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Conference Update: Things to do in Las Vegas, part 2

ACDIS Conference Corner

ACDIS Conference Corner

Last week on the blog, we provided readers with a list of fun indoor activities to keep you busy when you’re not in the conference. If hiking and adventuring are more your speed, though, the Las Vegas area offers a wide range of attractions for you as well.

Below is a list of suggested activities for the outdoor enthusiast. Enjoy!

To read our list of indoor activities, click here.

  1. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area: Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, located 20 miles from Las Vegas Strip, allows visitors to hike, picnic, and view plant and animal life under 3,000-foot-high red rock formations. It’s open daily 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Learn more at
  1. Valley of Fire: The Valley of Fire is a 35,000-square-mile state park, named for the magnificent red sandstone formations formed from great shifting sand dunes during the age of the dinosaurs more than 150 million years ago (Mesozoic Era). These brilliant sandstone formations can appear to be on fire when reflecting the sun’s rays. It is located in the Mojave Desert approximately 58 miles northeast of the Las Vegas. Learn more at
  1. Boulder City: Boulder City is located about 20 miles outside Las Vegas (and on the way to the Hoover Dam). You’ll find great restaurants, shopping, and antique stores. Learn more at
  1. Hoover Dam: No trip to the area is complete without a stop at the Hoover Dam. The damn holds back the waters of Lake Mead and straddles the border between Nevada and Arizona. You can take a bus tour from the Strip. Learn more at
  1. Ghost towns: There is a way to step back into the Silver State’s astonishing past. Dotting the vast landscape of Nevada are countless ghost towns, and while indecipherable ruins and tumbleweeds mark some, others are surprisingly intact. Either way, these remarkable places are portals into a Nevada of old and certainly worth a wander. Learn more at


Conference Update: Attendance proposal for the 10th annual ACDIS conference

Editor’s Note: CDI professionals wishing to earn support from program administrators to attend the ACDIS 10th Annual Conference may adapt the following proposal.

To whom it may concern:

I would like to attend the ACDIS conference in Las Vegas, May 9-12, 2017.

Understanding the limitation of our CDI program professional development budget, I want to outline why attendance represents a worthy expense.

The acdis conference offers a diverse range of sessions on the latest trends and techniques to enhance not just my own professional skills, but will afford me education I can bring back to our facility to share with our entire CDI program. The 2017 conference features more than two full days of training and education and networking opportunities, with five concurrent tracks featuring a diverse range of topics including best practices for staff management, physician engagement, clinically focused chart reviews, and critical regulatory updates to improve every aspect of our CDI department.

Here is a link to the conference webpage, which includes the complete agenda.

ACDIS always offers pre-conference events that we may also want consider including  a Risk Adjustment Documentation and Coding Boot Camp, another on Building a Best Practice CDI Team, and a third on The Physician Advisor Role in CDI.

The conference offers us an opportunity to meet and problem-solve with CDI experts. We can learn first-hand from the experiences of others which makes this an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.


Specifically, I want to attend the conference to get information or help with:

  1. <Fill in>
  2. <Fill in>
  3. <Fill in>

Here is an estimation of the cost to send me to the ACDIS Conference. The cost of conference includes the cost of some breakfasts and lunches:

Hotel: Three nights at $199*, for a total of $597 (hotels fill quickly so we should reserve as soon as possible).

*The hotel is charging a mandatory daily resort fee of $30 which includes access to the fitness center, Wi-Fi in the room, a daily newspaper, local and toll free numbered calls, and limited access to the business center including notary services and boarding pass printing.

Registration: $1,005 (early-bird discount is $905); ACDIS member $905 (early bird $805)

Airfare/travel is a cost I haven’t estimated.

I am requesting approval so we can take advantage of the early-bird registration rate of only $805 (if we’re ACDIS members) if we register before March 7, 2017. If we send the team, the fifth person registers for free (which we may wish to take advantage of).

If we are approved, we can further discuss which sessions might be best to attend to benefit our overall program. And, of course, we’ll meet after the conference to discuss significant takeaways, tips, and recommended actions to maximize our investment in our CDI program. I will also share relevant information with the team and other staff.

Thank you for considering this request. Again, if I get approval now, then we can save up to $200 on the registration, and keep our total investment to about $2,000. I look forward to your reply.

Thank you!



