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Q&A: Rejections for claims for removing impacted cerumen

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Ask ACDIS

Q: We have started receiving rejections for ED claims when the service involves removing impacted cerumen. We are reporting CPT® code 69209 (removal impacted cerumen using irrigation/lavage, unilateral) for each ear, and the documentation supports the irrigation/lavage rather than the physician removing the impaction with instruments. Our claims just started getting rejected in April. 

A: While your question doesn’t specify, it appears that you may be billing this with one line for the left ear with modifier -LT and one line for the right ear with modifier -RT. This code is included in the surgical section of CPT and correct coding requires that this be reported with modifier -50 for a bilateral procedure. In fact, there is a specific parenthetical note that states “For bilateral procedure, report 69209 with modifier -50”. 

Many times in the ED, codes for services provided are driven by the chargemaster structure in cooperation with either a charge sheet or a menu in the electronic health record. When this is the driver, it is very easy for the person entering the charges/services to enter a line item for the right ear and one for the left ear. This could be because they are not versed in coding rules (modifiers -RT and -LT equal -50) for the surgical procedures. They may not be thinking of this as a “surgical procedure” as clinically it was “just an irrigation.” Or, there may not be an option for a bilateral procedure on the menu. It may be that the system is responsible for changing two unilateral procedures to report as a bilateral procedure, and this translation is broken. Follow the process through and see where the disconnect is.

CMS also changed the medically unlikely edit (MUE) number for CPT code 69209 as of April 1, 2017. Prior to April 1, the MUE was 2; however, this was changed to 1 as of April 1. You may want to check your claims prior to April 1 dates of service to insure that the payment you received was correct based on the bilateral payment methodology under the OPPS.

Editor’s note: Denise Williams, RN, CPC-H, senior vice president of revenue integrity services at Revant Solutions, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, answered this question. This Q&A originally appeared in Revenue Cycle Advisor.

Note from CCDS Coordinator: Do you really need the CCDS certification?

CCDS certification

I received an interesting question recently from someone contemplating Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist (CCDS) certification. She asked:

“I am wondering whether obtaining the certification gives the CCDS holders any special privileges? Are they able to perform duties that they otherwise would not be able to if they did not hold the certification (not by knowledge, but by law)?”

In my five-plus years with ACDIS no one has ever asked this question. Obtaining the CCDS credential does not give the holder any additional rights, privileges, or responsibilities. It does not legally empower the holder to perform any duties.

What the CCDS credential does, however, is recognize individuals who have an advanced level of CDI knowledge and who have the proven ability to work as clinical documentation specialists. Candidates for the CCDS designation are required to have at least two years of experience in the profession.

The CCDS demonstrates an accomplishment that captures both experience and knowledge in the field, and many facilities suggest or require their CDI staff hold the CCDS or earn it following the two-year minimum requirement to sit for the exam, after hire. Facilities often hire individuals with nursing (clinical) or coding experience for the clinical documentation team and train them to become proficient. It is the decision of the individual facility to determine who to employ as a CDI specialist and what responsibilities are given to individuals who perform the CDI role, which may differ depending on whether or not they hold the certification.

What I didn’t tell the writer is that, for a lot of people, CCDS certification is a matter of pride. In the fall of 2016, ACDIS conducted a survey of CCDS holders and asked them what they see as the value of their credential. Their responses included:

  • The credential differentiates me as a leader
  • I am set apart as the CDI who went the extra mile to prepare for and achieve the certification for my very specialized profession
  • I am the go-to-person for others to come to with questions for assistance
  • The credential demonstrates that I put forth the effort to be knowledgeable about the work I perform
  • Professional certification is about promoting the highest standards in our industry
  • Personal satisfaction
  • It shows I take my job seriously and intend to stay on top of the knowledge I need to do the job well
  • It shows I have the experience of clinical chart review for appropriate diagnoses and the clarification/query process to physicians
  • The credential sets me apart—I have skills and knowledge
  • It’s proof that I value this job, want to continue to do it, and want to improve myself; I feel it’s a definite plus and shows that I take pride in what I do.
  • It adds much credibility with the physicians in my institution—I think I am perceived as being more professional and more knowledgeable in my role

