ACDIS Conference

It’s summer, which means the ACDIS conference for 2016 is over. More importantly, it means that 1900 bodies are back home and beginning to put the vast amount of amazing information they absorbed at the conference to work for them. But I digress – and before I get into the ‘topic’ of topics, I’ll back up a bit.

Don’t despair if you were unable to attend the conference this year – allow me to be your roving reporter, your eyes and ears so that you can experience the ACDIS conference through me.

MedPartners was once again proud to be the title sponsor for the ACDIS conference. It was incredible to see our logo on the screen at the sessions and on the literature, then to walk into the exhibit hall and behold the hallmark MedPartners booth front and center, spanning a significant amount of real estate! That recognition from the country’s authority on CDI is an additional confirmation that we work for the premier CDI consulting and staffing company that continues to excel in the industry with our expert consultants.

Early registration began the afternoon before opening day and I took advantage of the short lines and registered early. As I walked up to the booths that were arranged alphabetically by last name, I marveled at the purple and orange neon frontage. Neon is timeless and the mesmerizing effect drew me in. I provided my last name and my badge was swiftly located and handed to me along with a nice sturdy zippered canvas bag with amazing treasures inside.

ACDIS Conference Day One

The first day saw the ballroom blossom to approximately 1700-1800 for the opening session as purple-, orange-, and teal-clothed attendees streamed into the room with electrifying energy.

As exciting as it was to have another amazing conference underway, there was an underlying veil of loss among us, for we had learned only the week before of the passing of Dr. Robert Gold, an icon in the CDI community. As the Director of ACDIS, Brian Murphy, delivered a moving tribute, the once buzzing crowd became solemn as everyone quietly remembered the life and contributions of Dr. Gold.

Once we silently reflected, we moved on to the annual award ceremony as Dr. Gold would have wanted us to. This is a favorite component of the opening day general session and this year, ACDIS was thrilled to recognize:

  • Candace E. Blankenship, RN, BSN, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, recipient of the Rookie of the Year award
  • Susan E. Kohl, MD, Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, recipient of the Excellence in Provider Engagement award
  • Jessica M. Vaughn, RN, BSN, CCS, Wake Forest Baptist Health, recipient of the Recognition of CDI Professional Achievement award
  • Karen M. DiMeglio, RN, MS, CCDS, CPC, Lifespan, as 2016 CDI Professional of the Year

The opening day’s speaker was Richard Wild, MD, JD, MBA, FACEP and Chief Medical Officer for the Atlanta Regional Office of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Dr. Wild gave insight into the history of value-based purchasing (VBP) and the goals moving forward with the implementation of MACRA (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015). I walked away with a renewed appreciation for CMS and their attempts to ensure continued quality care for the patient, and to append physician payment accordingly for that care.

ACDIS Conference Day Two

The second day’s opening session was equally as motivating, but from an entirely different angle. We welcomed Vicki Hess, RN, MS, a nationally renowned speaker and certified speaking professional, who elaborated on the subject of Becoming a Champion of Change: Your Checklist for CDI Success. Vicki encouraged us to move toward Professional Paradise, a place that parallels our personal paradise, or our ‘happy place’ where we all occasionally spend some time to re-energize!

The most important point she provided was that we held the POWER, and within that “power” were both internal and external “POWS” that we encounter. The external “POWs” are out of our control (ICD-10, VBP, etc.); therefore, we need to expend our energy toward the internal “POWs” (worrying, fretting, taking things personally, feeling unsupported) and turn them into “WOWs,” thereby dispelling the POWs from existence.

We left each day’s opening session eager to learn from the speakers in the sessions which were categorized into five tracks:

  • Clinical and Coding
  • Management and Leadership
  • Quality and Regulatory
  • CDI Expansion
  • Innovative CDI

There were so many great sessions that ran concurrently that I often had to close my eyes and point in order to choose which one to attend. Not a bad problem to have, right? 🙂

One of the most well attended sessions was a special panel entitled New Sepsis Definition. It was anticipated to draw a large crowd, and despite the fact that it was added at the end of day one and lengthened our day, the attendance was large, as expected. It was so large, in fact, that it was held in the ballroom, where the opening sessions were held. The panelists were four of the biggest names in the CDI profession – Dr. Sam Antonios, Dr. James Fee, Dr. James Kennedy, and Dr. Richard Pinson. The information they provided during the session did not disappoint.

In the blink of an eye, the last conference day arrived and it was time to bid adieu to friends until next year. With over 55 compelling sessions, expert speakers, plus a suite of ACDIS staff who ensured the conference ran seamlessly, I departed as I leave every year – wondering how they will ever surpass this year’s conference. Yet, they will! Plan to attend next year at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas from May 9 -12, 2017 to witness the best ACDIS conference EVER!

Karen Newhouser, RN, BSN, CCM, CCDS, CCS, CDIP
Director of Education
MedPartners University


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