Conference Q&A: Haik offers a clinical perspective on sepsis and respiratory failure

haikEditor Note: Over the coming weeks, we’ll take some time to introduce members to a few of this year’s ACDIS conference speakers. The conference takes place May 9-12, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Today, we’ve reached out to William E. Haik, M.D., F.C.C.P., C.D.I.P., who has practiced medicine in Fort Walton Beach, Florida since 1980, and will be presenting “Sepsis: 1, 2, 3 – RAC Attack! Respiratory Failure: Definition and Sequencing Guidelines.” He has received board certification in internal, pulmonary, and critical care medicine. Dr. Haik’s past professional accomplishments include: Chief of Internal Medicine, Director of Respiratory Care Services, Board of Trustees at his local hospital, President of the Okaloosa County Medical Society, and representative of the Government Liaison Committee for the American College of Chest Physicians. Dr. Haik’s coding background has included AHA’s Editorial Advisory Board and Expert Advisory Panel of Coding Clinic for ICD-9-CM as well as participation in the preparation of the original AHIMA CCS and CDIP examinations. He served on the original Board for ACDIS and aided in the preparation of the first certification examination. He currently serves as a final arbitrator for Medicare Part C MS-DRG modifications and as an expert consultant to the United States Department of Justice. He served on a multi-disciplinary committee which developed the 2010 and 2013 AHIMA Physician Query Practice Brief. Dr. Haik has conducted educational seminars and national teleconferences regarding physician involvement in DRG management, coding, and other related topics in association with HCFA (CMS), AHA, AHIMA, HCPro, and various state Quality Improvement Organizations. Since 1988, Dr. Haik has served as the Director of DRG Review, Inc., a physician directed hospital coding consultative service. The goal of DRG Review, Inc. is to educate medical and coding staffs in medical record documentation and coding compliance.

Q: As an MD, what do you bring to the CDI table that others don’t?

A: I think I bring a practical knowledge, a working clinical practice perspective. I have some coding knowledge as well, so I can merge the two.

Q: What are three things attendees can expect from your session?

A: Complete boredom! Just kidding! In all seriousness, attendees can expect to:

  1. Understand the clinical definition and coding nuances of acute and chronic respiratory failure;
  2. Understand the evolution of the definition of sepsis; and
  3. Understand how to apply the three different sepsis consensus statements and how, by understanding those, one can defend an adverse clinical documentation position from a RAC

Q: What is one tool CDI professionals cannot live without?

A: In my opinion, a CDI professional should have a few things in their toolkit. First, they should have a clinical background, a working knowledge of the coding clinics for ICD-10, a reference tool that answers certain clinical guide and their coding correlation.

Q: In what ways does your session challenge CDI professionals to think outside the box?

A: We do arm wrestling during my talk! Just kidding. In reality, I’m trying to get them to think inside the box! I want to get everyone to think clinically as a physician would.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about this year’s conference?

A: It is in Las Vegas, need I say more? Seriously, though, I’m looking forward to hearing some presentations on quality – HCCs, VBP – such as that. I’m really looking forward to expanding my knowledge.

Q: Fun question: do you have any pets?

A: Her name is Mary-Kate – she’s my wife. Just kidding. Actually, I don’t have any pets right now. I have had three dogs, though. They were named Bitey, Gus, and Tucker.

Conference Q&A: DeVault illuminates the shift to outpatient CDI


Kathryn DeVault, MSL, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P, FAHIMA

Editor’s Note: Over the coming weeks, we’ll introduce a few of this year’s speakers who are heading to the podium for the ACDIS 10th Annual Conference which takes place May 9-12, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Today, we talked with Kathryn DeVault, MSL, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P, FAHIMA, manager, HIM Consulting Services for United Audit Systems, Inc., who presents “Clinical Documentation Improvement – From Inpatient to Outpatient: Defining the different documentation, coding, and reimbursement requirements.” She has more than 25 years of experience in HIM serving as the senior director of HIM practice excellence, coding and reimbursement for AHIMA from 2008 to 2014.

Q: What made your company want to expand into the outpatient setting?

A: We noticed that it was the next natural progression in the CDI world. With hierarchical condition categories (HCCs), Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), risk adjustment, etc., it’s really a prime time for CDI. Where to start is the hard part. With inpatient documentation reviews, CDI professionals have a captive audience, so to speak. With outpatient, CDI programs need to look at all the different departments where physician documentation plays a role. On top of that, there’s the physician clinics. It’s very complex on how you move the well-oiled machine of inpatient CDI into the outpatient world – everything gets really muddied.

Q: What are three things attendees can expect from your session?

