Association for Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists (ACDIS) Spearheads the Development of a Professional Certification

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Almost 400 clinical documentation specialists gathered in Las Vegas, NV for the first national conference devoted to CDI professionals.

Almost 400 clinical documentation specialists gathered in Las Vegas, NV for the first national conference devoted to CDI professionals. At the same time, a group of dedicated leaders and volunteers from their membership met to begin the process of developing a professional credential for this growing profession.

The mandate was a clear one - ACDIS members are looking for professional recognition, further definition of their competencies and skills, and a professional certification program and credential built upon both training and field experience. Over 50 highly qualified clinical documentation improvement professionals came forward to volunteer for the certification board. A final group of 12 members met for the first time in May to launch the research and assemble the resources necessary to build a certification qualification and testing process that is planned to go live in 2009.

The sponsor of the Las Vegas event as well as the new certification program is the Association for Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists (ACDIS) ( ACDIS was launched in 2008 and is over 1,000 members strong and growing rapidly.

Association Director Brian Murphy commented, "The tremendous response we've gotten from CDI specialists to both the association and to the demand for a high quality professional certification program has been gratifying. The certification committee has already begun work in task forces assigned to the development of Core Competencies and the creation of a Professional Code of Ethics. The level of member involvement and engagement is clearly very high, and underscores the previously unmet need for this professional membership association."

The Core Competencies task force will be reaching out to the full membership to begin research that will assist in the development of the certification program. In addition, a separate task force is currently working to define a Professional Code of Ethics.

The Association's multidisciplinary membership comes from diverse backgrounds, including health information management/coding, nursing/case management, quality, and compliance. Early adopters of the organization expressed a desire for an association dedicated to bringing the various backgrounds together. Accurate clinical documentation affects patient care, regulatory compliance, physician/facility profiles, legal protection/defense, and reimbursement.

The May Association for Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists two-day conference is an annual event, and will be returning to Las Vegas in the spring of 2009.

More information about the development of the professional CDI specialist certification will be posted on the ACDIS website ( as the work of the certification board continues to progress. At this time, the standing certification board includes the following charter members:

  •     Deborah Biskner, RHIA, CCS, clinical documentation specialist, Port Huron Hospital, MI
  •     Jill Brocker, RN, MSN, CCS, director of quality services, Indiana Heart Institute
  •     Margi Brown, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P, CPC, director of coding quality and education, Community Health Systems, Brentwood, TN
  •     Mary Beth Brown, RN, BSN, manager of clinical documentation improvement/utilization review, Moses Cone Health System
  •     Gloryanne Bryant, RHIA, CCS, senior director of corporate coding/HIM compliance, San Francisco, CA
  •     Tamara Hicks, RN, BSN, CCS, manager of care coordinator, North Carolina Baptist Hospital, Winston-Salem, NC
  •     Kathy Kerfoot, CPHQ, quality manager, St. Mary's Regional Medical Center, Enid, OK
  •     Wanda Myers, RN, BSN, MA, CDS, clinical documentation specialist coordinator/coding and case mix analysis, Medstar
  •     Mary Phelps, RHIA, CCS, CTR, CIC, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
  •     Cory Price, RN, BSN, clinical documentation specialist, Alegent Health, Immanuel Medical Center, Omaha, NE
  •     Suzanne Rogers, CCS, RHIA, CPHQ, director, clinical data management, University of Texas Medical Branch
  •     Lynne Spryszak, RN, coordinator, clinical documentation management program, Alexian Brothers Medical Center, Elk Grove Village, IL

About The Association For Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists (ACDIS):

The Association provides members with access to a regular email newsletter, CDI Strategies, as well as a quarterly association journal. Members can also obtain continuing education credits via members-only online learning offerings. Other benefits include a talk group, a library of forms and tools, and quarterly conference calls. Details about the association, membership, and conference can be found at ACDIS is sponsored by HCPro,Inc., a portfolio company of Halyard Investments providing information, advice, consulting and research on healthcare regulation and revenue cycle management.


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Brian Murphy, CPC
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