all back in the swing of things. If you’re on Facebook I’ve posted a few photos from the trip on the ACDIS group page. There’s more on the way. These are just the ones I took with my little digital. If you have any please post them, too. If I took one of you and neglected to label you, please tag your photo to help us put “names to faces” as Mr. Murphy says. We’ll be compiling a photo page to publish in the next CDI Journal.

ACDIS 2009 conference powerpoints posted; conference feedback requested

Hi everyone, the 2009 ACDIS 2nd annual conference powerpoints and attendee list are now posted in the forms and tools section of our Web site. You can find them by clicking here.

Feel free to use these powerpoints for a refresher or internal training needs. The conference attendee list does not contain contact information, but does contain the names of conference attendees by name and facility if you’d like to track down some new (or old) acquaintances.

Finally, I would really like to hear from you about what you thought about the 2009 conference, which sessions or speakers you enjoyed, and how we can improve or what we can do differently in 2010. If there’s a session you’d like to see next year, I want to hear about it. Feel free to post your comments right here, or you can e-mail me at

Thanks again to all the folks who made it out to Las Vegas, it was great to put so many faces to names!

Take care,


Member generosity highlights ACDIS conference

It was great to get to know so many ACDIS members down in Las Vegas last week. I need to send out a special thank you to my fellow blogger Sylvia Hoffman and her colleague Darlene Shelffo. Sylvia wasn’t able to make it to this year’s show due to prior engagements but sent along a beautiful crystal vase and a lovely card for me in Darlene’s care. I couldn’t believe the extent of their generosity. But I guess that’s really just emblematic of the rest of the wonderful people I met this week.

Take the professionals recognized during Thursday’s luncheon. A 13 member committee worked with ACDIS Director Brian Murphy to develop the second annual conference. They met frequently to sort through possible conference topics and iron out the agenda, establish multiple conference tracks, and work out any potential cliches. Without them the conference couldn’t become a reality. The members included:

  • Susan Boley
  • Wendy Clesi
  • Tiffany Colliver
  • Julie Doy
  • Vicki Ellinger
  • Alice Hayden
  • Robin Holmes
  • Kyle McElroy
  • Maria Narvaez
  • Wendy Poskanzer
  • Kimberly Richert
  • Teri Shoulder
  • Teri Wilson

It was also the generous efforts of volunteers that enabled ACDIS to launch the Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist exam on Saturday, May 16. The CCDS board members included:

  • Deborah Biskner
  • Jill Brocker
  • Margi Brown
  • Mary Beth Brown
  • Gloryanne Bryant
  • Tamara Hicks
  • Kathy Kerfoot
  • Wanda Myers
  • Mary Phelps
  • Suzanne Rogers
  • Lynne Spryszak

First ‘official’ day of ACDIS conference goes over great

You can say 450 in any number of ways. . . 450 is, for example, the number 10 multiplied by 45. . . and it’s also the weight of a black marlin recently caught off the coast of Australia. . . And it’s around the number of attendees who registered for the second annual ACDIS conference last night and this morning. Although I tossed the number 450 around quite a bit in the past few weeks I did not have enough respect for the words I typed.

Everyone I spoke with throughout the course of the day today had their ‘ah-ha’ moment whether it came from Dr. Carl Hammerschlag’s keynote address or Gloryanne Bryant’s general session discussion regarding the AHIMA physician query practice brief. Actually, I had several ‘ah-ha’ moments today.

The first came when a packed room actively engaged speakers Martha Collins, RN, Trey La Charite, MD, and Carla Stump, RHIT, CCS, seeking to learn from the University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville’s experience starting a CDI program. It was amazing to witness the UTMC team’s generosity as they shared the experiences of their CDI program’s first year. We all need to learn from each other, to hear each other’s struggles, in order to improve our own programs.

The second ‘ah-ha’ moment of mine was ACDIS Director Brian Murphy’s award luncheon speech. As you know I joined the ACDIS group in October 2008 but Mr. Murphy’s been working so hard for ACDIS for more than two years now. As he talked about the organization’s growth, discussed CCDS credential developments, and outlined plans for the future it was impossible not to see how much work Brian and all our advisory panels put into the growth of this association. (I’ll talk more about all these wonderful folks in a seperate post.)