A: At the end of my session, attendees will be able to:

  1. Start to delineate what outpatient CDI looks like in the post-acute care setting. It’s not as simple as duplicating your inpatient CDI program
  2. How inpatient and outpatient CDI roles differ; and
  3. Some tools to build the framework for outpatient CDI. Your CDI framework could look very different and you need to do active discovery. CDI looks different in every setting based on where their needs are.

Q: Who should attend your presentation and why?

A: CDI specialists and anyone who’s involved with coding and CDI – CDI managers, finance side, directors, HIM directors, coding managers, coders, and even physicians! Essentially, it would be good for everybody. Anybody trying to figure out what outpatient CDI looks like should definitely attend. It’s like the transition to ICD-10 in that we need to think about how we eat the elephant one bite at a time. Outpatient CDI is a whole new elephant.

Q: What’s one tool no CDI professional should be without?

A: A CDI specialist should always have their communication skills. A CDI specialist is in a unique position because they live in the middle. They need to have a relationship with providers and then they also need that communication with coders.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about this year’s conference?

A: Networking! Last year, was the first year I was there as a vendor. It’s so fun to meet our clients. It’s great to put a face to a name!

Q: Fun question: what’s your favorite movie?

A: I’m kind of a sap, so I love PS. I Love you. I also really love Brian’s Song.




Note from ACDIS Director: What’s new at the ACDIS 10th annual conference? A lot.

ACDIS Director, Brian Murphy

ACDIS Director, Brian Murphy

Editor’s Note: This note originally appeared in the February 9, 2017, edition of CDI Strategies. Click here to see the original article.

Three months from now the ACDIS team will head to our biggest event of the year—our national conference. And in case you haven’t heard it’s a milestone…our 10th. A big number and once again we are bringing the networking, the learning, and the fun.

It’s hard for me to focus in on even as few as four or five sessions that I’m most excited about, but instead of reprinting the entire agenda I thought I’d focus in on my personal top 10 speakers at the 2017 ACDIS conference. Cue the drum roll…

  1. “AHA Coding Clinic update,” with Nelly Leon Chisen, RHIA: Get the latest updates critical to CDI directly from the source: Chisen is the Director of Coding and Classification for the American Hospital Association, publisher of Coding Clinic. You don’t get much more authoritative than this.
  2. “Denials and CDI: A Recovery Auditor’s Perspective,” with Barbara Brant, MPA, RN, CDIP, CCDS, CCS and Timothy J. Garrett, MD, MBA, FACEP, FACHE, CHCQM, CIC. Hear straight talk from an actual auditor and what they see in the industry from a denials perspective: Brant and Garrett are from Cotiviti Healthcare. I give these guys credit for coming out to inform and take a little heat!
  3. “Sepsis: 1, 2, 3—RAC Attack! Respiratory Failure: Definition and Sequencing Guidelines,” with William Haik, MD, CDIP.  This session by the dynamic Dr. Haik includes the evolving definitions of sepsis and acute respiratory failure, including calculation of P/F ratio. Even more important now that Sepsis-3 will be the new criteria for the Surviving Sepsis Campaign.
  4. “ACDIS Advisory Board panel: Past, Present and Future of CDI.” This session with representatives of the ACDIS Advisory Board offers an insider’s look at the CDI profession, including where it presently stands and how it must evolve. OK, a bit of nepotism here as I’ll be on panel :). But seriously, we’re up to a lot!
  5. “The Post-Acute Care Setting: Integrating CDI into Multiple Outpatient Settings,” with Kathy DeVault, MSL, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P, FAHIMA and Beth Wolf, MD, CCDS, CPC. This session examines specific outpatient settings such as home health, hospice, outpatient infusion centers, and clinics with employed providers, each with inter-related requirements for documentation, coding, and billing. They have some great ideas on how to expand your CDI department beyond the acute-care hospital setting.
  6. “A breakdown of the AHIMA clinical validation brief,” with Tammy Combs, RN, MSN, CDIP, CCS, CDIP and Melanie Endicott, MBA/HCM, RHIA, CHDA, CDIP, CCS, CCS-P. Clinical validation can be a challenging task for both CDI and coding professionals, and representatives who contributed to the 2016 AHIMA practice brief “Clinical Validation: The Next Level of CDI,” will no doubt add some clarity for CDI professionals on this topic. I’m honored to have official AHIMA representation on our podium!
  7. “Clinical Validation and Denials Management/Appeals: An ALJ’s Perspective,” with Alicia Kutzer, BS, Esq. LLM. Hear from an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and former QIC employee who was integral in developing training materials and presentations for proper adjudication of Medicare appeals and defended claim denials at the reconsideration and ALJ levels of appeals. I expect an interesting look “inside the courtroom” if you will.
  8. “Measuring Clinician Engagement Utilizing a Validated and Reliable Survey Instrument Developed by a Professional Doctorate Candidate,” with Nicole Draper, RN, BN, MHA. Attendees will be inspired to develop or adopt the validated and reliable survey instrument presented during this presentation to assess clinician engagement in their CDI program. Data and results will be shared from this speaker flying in from Australia to present!
  9. “Getting to the Heart of Accurately Defining Cardiac Ischemic Syndromes,” with Garry Huff, MD, CCS, CCDS and Christopher M. Huff, MD. This session is presented by two physicians including a board-certified cardiologist who completed a fellowship in advanced interventional cardiology at The Cleveland Clinic. Getting real clinical while having some fun!
  10. (TIE!) Our Two Inspirational Keynotes—“Healthcare, Remixed,” with Zubin Damania, MD (aka., ZDoggMD) and “Josie’s Story: Family-Centered Approaches to Patient Safety,” with Sorrel King. Sorrel King is pure inspiration and has a tragic, real-life story to motivate you to make a change in your own life. Her message on patient safety will resonate with any CDI specialist who reviews Patient Safety Indicators or refers an issue to quality. As for ZDogg… the man is a legend and there is no one more “Vegas” than him. Get ready for Healthcare… Remixed.

