The Association of Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists (ACDIS) reaches 3,000 Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist (CCDS) credential holders

Press Releases, January 19, 2016

The Association of Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists (ACDIS), the nation’s only healthcare community for clinical documentation professionals, is proud to celebrate its 3,000th Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist (CCDS) credential holder, Rhonda Bisby, RN, BSN, CCDS, CDI specialist at Memorial Hermann in Houston.

Clinical documentation specialists possess a wide range of specialized skills in a variety of disciplines—from nursing to medical coding, from anatomy and physiology to pharmacology, and from governmental and private payer regulations to an ability to analyze and interpret medical record documentation and benchmark clinical documentation program performance.

The mission of the CCDS credentialing program is to identify and support a high level of experience, proficiency, and know-how among clinical documentation specialists. The program accomplishes this by drawing upon a board of experienced clinical documentation specialists hailing from diverse, multidisciplinary fields, including nursing, HIM/coding, quality, and case management. The board has established eligibility requirements to ensure that only experienced professionals with an ability to perform the functions of a clinical documentation specialist may possess the certification.

“You have to feel strong in your job, and you absolutely have to have been a CDI specialist for more than two years,” Bisby says. “You need to do the job, like the job, and want the knowledge that you gain by being a CDI specialist. The studying part is one thing, but the experience of it is very important. It was a difficult test, so I am proud and excited to not only have passed but to be the 3,000th person to hold the certification. I feel very privileged to have this knowledge and to be associated with ACDIS.”

More than 44% of CDI professionals currently hold the CCDS credential, according to the recently released 2015 CDI Salary Survey. Those with the certification are highly sought in the industry and earn higher compensation than those without the mark of distinction, survey results show.

CDI salaries increased dramatically this year, according to the nearly 800 survey respondents. Those earning $59,999 or less dropped drastically—from a high of nearly 26% in 2012 to under 9% this year. Top earners, those making $110,000 or more, doubled from 6% in 2013 to 13.2% this year.

The results demonstrate a narrowing salary gap amongst CDI professionals as well as the increased value the healthcare industry is placing on the profession, says ACDIS Advisory Board member Karen Newhouser, RN, CCDS, CDIP, CCS, CCM, director of education for MedPartners in Tampa, Florida.

“The basic salary breakdown is amazing,” Newhouser says. “These results tell me that CDI is increasingly being identified as an independent profession and is as important to the facility as case management, HIM, and quality.”

Now in its ninth year, ACDIS is a community of more than 4,800 CDI professionals who share the latest tips, tools, and strategies to implement successful CDI programs and achieve professional growth. ACDIS' mission is to serve as the premier healthcare community for CDI specialists, providing a medium for education, professional growth, professional certification, and networking through its annual conference, local chapter outreach efforts, regular webinars, website, and social media outlets.

For more information about ACDIS and its offerings, please visit or call 877-240-6586.

About the CCDS
The program, core competencies, and test design of the Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist (CCDS) credential have been developed by a CCDS certification board, consisting of healthcare professionals hailing from a wide range of backgrounds and expertise, including nursing, HIM/coding, case management, and quality. The board also includes a public member with full voting privileges. The CCDS credential is intended to stand as a mark of distinction for those who have been working in the clinical documentation improvement profession, and as such, only those who have been working in the field for at least two years may sit for the exam.

For additional information about the credential, exam application, and recertification requirements, visit or contact CCDS Coordinator Penny Richards at

About the 2015 CDI Salary Survey
ACDIS annually surveys its membership regarding trends in clinical documentation improvement program structure and staff compensation. Now in its ninth year, the 2015 CDI Salary Survey shows significant shifts in staff payments and benefits. The survey demonstrates advancements by education, certification, and experience levels as well as breakdowns in salary by geographic location.

For additional information, visit the CDI Journal section of the ACDIS website. ACDIS members have access to this and all previous CDI Salary Survey publications.