My third ‘ah-ha’ moment came later when the breakout sessions ended and attendees poured out into the hallways, talking in groups of ones, twos, threes, their purple ACDIS bags in hand chatting about the session, talking about what they’d learned. The exhibit hall was full. New/old friends from ACDIS local chapters greeted me like we’d known each other for years.

Essentially, my ‘ah-ha’ moments all added up to one big one. . . 450 is just a number. . . ACDIS is an association that’s bouyed by the hard work and guinine good will of all of you. . . and all those moments, all those good intentions add up to a good deal more than any number can measure.

I promise to blog more later about the specific sessions I’ve attended and the award winners. . . There’s so much to say, I swear it will take weeks to sort through everything I’ve learned. . .  On to day two! Ready for the chapter breakfast! I’m so excited.

ACDIS precon addresses coding, CDI, and more

Wow! My head is spinning. A beautiful 5+ hour flight from Boston last night. It was the longest sunset I’ve ever watched. By traveling across time zones I was able to see the sun set the entire time. What the light does to the clouds. . . simply a landscape for dreamland.

And while ICD-9-CM may not be your idea of dreamland, I swear I learned so much today that I might as well have been in intellectual heaven. Shannon McCall took a class of more than 100 people on a tour of the Manual, which she followed up with a lession in specific diagnoses and the importance of their related Coding Clinics. Shannon’s presentation in this area generated a number of discussions both in-session and outside of the pre-conference. She covered items like HIV and related illnesses, sepsis and septicemia (what a hot-button item, huh!), neoplasms, CKD, obesity, and so much more.

After lunch, we continued this conversation regarding the Coding Clinic guidelines about congestive heart failure, respiratory failure, pregnancy related conditions, and pressure ulcers. . .  Is now a good time to say “wow” again? Or, “my head is spinning,” again?

After all this Shannon gave us a quick tour of MS-DRGs, and a crash course in ICD-10. . . Did I already say “wow”?

CCDS Exam: What you need to know before you go

If you’re one of the more than 100 people who signed up to take the Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist exam, make your way down to Florentine I on Caesars’ Promenade Level, as early as possible, on Saturday, May 16.

Registration begins at 7 a.m. and the exam begins promptly at 8 a.m.

Members of the ACDIS Certification Board spent many, many hours diligently working with Applied Measurement Professionals, Inc. (AMP) to create the most appropriate, fair, balanced test possible. AMP requires strict adherence to its test taking rules. Please keep in mind the following items:

You will need to show two forms of identification when you register. Acceptable forms of primary identification include:

  • Current driver’s license with photograph
  • Current state identification with photograph
  • Current passport
  • Current military identification card with photograph

Acceptable forms of secondary identification may include any type of credit card or identification with your name and signature.

You will be allowed to bring two books into the exam. These include:

  • DRG Expert, published by Ingenix; and
  • ONE of the following standard drug reference guides:
    • Mosby’s Nursing Drug Reference
    • Nurse’s Pocket Drug Guide
    • Physicians’ Desk Reference
    • PDR Nurse’s Drug Handbook
    • Nursing Drug Handbook/Lippincott’s

Other than your identification and these texts please do not bring any personal belongings with you. We strongly recommend that you leave your personal belongings in your hotel room, or check them with the hotel staff at the bell desk.

The test takes approximately three hours. Some people will finish early and others may require the entire three hours-however this is a timed examination. We will track the time and make announcements accordingly.

(Tip: Allow yourself enough wiggle room in your travel plans. We will begin reading the testing instructions at 8 a.m., the official “clock” starts once we tell you to open your test booklets. This may mean the test could take you until 11:15 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. to finish.)

You’ll be notified in roughly 30 days regarding your certification status. If you pass the

After four days of intensive CDI work you'll need some R&R pool side.

After four days of intensive CDI work you'll need some R&R pool side.

examination, you are allowed to use the designation CCDS. Passing candidates will receive a certificate. If you do not pass the examination, you may schedule a reexamination appointment by contacting HCPro, Inc., at 800/650-6787.