Sure, this list is subjective but I know you won’t be disappointed with any of them. Keep in mind my list of favorites just scratches the surface! We have more than 50 sessions to pick from.

As for the location…I’m a big Vegas fan and I’ve been very impressed with the MGM Grand. It’s big (the largest single hotel in the United States with 6,852 rooms) it’s new (built in 1993, constantly refurbished, as recently as 2012) with outdoor pools, rivers, waterfalls, and home to a number of entertainment venues, nightly shows, and world-class restaurants. And it’s located right on the strip.

Yes, there is a walk to the conference space—that’s inevitable with spaces this big and conferences this size—but I can tell you that the walk is MUCH shorter than you may have experienced in 2016 in Atlanta. I hope you enjoy the warm weather and the unforgettable sights and sounds of one of the most memorable places on earth.

So please come on out to this big 10th anniversary celebration of our association, and:

  1. Be inspired
  2. Learn
  3. Network
  4. Grow
  5. Have fun

Just make sure to sign up prior to March 7, 2017 to take advantage of our early bird ($100 off) and ACDIS membership (additional $100 off) discounts.

The team and I hope to see you on the strip!

Brian Murphy

Director, ACDIS

Conference Q&A: Hirsch offers insight into CDI utilization review contributions


Ronald Hirsch, MD

Editor’s Note: Over the comings weeks, we’ll take some time to introduce members to a few of this year’s ACDIS conference speakers. The conference takes place May 9-12, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Today, we’ve reached out to Ronald Hirsch, MD, FACP, CHCQM-PHYADV, vice president of the regulations and education group at AccretivePAS Clinical Solutions, who will present “Medicare Regulation Update: Practical Application for CDI Professionals.” Hirsch is certified in Health Care Quality and Management by the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians and serves on the Advisory Board of the American College of Physician Advisors. He is the co-author of The Hospital Guide to Contemporary Utilization Review, published in 2015.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve encountered related to implementing Medicare regulations?
Regulations and guidance from CMS are often vague and occasionally contradictory. These regulations affect everyone, including the doctor, the patient, the bedside nurse, the case managers, CDI staff, the billing and coding staff, and the C-suite (those working in upper administrative roles). Understanding the regulations and implementing them compliantly across the many affected groups is a challenge for hospitals.

Q: What are three things attendees can expect from your session?
Let me just list some of these out:

  1. To hear a simple explanation of the two-midnight rule
  2. To understand the practical application of medical necessity guidelines for CDI professionals
  3. To be familiarized with the required patient notifications

Q: What is one tool CDI professionals cannot live without?
A: If they learn the two-midnight rule as I teach it, they will become the hero of their institution.

Q: In what ways does your session challenge CDI professionals to think outside the box?
A: CDI professionals work hand in hand with case managers but often do not understand their work. Gaining an understanding of that work makes them a more indispensable part of the team.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about this year’s conference?
A: As a physician advisor expert, my CDI knowledge is quite cursory. With the breadth of courses available at the conference. I expect to walk out with a much deeper understanding of CDI. I can’t wait for the pre-conference Boot Camp for physician advisors. It will be an honor to hear from Erica Remer, MD, and James Kennedy, MD, two of the most renowned physicians in CDI.

