Local chapter update: The importance of chapter bylaws

CDI Strategies - Volume 17, Issue 11

For ACDIS, each local chapter is different in size, activity, financial accounts, and not all are officially non-profit organizations. As a chapter matures and becomes more formalized, however, establishing bylaws becomes a vital step to ensure the chapter’s longevity and stability.

Bylaws are the bones of the organization and perform many essential functions, such as defining:

  • The mission and purpose of the chapter
  • Structure and roles for volunteer positions (and/or elected officials) and their respective responsibilities
    • Terms of office and leadership succession processes
    • Policies for leadership team member removal
    • Leadership meeting requirements
    • Leadership membership provisions
    • Leadership voting rights
    • Leadership decision-making policies and practices
  • Transactional processes regarding any accounting or tax-status obligations.
  • The conflict of interest policy
  • Benefits of membership

Most importantly, bylaws are the framework for connections between the members and the leadership team. It is a public document, and all members should have access to it. For ACDIS local chapters, it should contain information regarding the relationship with the national ACDIS organization, as outlined in the Official ACDIS Local Chapter Agreement Form. Remember, the members have a say in the local association and the process for member participation is through access to the bylaws, voting rights, and the opportunities provided by the leadership team, for instance, conferences with continuing education credits.

The bylaws keep the leadership team members accountable to their members, federal government, and to the national ACDIS association. A description of the leadership’s work plan should be incorporated in the bylaws, as well. The work plan should provide volunteers and members with a timeline for membership activities. With membership access to the bylaws, the expectations between the leadership and the membership are known. They can evolve over time to meet the needs of both the leadership and membership.

For those of you with financial transactions, there are important considerations to keep the leadership and chapter membership “safe.” A one-time review of your bylaws by a tax attorney is important. There are online board and bylaw webinars you can access but working with a tax attorney in your state can assist in adherence to state as well as federal guidelines. When you pursue federal tax exemption, note that the IRS will ask your chapter to either attest to bylaw adoption or request a copy of the bylaws. Annual review of the bylaws, monthly review of financial statements, and annual financial audits will help keep you and the board protected from potential fraud and abuse allegations and should be delineated in the bylaws.

Like any endeavor, drafting chapter bylaws takes a concerted effort and it may require some help from a dedicated subcommittee within the chapter. Though ACDIS doesn’t require chapters to use bylaws, doing so can provide both the chapter’s leadership and membership a sense of ownership over their group’s efforts, and ensure that the chapter has a firm foundation for future chapter leaders’ success.

Note: This is an excerpt from a resource which will be available soon in the chapter leadership toolkit, which is currently under review with the Chapter Advisory Committee.

The following is a list of upcoming events for ACDIS local chapters. Visit your local chapter’s webpage on the ACDIS site for additional information about upcoming meetings. To join a chapter if you haven’t already or to update your chapter contact information/affiliation, click here.


  • The Wisconsin ACDIS chapter meets Thursday, March 16, 1-3 p.m., via webinar. The topic will be on denials and social determinants of health. For information, contact Alicia Whiteford (awhiteford@mhemail.org).
  • The Minnesota ACDIS chapter meets Thursday, March 22, 1-2 p.m., via webinar. The program is titled, “Clinical Validation of Malnutrition,” and will be presented by Sharme Brodie, RN, CCDS, CCDS-O, CRC. For information, contact AnneMarie Vannurden (vannurdena@centracare.com).
  • The CDI Educators Networking Group meets Friday, March 24, 1-2 p.m., via webinar. The program is titled, “The Matter of Mortalities: Educating Providers on ‘WHY’ Their Words Matter,” and will be presented by Kathy Hubbard, BSN, RN, CCDS, and Lisa Fuller, BSN, RN, CCDS. For information, contact Danita Arrowood (darrowood@nthrive.com).
  • The Texas ACDIS chapter meets Thursday, March 30, 12-1 p.m., via webinar. The program is titled, "There and Back Again: Evolution of the CDI Profession and Emerging Professional Opportunities," and will be presented by Brian Murphy. For information, contact Tu-Quynh Hoang (tuhoang@utmb.edu).


  • The Illinois ACDIS chapter meets Thursday, April 20, 2023, 12-1 p.m., via webinar. The program is titled, “CDI Jeopardy,” and will be presented by Emilie Navidad-McDermid, BSN, RN, CCDS, Dottie Fanning, BSN, RN, CCM, CCDS, and Jeneth Esquivel-Salinas, MSN, RN, CCDS. For information, contact Amy Bush (dorothy.fanning@aah.org). 
  • The Pediatric Networking Group (APDIS) meets Thursday, April 20, 2023, at 3 p.m., via webinar. The program is titled, “Hot Topics in Pediatric CDI.” For information, contact Amy Bush (bush-amy@cooperhealth.edu).
  • The CDI Educators Networking Group meets Friday, April 21, 1-2 p.m., via webinar. The program is titled, “Clinical Documentation Improvement Process for Cancer Patients,” and will be presented by Cheryl Radin-Norman, LPN, RHIT, CTR. For information, contact Danita Arrowood (darrowood@nthrive.com).
Found in Categories: 
ACDIS Guidance, Education