From the same survey, several managers told us:

  • Certified individuals are viewed as more knowledgeable about coding guidelines and best practices. They are more committed to their work, better trained, and have better understanding of the role and what is required to do the job well. And because of recertification requirements, they stay current with changes in the industry.
  • Certification holders often serve as team leads, help with new staff orientation, and staff education.
  • It communicates a commitment to their craft. Requirements are such that they have to stay current with on-going changes that are occurring. It helps when interacting with their “customers,” as they really are trained and understand what they are doing.
  • Identifies that you have attained increased knowledge related to your daily practice.

What will drive you to seek CCDS certification? Whether personal pride, or a suggestion or requirement from your employer, we are here to encourage your efforts and cheer your accomplishment.

Visit the ACDIS website and download the Exam Candidate’s Handbook for more information about certification.

Editor’s note: Penny Richards is the CCDS Coordinator for ACDIS. If you have any questions regarding the CCDS credential or exam process, contact her at prichards@hcpro.com.

Q&A: Finding focus for CC/MCC reviews

haik

William Haik, MD, FCCP, CDIP

Editor’s note: William Haik, MD, FCCP, CDIP, director of DRG Review, Inc. answered the following questions in conjunction with his webinar, “FY 2017 ICD-10-CM CC/MCC List with Revisions: Clinical Indicators and Query Opportunities.” To purchase the on-demand version of the webinar, click here. The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of ACDIS or its advisory board.

Q: I’m having trouble with querying physicians for complication codes. Could you please provide guidance?

A: This is difficult. Unless there is an (coding) index directive, query the attending physician to determine if a condition occurring after surgery is due to, or caused by, the surgical procedure (such as atelectasis following surgery). From a medical perspective, the conditions which occur after surgery are not typically due to the surgery, but are due to other factors such as in atelectasis, operative pain, sedation, supine position, etc. Therefore, when I ask, it is when there is a high probability of being related to the surgical procedure (hematoma, excess hemorrhage which is addressed intraoperatively or immediately post-operatively). 

Q: Does systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) with pneumonia qualify for sepsis or should this be queried?

A: Unfortunately, in ICD-10-CM, there is no coding index entry for SIRS, and the previous index entry in ICD-9-CM for SIRS with infection no longer leads to sepsis. Therefore, the physician must be queried to clarify the documentation and assign an appropriate code.

Q: Should we query when the physicians use accelerated or malignant hypertension (HTN) in regards to hypertensive emergency/urgency?

A: Yes, as the former terms now are considered unspecified, a more specific condition should be sought.

Q: Would a physician query be necessary if the physician documentation indicates malnutrition (CC) and the dietician’s assessment documents mild to moderate malnutrition (CC)?

A: It is unnecessary to query a physician regarding the non-specific documentation of malnutrition. If the physician documents mild or moderate malnutrition, one would assign malnutrition, not otherwise specified, unless the physician specifies further.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for what CDI professionals should do if the physician documents a diagnosis but it is not supported by documentation in the chart or by clinical indicators?

A: I would ask the physician to review the record along with enclosed medical criteria regarding the condition in question. I have developed a handbook which provides evidence-based clinical indicators for common medical conditions. (For a copy, email Behaik@aol.com.)

Q: Should we query for electrolyte abnormalities on gastric bypass patients. We are told imbalances are normal due to diet restrictions.

A: Although electrolyte disturbances are common in gastric bypass patients, they are not normal and not integral to the procedure. The physician would typically would treated the patient if the levels were significantly clinically deranged. In this setting, I would query the attending physician to determine if the levels are merely lab abnormalities or if they should be clinically significant and reportable.

Q: When acute respiratory failure is reported in the postop period and is integral to the procedure (for example, the patient remains on mechanical ventilation for less than two days following post op), do we have to query to see if it is significant or should we code without a query?