Q: Fun question: Do you have any pets?
My wife and I just got a new kitten three weeks ago. Leopold is a little wild thing during the day between naps but he loves to cuddle with us at night in bed.

Call for 2017 Conference Poster Presentations Now Open!

2017 Poster Presentation application period open through December 15!

2017 Poster Presentation application period open through December 15!

ACDIS is excited to announce that it is accepting applications for poster presenters at its 10th Annual Conference, to be held May 9-12, 2017, at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.

This is a great opportunity for hospitals and other CDI professionals to promote their CDI programs and share them with a national audience. Posters may describe an innovative program process or department expansion, a CDI success story, or an obstacle your team overcame. Posters may not promote a product or service.

If you are interested in presenting a poster, click this link to submit your idea:

The deadline to apply is December 15, 2016.

Here are some key details you need to know:

  • We have room for 40 posters.
  • The 2017 Conference Committee will review all applications and select those chosen for presentation. All applicants will be notified of the Committee’s decision by the first week in January.
  • Presenters will be given a $200 discount off their conference registrations. If the poster is presented by a team the discount will apply to one member.
  • Presenters must be able to spend one hour with their poster during a dedicated poster viewing time. Presenters who do not particulate in the session hour will be billed for the $200 discount. The date and time of the presentation session will be announced at a later date.
  • We will approve one application per facility (unless space permits additional posters).
  • Maximum poster size requirements have CHANGED. Posters may be NO WIDER than 36 inches and NO HIGHER than 48 inches. Posters exceeding these limits will be turned away and the presenter will be billed for the $200 discount.

We look forward to hearing from you with your poster idea!

Conference Special Update: Meet our boot camp instructors

Lead instructor Cheryl Ericson joins co-teachers Laurie Prescott and Sharme Brodie at the ACDIS Boot #100 Day 2 during breakfast to answer your Boot Camp questions

Lead instructor Cheryl Ericson joins co-teachers Laurie Prescott and Sharme Brodie at the ACDIS Boot #100 Day 2 during breakfast to answer your Boot Camp questions

Editor’s Note: We’re officially ONE WEEK away from the annual conference. But don’t panic! Over the next few days, we’ll be rolling out a series of special conference blog posts, from insider tips and tricks to quick reminders, to help you with your final preparations. Make sure to check the blog daily, as we’ll be updating it with new content at least once a day. See you in San Antonio!

If you’ve attended a live CDI Boot Camp, or completed the online version, then you’re probably familiar with our Boot Camp instructors. Well, now’s your chance to meet them and reconnect. Stop by ACDIS Booth #100 on Wednesday morning during the breakfast break to catch up with the team and reconnect with your favorite CDI teachers.

Never attended a Boot Camp? Stop by and ask which program type would be best suit your specific educational needs, ask a question, exchange contact info, and learn more about our CDI basics, ICD-10 for CDI, and other educational opportunities.

2015 Conference Update: Travel tip; Speaker Q&A

Do you know what sessions you’ll attend? The 2015 conference will be held in San Antonio, Texas.

Do you know what sessions you’ll attend? The 2015 conference will be held in San Antonio, Texas.

Are you worried about getting around downtown San Antonio during the annual conference? Well, we’ve found a solution: free downtown shuttle service. Visitors and locals will have a new, completely free option to get around downtown starting Saturday, March 28—perfect timing for our event. “The E” line, a new center city route, will run every 10 minutes from 6 p.m. to midnight, Tuesday through Saturday. This route provides frequent service from many downtown restaurants and entertainment venues, including the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. There is also a stop next to the Hyatt Regency. For more information, check out VIA Metropolitan Transit’s website.

If you haven’t started planning your itinerary, this week, we spoke with Victor Freeman, MD, MPP, Regional Medical Director for J.A. Thomas & Associates, who will present “The Emergency Department: How CDI in the ED Is Crucial to a Successful CDI Program,” to give you a feel for his session.

Q: Why is clinical documentation in the emergency department an important topic right now?

A: Documentation that drives inpatient coding needs to start before the admitting physician’s history & physical and admission note. I discovered, through direct observation in two different emergency departments, that emergency physicians can actually have a major impact on prompting admitting physicians to capture key acute and chronic diagnoses. Further, capturing primary and secondary diagnoses in a code-able form is becoming increasingly important with the heightened documentation scrutiny by payers, who are looking to assess “medical necessity” and “severity-of-illness.”

