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Note from the Associate Editorial Director: Consider the peer audit

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Associate Editorial Director Melissa Varnavas

By Melissa Varnavas

Back in 2015, 40% of ACDIS Radio listeners (of the October 28, 2015, broadcast) indicated their CDI program had an established query auditing process in place. Another 29% said they had some type of query review practices established but they only informally or occasionally take the time to examine the efforts of CDI specialists.

ACDIS has long advocated for some type of regular query practice audit and review—be that driven by the CDI program manager or director or peer-to-peer amongst the CDI team. Donald A. Butler, RN, BSN, then the CDI manager at North Carolina facility authored a White Paper regarding the auditing process and provided an in-depth PowerPoint presentation regarding the benefits back in 2012. In 2013, a number of professionals described the importance of such reviews and pulled the lid off for a glimpse inside their own processes in a CDI Journal article. [more]

Note from the Associate Editorial Director: What’s so special about ACDIS?

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Associate Editorial Director Melissa Varnavas

By Melissa Varnavas

In short, the membership. There are more than 5,500 ACDIS members now as we celebrate our 10th anniversary. That’s the size of a city. Sure, it’s not a large city but it’s definitely a community. It’s a community that’s chosen to live together and work together and ensure that its neighbors succeed. And that’s an amazing and special thing to be a part of in this day and age.

But it’s been that way since the start of the organization. Back then everyone was scrambling to figure out the best way to do this job. Back then everyone was looking for the best clinical indicators to help win their physicians over. Back then everyone was struggling to find their niche within the hospital hierarchy of department reporting structure. So everyone shared. Everyone shared just about everything they possibly could. [more]

Note from the Associate Editorial Director: A Little Local Chapter Love

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Associate Editorial Director Melissa Varnavas grabs a picture with a Local Chapter leader from Kentucky at the 2017 Conference!

By Melissa Varnavas

Next Friday, August 11, ACDIS Editor Linnea Archibald and I will head down to Newton, Massachusetts for the third-annual joint ACDIS/AHIMA New England CDI Symposium. The leaders of the MaHIMA, NYHIMA, and MA ACDIS have met for months to develop a comprehensive agenda to fit the educational needs of both coding and clinical documentation professionals.

The full-day event, sponsored by 3M, was originally the brainchild of then ACDIS Advisory Board member Walter Houlihan, director of HIM for Baystate Health in Springfield, Massachusetts. Houlihan, at the time, served as the president of the MaHIMA and, although his time in that role was ending, he had yet to see his vision for a multi-state event come to pass. After mentioning his hopes in a passing phone call, we decided to see if we could, in fact, bring this idea to fruition. The first year, more than 100 attendees arrived. The second held nearly 160. Baystate Health generously hosted those first two events.

This year, attendance has topped 200 and the registration has closed due to the constraints of the room size (although there is a wait list).

This is an amazing story about the importance of collaboration and the value of networking and education in our tiny slice of the healthcare industry we serve. And it’s a story that’s not just happening in New England but is playing out across the country. Every week in this email newsletter, we list local chapter upcoming events and offer a tip or tale about what’s happening at the local level. Recently, on ACDIS Radio, we remarked about the number of full-day events coming up.

In August, not only do we have the New England event but also North Carolina and Florida are holding full-day educational sessions. In September, both California and Alabama hold full-day events. The California event will be its third annual, and generally gathers more than 200 attendees. The leaders from each of the three Missouri ACDIS chapters have been meeting for more than a year to plan their big full day event coming up in October. Last year there were nearly 150 attendees and this year they expect to reach 200 attendees as well. South Carolina and Oregon also hold events in October and although it’s still in the planning stages, Texas hopes to have a full-day event in October too.

These volunteer leaders have done a tremendous job planning these events for the benefit of their communities. We cannot thank them enough for their efforts and hope that you, too, reach out to them, volunteer, attend, extend your own involvement in this, our ever growing, ACDIS community.

Editor’s Note: Varnavas is the Associate Editorial Director for ACDIS. To find out about what’s happening in your neighborhood visit the local chapter page. To learn more about starting a chapter or networking group, scroll down below the map to read our local chapter leadership resources. Contact her at mvarnavas@acdis.org.

 

Note from the Associate Editorial Director: CDI Journal focuses on quality

by Melissa Varnavas

Healthcare has often been referred to a both a science and an art. Nevertheless, the healthcare industry continues its hunt for proof of quality healthcare services to, as much as possible, remove the art portion of the art-versus-science debate. That’s why the March/April edition of the CDI Journal pulls from a range of experiences and expertise to examine the many ways CDI efforts touch quality measures.

As Congress continues working to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a wide range of vested entities contemplate the future of government payment methods. Hospital value-based purchasing (VBP), part of the ACA, offers a number of incentives—both positive and negative—to more closely tie patient outcomes to reimbursement on a host of measures. VBP represents the most comprehensive government pay-for-performance program, but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by its various components when also considering the myriad collections of quality-focused programs hospitals and physicians need to navigate.

Quality-tied payments and public reporting measures can seem like the multi-headed Hydra of Greek lore—no sooner has a CDI program focused on, and defeated, one serpent than two other initiatives pop into existence. CDI programs understand the need to expand record review efforts, now that CC/MCC capture isn’t their only documentation goal.

Cheryl Ericson, MS, RN, CCDS, CDIP, does a nice job of summarizing the shift in her “Note from the Advisory Board” on p. 6, and on p. 10, ACDIS Editor Linnea Archibald looks at the various components of CMS’ VBP efforts, including a review of hospital-acquired conditions and present on admissions indicators. These articles help illustrate the complexity of quality concerns.

These aren’t the only measures considered in this issue, either. Advisory Board member Sam Antonios, MD, FACP, SFHM, CCDS, offers three tips for programs to help improve outcomes in regard to readmission reductions on p. 8, and ACDIS member Bonnet Tyndall, RN, CCDS, provides readers with a case study of how her team implemented record reviews for mortalities on p. 19.

All these potential review targets can be daunting, but don’t be intimidated. Take a look through this edition of CDI Journal and note how many of these programs aim to capture some of the diagnoses already found on most CDI programs’ top 10 lists.

As ACDIS CDI Boot Camp instructor Allen Frady, RN, CCDS, CCS, says on p. 22, “times like these are exciting for us CDI nerds.”

Editor’s Note: Varnavas is the Associate Editorial Director for ACDIS, overseeing its various publications and website content. Contact her at mvarnavas@acdis.org.