If you’re not rushing off for your plane post test, we highly recommend you take some much  needed celebratory relaxation time out by the pool. Put your feet up. You’ve just participated in a tremendous intellectual experience. So now’s the perfect time to start thinking about next year’s trip with the ACDIS crew. . . Ahhhh, Chicago!

ACDIS 2nd annual conference, day two: What you need to know before you go

The second day of the conference will be as full as the first.

Invited local ACDIS chapter leaders don’t forget to come over to the Constantine Room on Emperors’ Level at 7 a.m., Friday, May 15 for breakfast and a quick meeting. We’ll talk about opportunities to grow local chapters, ways ACDIS can better facilitate chapter growth, and how ACDIS can better meet our chapters’ needs.

Also, the exhibit hall will be open at 7 a.m., so please swing by and chat with our generous exhibitors. Don’t miss the general session regarding RAC audits and the CDI role that starts at 8 a.m. with Catherine O’Leary, RN, BSN, managing director and founding partner at CSG Health Solutions, LLC.

I’m looking forward to attending “Understanding Medicare’s quality indicators” with Kristen Geissler, MA, PT, CPHQ at 9 a.m. and “Managing a clinical documentation department to excellence,” with Randi Ferrare, RN, BSN, MHA, at 10:45 a.m.

Lunch is “on your own” today. I recommend trying Caesars “food court” which they cleverly call the “Cypress Street Marketplace” for an inexpensive and fairly quick bite.

The exhibit hall will be open during lunch, from 12-1:30 p.m., and I’ll be munching and chatting if you want to swing by for a bit.

Don’t miss the closing general session, a panel discussion and open question and answer period from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Hopefully not too many of you will need to rush out of the final sessions to catch planes and whatnot.

The conference officially ends at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, but more than 100 of you will be up bright and early on Saturday for to take the Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist exam. The exam starts promptly at 8 a.m.

ACDIS 2nd annual conference, registration, day one: What you need to know before you go

If you think registering 100 people for the ACDIS preconference sounds hectic, consider what it takes to register 450 attendees! The registration booth is open:

  • Wednesday, May 13, from 4:30-7 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 14, from 7-8 a.m.

If you’re arriving on Wednesday please make it a priority to swing by to pre- register and say hello. Mr. Murphy and I are looking forward to meeting you.

Register early to get your ACDIS bag! It looks like this only it says ACDIS and is purple!

Register early to get your ACDIS bag! It looks like this only it says ACDIS and is purple!

We will have tote bags. They will be purple in honor of the ACDIS color scheme. They’ll have all kinds of goodies in them including a cool light-up pen from 3M and of course your program workbook with all of the presentations.

We’ve scheduled some great sessions, with some terrific speakers. We get started right away at 8 a.m. on Thursday, May 14 with Carl Hammerschlag’s keynote address “Healthcare at the Crossroads: Sustaining our Healing Spirit.”

You don’t need to worry about lunch on Thursday. We’ve lined up an amazing meal. (They tell me last year’s was fantastic!) Mr. Murphy will deliver his state-of-ACDIS address and we’ll honor our CDI Professional of the Year.

The first day adjourns at 4 p.m. if you’re not too tuckered out, I highly recommend taking a walk over to the Bellagio to check out the fountain shows which take place every hour.

ACDIS Precon: What you need to know before you go

More than 100 people signed up for the preconference “ICD-9 Coding Essentials: What every CDI specialist needs to know.” I’m personally looking forward to learning all about how CDI fits into the coding realm from Shannon McCall, RHIA, CCS, CPC-I.

I’ve participated in her Boot Camps before and know firsthand that she is a tremendous teacher. Students from her previous courses rave about her capabilities in their evaluations so I’m sure we’ll all learn a lot and have a good time, too. Last I spoke with Shannon she was working on gathering some Las Vegas themed music to help wake us up on Wednesday.

Speaking of which, if you are among the 100+ pre-conference attendees, head down to registration around 8 a.m. Grab a muffin or bagel and some coffee and take a minute to look over the bookstore. We’ll have an hour to get 100 people registered so be patient with us. Class starts at 9 a.m.