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Summer reading: Defining documentation and coding standards in the revenue cycle, part 1

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Elizabeth Lamkin, MHA, ACHE

by Elizabeth Lamkin, MHA, ACHE

Accurate clinical documentation is the bedrock of the legal medical record, billing, and coding. It is also the most complex and vulnerable part of revenue cycle because independent providers must document according to intricate and sometimes vague rules. A facility’s revenue cycle plan should define the necessary education on documentation, when and how this education will be delivered, and how compliance with education will be reported.

It is difficult to hold physicians and other medical staff accountable for applying the rules if they are not educated on what the most current rules require. Physician engagement increases if education includes why documentation is so important and why it must be done correctly while the patient is still in the hospital. Physicians normally do not receive formal education or training on documentation to meet regulatory and coding criteria in their training programs or through continuing education; therefore, it is up to the hospital to stay current on regulations and documentation rules and to provide training to physicians.

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Guest Post: Embracing Change

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Embrace change in CDI

By Jocelyn E. Murray, RN, CCDS

Summer is finally here! It’s been a long-time coming for New Englanders! I contrast the abundance of this wonderful, although too brief, season with all the enhanced CDI insight and transition to current practice.

Our ACDIS 10-year anniversary conference this year in Vegas was terrific! Education tracks embracing current CDI transition in risk-adjustment and outpatient practices were insightful. I also attended an event by the NYHIMA which also delivered insights into CDI areas of expansion. I’m excited about the CDI practice progression at our national association levels and love that I am surrounded by healthcare professionals who embrace a desire to evolve our scope of practice and support today’s healthcare system.

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Guest Post: Natural language processing and clinical documentation, part 1

CDI and technology

Many clinicians now use dictation software and EHRs.

by Crystal R. Stalter, CPC, CCS-P, CDIP

Long before ICD-10-CM/PCS became a focus, working as a clinical documentation improvement (CDI) manager to improve physician progress and/or operative notes was a challenge—doctors either got it or they didn’t. But as the transition from paper charts to an electronic health record (EHR) began, providers started to understand how to better document their visits, since they had to choose from drop-down menus and multiple options to complete their notes. Then, as ICD-10 approached, a new awareness of medical necessity denials and revenue impact took shape. Providers began looking for ways to document better in less time.

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Tip: Improving CDI-physician relationships

Experts agree that a collaborative healthcare environment leads to better patient outcomes and improved organizational success. Despite this, long-standing tensions between nurses, coders, CDI specialists, and physicians can be difficult to overcome.

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Note from the CCDS Coordinator: Is it time to recertify your CCDS credential?

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CCDS Coordinator Penny Richards

by Penny Richards

In the next couple months, hundreds of CCDS holders will need to recertify their credential. Even those who’ve gone through the process may need a quick refresher. So, without further ado, here are some tips and hints to help you have a smooth recertification process.

You may recertify up to 60 days before your due date. Not sure when it is due? Look at the date on your certificate (the one you have framed and hanging on the wall, of course). Your recert is due every two years from the date you passed the exam. You can also email me (prichards@acdis.org) and I’ll check your due date in the CCDS database.

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Tip: Diversify your CDI education to keep staff engaged

Every CDI specialist knows how difficult it can be to set aside a whole hour or more for dedicated training and education. With productivity expectations and quotas, cutting out a sizable chunk of time for learning can be challenging. Diversifying CDI education tactics can help engage staff in more meaningful ways.

Though electronic health records (EHR) and technology sometimes complicate the CDI process in select ways, CDI managers and leaders can harness technology to increase educational reach. [more]

Q&A: Denial management teams

Have CDI questions?

Have CDI questions?

Q: What guidance do you have for building a denial management team?

A: As with any team, it is important to have the right players working together with identified roles and responsibilities established for each. The members of the denials management team should be representative of departments with a direct tie to the various types of denials. Include the following groups: [more]

Guest Post: Altered mental status remains a challenge in ICD-10-CM – part 2

James Kennedy, MD, CCS, CDIP

James Kennedy, MD, CCS, CDIP

By James Kennedy, MD, CCS, CDIP

Determine the underlying cause of the altered mental status

Remember that the various forms of altered mental states have underlying causes, which, if defined, diagnosed, and documented, accurately represent the patient’s condition for risk-adjustment purposes. Options include:

  • Neurodegenerative disorders. To the extent that it’s possible to state what the underlying degenerative brain disease is, please do so. Options include Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy-body dementia, late effects of multiple strokes, normal pressure hydrocephalus, some cases of Parkinson’s disease, and a host of others. Note: The term “multi-infarct dementia” requires additional documentation that it is the late effect of multiple strokes. Consider the word “encephalopathy” as well (see the next item) when documenting these underlying causes.

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Symposium Update: Early bird hotel discount ends August 17

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The ACDIS Symposium: Outpatient CDI is currently sold out!

There are only a couple more days left to get a discounted hotel room rate for the ACDIS Symposium: Outpatient CDI. Reserve your room by Thursday, August 17 to take full advantage of the discount. The symposium takes place from September 18-19 at the Hilton Oak Brook Resort and Conference Center in Oak Brook, Illinois.

When you book your hotel room by August 17, you’ll get the discounted room rate at the Hilton Oak Brook Resort and Conference Center for $159 (tax and fees not included). To book by phone, call 866-275-6295 and mention ACDIS.

Please note that the Outpatient Symposium is sold out. If you have registered and know you won’t be able to attend, please notify customer service to allow others into the event.

 

Note from the Associate Director: Announcing a new outpatient version of the CDI Pocket Guide

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Associate Director Rebecca Hendren

By Rebecca Hendren

Outpatient CDI is a fast-growing area of the profession. So, I’m excited to announce a new resource that will be an incredibly useful tool for those expanding to the outpatient arena. Richard Pinson, MD, FACP, CCS, and Cynthia Tang, RHIA, CCS, authors of the CDI Pocket Guide, are currently finishing their work on a new version focused on Hierarchical Condition Categories (HCC): the 2018 Outpatient CDI Pocket Guide!

One of our guiding principles at ACDIS is to be at the forefront of changes in the industry. We want to provide our members with guidance, information, and resources they can turn to for education and clarification as they venture into new CDI focus areas. We’ve been publishing articles exploring the growing outpatient and ambulatory arena for several years now and will continue to do so as this segment of the profession grows and changes. We want to keep our fingers on the pulse of what’s going on and share that knowledge with our members.

We bring together leading thinkers in the profession who can share their expertise, whether through articles in the CDI Journal, innovative sessions at our annual conference or the new outpatient-focused ACDIS Symposium, or lively discussions in the ACDIS Forum.

I’m delighted that the trusted authors of the CDI Pocket Guide are equally forward thinking and partnered with us to develop a this new resource.

Please continue to let us know what information you need and what resources you would like ACDIS to offer. We really do listen to you and use your feedback to develop our editorial directions.

Editor’s note: Hendren is the associate director of membership and product development at ACDIS. Contact her at rhendren@acdis.org.