Meet a Member: She agreed to a 90-day trial CDI position and the rest is history!
Ann Schwab, RHIT, CCDS, is the CDI team lead at A&R Contracting, Inc. in Mount Vernon, Washington. Prior to becoming a CDI professional six years ago, Schwab was an inpatient coder.
ACDIS: Why did you get into the CDI field?
Schwab: Our hospital started their CDI program with an RN who left within six months. When asked by our physician advisor to consider taking the job I pointed out that I didn’t have a clinical background and would only agree to a 90-day trial. The committee agreed, and as they say, the rest is history.
ACDIS: What has been your biggest challenge?
Schwab: Not having a clinical background which I’ve largely overcome by having an extremely helpful, very accessible, physician advisor. It also helps that I had 40 years of inpatient coding experience and a keen interest in medicine.
ACDIS: What has been your biggest reward?
Schwab: Learning something new every day and mentoring another coder to fill in for me when I am on vacation (I didn’t have anyone to do that for five years).
ACDIS: How has the field changed since you began working in CDI?
Schwab: The increased emphasis on diagnosis validation and denial appeals and prevention.
ACDIS: Can you mention a few of the “gold nuggets” of information you’ve received from colleagues on The Forum or through ACDIS?
Schwab: It would be hard to list all the ways that I have grown through these avenues. I listen to the ACDIS Podcast in my car going to and from work and am frequently bringing articles to the attention of my physician advisor.
ACDIS: If you have attended, how many ACDIS conferences have you been to? What are your favorite memories?
Schwab: I attended the 2017 annual conference in Las Vegas and stayed offsite. My favorite memory was getting lost walking to my Airbnb and the valet at the MGM insisting on walking there himself.
ACDIS: What piece of advice would you offer to a new CDI specialist?
Schwab: Attend a CDI Boot Camp!
ACDIS: If you could have any other job, what would it be?
Schwab: Teaching money management skills to young adults.
ACDIS: What was your first job?
Schwab: I got my first job when I was 12. I lived in a farming community and I picked raspberries and branched out to all kinds of field work in the next few years.
ACDIS: Can you tell us about a few of your favorite things?
- Vacation spots: Southern Arizona where we spend several months spread out over the year (I can work remotely).
- Hobby: Reading—so many books, so little time!
- Non-alcoholic beverage: Earl gray tea.
- Foods: Seafood, chicken, all kinds of salads.
- Activity: Being outside in the sunshine doing practically anything.
ACDIS: Tell us about your family and how you like to spend your time away from CDI.
Schwab: I have two grandchildren and I love to spend time with them. We play games together, read books, and go on little “mini-vacations” locally.