A: From a clinical perspective, I assume major surgery (cardiopulmonary, esophageal, gastrointestinal resection surgery) often require prolonged ventilation. In minor surgeries, such as prostate biopsies, extremity surgeries, etc., if the patient is on mechanical ventilation longer than 24-hours and assuming the patient is awake, then I would tend to query regarding post-operative respiratory failure, particularly if there is a medical complication such as aspiration pneumonia, pulmonary edema, etc.

Q: What’s the difference between acute respiratory failure and acute pulmonary insufficiency? Would oxygen dependent Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) be insufficiency instead of failure?

A: Acute respiratory failure is a life-threatening condition which is typified by a pO2 of less than 60 on room air (in patients with previously normal lungs) in the clinical situation of a patient with rapid respirations and increased work of breathing in the acute setting. Acute pulmonary/respiratory insufficiency is a poorly defined term merely meaning non-life-threatening impairment of gas exchange. Therefore, it does not represent a pO2 of less than 60 (in patients with previously normal lungs), but not a completely normal pO2. Oxygen-dependent COPD is consistent with chronic respiratory failure as to obtain oxygen (via Medicare) one must have a pO2 of less than 60.

Q: Post-operative pulmonary insufficiency is an MCC, but post-operative respiratory insufficiency is neither a CC/MCC. Is there a way to differentiate these two diagnoses?

A: There is no medical differentiation between pulmonary and respiratory insufficiency. This is merely an idiosyncrasy of ICD-10-CM.

Q: According to resources, a lactate less than 1.0mmol/L, which is normal, is considered a sepsis indicator. Why is this an appropriate indicator if it is within normal limits rather than greater than 2 which is abnormal?

A: Despite the “normal” limits of lactate up to 2.2 in most hospitals, it has been determined, retroactively, a lactic acid level of greater than 1 is a finding seen in sepsis. It is not specific as there are other hypoperfusion states and/or chronic liver disease which may result in an elevated lactic acid level. Therefore, it must only be interpreted in the appropriate clinical circumstances.

Q: Is healthcare associated pneumonia (HCAP) synonymous with hospital acquired pneumonia?

A: They are similar, but not synonymous. HCAP includes nursing homes, long-term acute care facilities, chemotherapy, and dialysis centers. Hospital-acquired pneumonia requires a hospitalization of at least a three-day stay. The pathogenic organisms are similar as is the treatment.

Conference Conversations: Fox helps make CDI programs “physician-friendly”

Fox, Nicole

Nicole Fox, MD, MPH, FACS, CPE

Editor’s Note: The ACDIS Conference is only a little over two months away. Over the coming weeks, we’ll take some time to introduce members to a few of this year’s speakers. The conference takes place May 9-12, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Today, we talked to Nicole Fox, MD, MPH, FACS, CPE, the medical director of pediatric trauma and CDI at Cooper University Health Care in Camden, New Jersey, who will be presenting “Playing to Win: How to Engage Physicians in Clinical Documentation Improvement.” Currently, Fox leads a team of 13 CDI specialists and achieved a 100% physician response rate to queries.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge you faced with physician engagement at your facility?

A: Actually one of the strengths of our program is physician engagement. We have a 100% response rate to our CDI queries. I think one of the general challenges with physician engagement is not recognizing that the best way for physicians to receive information is peer-to-peer. There is no substitute for a practicing physician embedded in your CDI program who will proactively educate peers and handle any concerns that arise. Physicians are never taught how to document, so they struggle with this much-needed skill set and are often hesitant to ask for help. But, they respond most effectively to one of their peers.

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

A: Attendees can expect an interactive, dynamic presentation. They will have tangible “take-aways” to help make their CDI program physician friendly. They also will have tools to handle difficult physicians.

Q:  What one tool can CDI professionals not live without?

A: An engaged medical director for their program.

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

A: This session challenges non-physicians to see CDI from a physician’s perspective and really evaluate their own program to determine whether or not they are set up for success in terms of physician engagement.

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

A: I cannot wait to hear about other program’s successes, particularly with ambulatory CDI which is our next area of growth and expansion.

