Summer reading: Hiring pediatric CDI specialists
Hiring CDI specialists is, of course, an integral piece in the puzzle to building a successful pediatric CDI program. Unfortunately, there is a dearth of qualified pediatric CDI specialists in the industry and an institution may need to use a significant amount of resources to train CDI specialists with regards to pediatric-specific medical knowledge, the revenue cycle, and coding guidelines.
Looking locally, even within the institution itself, when searching for prospective CDI specialists provides one potential option. Hiring from within offers advantages such as an awareness of internal policies and procedures, interpersonal knowledge, and career advancement for existing staff in good standing. Additionally, by hiring from within, the program manager will likely already know or have solid references regarding the candidate’s personality, strengths, and weaknesses.
For children’s hospitals and pediatric programs, hiring and promoting from within also provides practical pediatric clinical or coding expertise.
Although respondents to ACDIS’ annual Salary Survey predominately hail from a nursing background, a team comprised of a mixed balance of coding and clinical backgrounds, when possible, may be the best combination. Nurses, physician assistants, and physicians all clearly bring clinical knowledge to the table; coding professionals with a strong pediatric background have their own significant insights for the role.
Regardless of the candidate’s previous position, however, the new staff person should have a strong clinical or coding background and be open to learning from other disciplines. (For an example of a CDI specialist job description, visit the ACDIS Resource Library.) Most importantly, hire CDI specialists who are the right fit for your program. The right hire should be able to:
- Demonstrate understanding of the DRG payment system and documentation requirements
- Perform clinical reviews and send compliant queries to clinicians
- Follow up on all queries in a timely fashion
- Reconcile charts with coding personnel prior to bill submission
- Support professional growth by participating in educational activities
- Maintain a positive working relationship with other team members and clinical staff
Editor’s note: This excerpt is adapted from the book Pediatric CDI: Building Blocks for Success.