Q: How is your topic important for everyone in the CDI role, regardless of professional background?

A: Coding guidelines allow the inclusion of all active diagnoses at the time of the “decision” for admission. It is important for clinicians, coders, and CDI specialists to understand the importance of the early capture of acute clinical diagnoses, and that the clinical presentation may change before the admitting physician sees the patient. This change routinely happens with the stabilizing treatment that the patient receives in the emergency department

Q: As a physician and former hospitalist, how does your perspective differ from other professionals performing the CDI role?

A: Being a physician in CDI allows me to have very direct peer-to-peer conversations about healthcare reform, and about how CDI can really make a positive difference for physicians. I know from personal experience that medical education and residency training rarely teaches anything about CDI principles or strategies. I have found nothing more eye-opening for physicians than when they discover how small changes in documentation can have dramatic effects on severity and risk-adjusted quality measures, like complication or mortality rates. You really get physicians’ attention when you show them the impact of CDI on performance profiling.

Q: What do you think is the most important quality for a CDI professional to have?

A: In my years in CDI, I have discovered that the key to CDI success is to raise awareness and teach, but never to “police,” the physicians. Physician will often resent the notion that there is something “wrong” with their documentation. And many will resist the notion of being expected to change their documentation for the benefit of the hospital. Helping physicians understand the value of CDI for themselves and their practices becomes an important educational moment.

Q: Why do you think attending the ACDIS conference is important?

A: I look forward to the ACDIS conference because it is a place to share ideas and learn from other physicians, nurses, and coders. There are great insights to be pulled out of each presentation that will help with professional growth, and ideas that I can implement in my own work. Of course, I also hope that I can make some contributions and share some tips, so that my colleagues and I can go back to work after and make an even bigger difference in hospitals and health systems.

2015 Conference Preview: Q&A with John R. Houskamp, MD

The 2015 ACDIS conference takes place in San Antonio, Texas

The 2015 ACDIS conference takes place in San Antonio, Texas

Editor’s Note: The annual conference is right around the corner, and we’ve got dozens of presentations in store. Even if you haven’t started planning your itinerary, we’ll be previewing a handful of our speakers throughout the upcoming weeks to help give you a feel for the session’s we’ll be offering. This week, we spoke with John R. Houskamp, MD, who, along with Jennifer M. Conroy, RN, BSN, will present “CDI Success: Keys to Healthy CDI and Medical Provider Relationships.”

Q: Why can be so difficult to build a healthy relationship between CDI specialists and medical providers?
A: As Medicare and private insurance companies continue to focus on quality and evolve toward value-based purchasing (VBP), the importance of accurate documentation is growing. Providers will require the guidance of CDI specialists to accurately describe how sick their patient population is, and to demonstrate the quality of care they provide. A trusting and open relationship with CDI professionals will be invaluable for providers as they seek to show to the outside world the quality and complexity of the patient care they provide.

Q: Is your topic important for everyone in the CDI role, regardless of professional background?
A: Having good relationships are important for anyone in the role of CDI. Many of the things we plan to discuss can be adapted to any CDI relationship be it between the CDI specialist and the physician or other healthcare professional. Building trust and fostering mutual respect are necessary aspects to all healthy professional relationships.

Q: As a physician, how does your perspective differ from other professionals performing the CDI role?
A: As a practicing hospitalist, I am pulled in multiple directions over the course of the day, and fully understand how documentation issues can be pushed aside as we care for sick patients. My role as Gundersen Health’s CDI Physician Lead enables me to look at ways I can use both my experience as a hospitalist and my CDI knowledge to assist in making documentation easier and more natural for my colleagues. Additionally, I am able to assist coders and CDI staff with seeing a physician’s perspective and offer ways to approach situations in a manner that will foster rather than damage relationships.

Q: What do you think is the most important quality for a CDI professional to have?
A: I feel one of the most important qualities a CDI professional should have is adaptability. As a CDI professional, you need to be able to adapt to the different personalities, learning styles, knowledge, and needs of medical providers. You need to have the ability to “think outside the box” and be creative with those less enthusiastic providers.

Q: Why do you think attending the ACDIS conference is important and what are you most looking forward to?
A: The ACDIS conference brings CDI professionals together, enabling us to learn from each other and work toward a common goal. I look forward to sharing our CDI story as well as learning from others about how to further improve our own CDI program.