Q: Fun question: what’s your favorite breakfast food?

A: An egg white burrito with quinoa and black beans. It’s awesome with tomatillo sauce. They make a great one at the Wynn Hotel café in Vegas, so try one while you are out at the ACDIS conference.

 

Conference Conversations: Brant offers insight into recovery auditor programs

barbara brant

Barbara Brant, MPA, RN, CCDS, CDIP, CCS

Editor’s Note: Over the coming weeks leading up to the conference, we’ll take some time to introduce members to a few of this year’s speakers. The conference takes place May 9-12, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Today, we spoke with Barbara Brant, MPA, RN, CCDS, CDIP, CCS, a senior consultant with Cotiviti Health Care, presenting “CDI Specialists: Impact Potential in the Audit Process.” Since 2005, she has been involved in the development, implementation, and auditing of CDI programs. Brant has assisted health systems with ICD-10 Gap Analyses and created ICD-10-CM educational materials for specialty physician groups. Currently, she provides training and clinical support for DRG auditors. She lives in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania with her husband Marty.

 

Q: What do you think CDI specialists’ biggest misconceptions about the Recovery Auditor program are?

A: There are really three main misconceptions:

  1. Denials are determined without complete review of the documentation
  2. Recovery Auditor’s only look for “gotcha” errors
  3. CMS Recovery Audit programs are performed to only take back

Q: Recovery Auditors are not at the top of anyone’s best friend list in healthcare, but what important purpose do they serve?

A: The goal of any audit is to identify problematic issues. The purpose of CMS’ Recovery Auditors is to identify and prevent improper payments. Therefore, Recovery Auditors serve a purpose by encouraging healthcare providers to work for solutions to correct identified problems, stabilize provider revenue cycles, and ensure accurate payments for payers.

 

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

A: The three things that attendees can expect are

  1. To understand that Recovery Auditors perform very comprehensive reviews of all documentation provided.
  2. To obtain knowledge that the guidance for recommended reimbursement changes (higher or lower) is based on extensive peer-reviewed research of best-practices, clinical consensus data and Official Coding Guidelines.
  3. To use information from this session for improved denial data due to CDI performance improvements.

 

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

A: To encourage use of retrospective audit data to concurrently improve problematic documentation

 

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

A: Interaction with colleagues and to stay updated on CDI’s expanding roles within the revenue cycle

 

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

A: A Christmas Story – a perfectly imperfect loving family!

 

Q&A: Coding guidelines for COPD and pneumonia

Q: I’m having problems determining the correct coding guidelines for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia. Have the guidelines changed regarding COPD and pneumonia? Do you now have to code the pneumonia as a COPD with a lower respiratory infection?

A: Yes, the AHA’s Coding Clinic for ICD 10-CM/PCS, Third Quarter 2016, discusses an instruction note found at code J44.0, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with acute lower respiratory infection requires that the COPD be coded first, followed by a code for the lower respiratory infection. This means that the lower respiratory infection cannot be used as the principal diagnosis. We would assign code J44.0 (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with acute lower respiratory infection) as the principal diagnosis, followed by an additional code to identify the lower respiratory infection.

If the patient has an acute exacerbation of COPD and pneumonia, we would assign both codes J44.0 (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with acute lower respiratory infection) and code J44.1 (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with acute exacerbation). Per the instructions, either code may be sequenced first and it should be based on the circumstances of the admission, followed by a code to identify the infection, such as code J18.9 (pneumonia, unspecified organism).

CDI specialists and/or the coding staff need to clarify the type of infection to ensure the proper code assignment. There does seem to be some concerns regarding classifications of lower respiratory infection. Per the Coding Clinic, acute bronchitis and pneumonia are both included in code J44.0 (lower respiratory infections). Influenza, on the other hand, is not included in code J44.0 because it is considered both an upper and lower respiratory infection.

Additionally, the type of pneumonia needs to be clarified. For example, aspiration pneumonia (code J69) is not classified as a lower respiratory infection, but as a lung disease due to the external agents. To assign the appropriate code in the case of aspiration pneumonia, we would need to know the external agent, i.e. milk versus vomit.

Editor’s Note: Sharme Brodie, RN, CCDS, CDI education specialist and CDI Boot Camp instructor for HCPro in Middleton, Massachusetts, answered this question. For information, contact her at sbrodie@hcpro.com. For information regarding CDI Boot Camps offered by HCPro, visit www.hcprobootcamps.com/courses/10040/overview.

 

Conference Q&A: Manchenton digs into surgical CDI

Manchenton

Cheryl M. Manchenton, RN, BSN, CCDS

Editor’s 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 talked with Cheryl M. Manchenton, RN, BSN, CCDS, senior inpatient consultant/project manager with 3M Health Information Systems, overseeing CDI programs, who will present “Anatomy of an Operative Note: A CSI Analysis of Operative Notes Gone Bad.” Manchenton specializes in workflow design, program management, quality metrics, and performance. She is responsible for the 3M quality services and quality services training materials and hosts the 3M CDI Management Roundtable. Manchenton is a guest for ACDIS Radio on the March 22 at 11:30 a.m. EST. She will be providing a brief preview of her conference presentation that you won’t want to miss! To register for ACDIS Radio, click here.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge you encountered in your experience with surgical CDI programs?

A: The biggest challenge is lack of timely operative notes or detailed daily progress notes. In other words, minimal documentation by surgeons including a comprehensive list of chronic conditions.

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

A: Our session will be at minimum entertaining. Attendees can expect us to share very common pitfalls with operative note templates, strategies for collaborating to improve and results of effective collaboration.

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

A: Instead of complaining about who’s fault something is with poor documentation, coding or quality metrics, I hope our session will show attendees some creative ways to actually improve.

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

A: Collaboration!

Q: Fun question: What is your favorite animal and why?

A: I love otters. They work hard but play hard too. They know how to make work fun.

 

Conference Q&A: Faustino shares her remote CDI experiences

Lara Faustino

Lara Faustino, RN, BSN, CCDS

Editor’s note: So we’re getting close to conference time!  we’ll take some time to introduce members to a few of this year’s speakers. The conference takes place May 9-12, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Today, we caught up with Lara Faustino, RN, BSN, CCDS, a CDI s specialist at Boston Medical Center (BMC), who will present “A Visibly Invisible CDI Team.” She has 10 years of clinical experience in three large, academic medical centers in New England and extensive knowledge in both CDI and quality enterprises. During her career, Faustino developed best practice provider education for documentation, helped with her facility’s EMR transition, and developed training strategies and tools for the ICD-10 transition. Additionally, she was nominated by peers to the Massachusetts Regional Leadership Co-Chair status (2016) and served as the national 2015 BMC representative at the ACDIS national conference.

 

Q: How does your remote CDI position give you a unique perspective on the field as a whole?

A: I believe as technology advances, specifically the integration of the electronic health record (EHR) and tele health, I view a new angle on healthcare delivery (not just the field of CDI) as a whole. As the future state of virtual physical assessment evolves using iPads/iPhones from a remote setting, a successful CDI program will adapt to the same methods of communication to enhance the physician relationship.

 

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

A: Attendees can expect to learn about decisions that prompted the program to go remote; how to identify key strategies that support the success of a remote CDI Program; and the work/life balance.

 

Q: What one tool can CDI professionals not live without?

A: Specifically, from a remote CDI perspective, an excellent internet connection to an electronic health record!

 

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

A: My session will challenge CDI professionals to think outside the “walls” of a hospital setting – self-discipline, autonomy, and confidence and how to maintain harmony will all be discussed.

 

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

A: Networking! I always enjoy learning from a variety of CDI professionals from across the nation and it always amazes me how very similar we are, or how vastly different we approach the same types of challenges.

 

Q: Fun question: Do you have pets and if so, what are their names?

A: I do! I have a dynamic duo of dogs that keep my days exciting (my office mates!). Their names are Max (Beagle) and Oliver (Golden Retriever), but we call them “Ham & Cheese!”

 

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

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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.