Clinical Documentation Improvement – Interview with Dr. Cesar Limjoco – 005

An Interesting Career and Stepping Stone to Other Opportunities

In this podcast episode, I’m joined by Dr. Cesar Limjoco. I’ve known Cesar for many years. He was kind enough to take time out from his busy consulting schedule to come on the podcast and share his advice about becoming a Medical Advisor for Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI).

Cesar is a nationally recognized consultant helping set up CDI programs at hospitals across the country. He’s been doing this work for over 25 years. I remember him helping explain proper documentation and coding practices to my medical staff on topics like heart failure and sepsis.

He trains hospital based CDI medical advisors, nurse documentation specialists and coding staff. He’s a great guy, very dedicated to what he does.

So, I was very pleased when he agreed to discuss how clinicians might shift into a career as a hospital CDI medical advisor. One of the advantages of a position like this is that it is a potential stepping stone to an executive position (like VP for Medical Affairs or CMO).

Is There a Need?

Since the adoption of DRGs (Diagnostic Related Groups) as a method to pay hospitals for inpatient care, there has been a growing demand for expertise in clinical documentation and coding. The subsequent adoption of MS-DRGs and ICD-10 have increased the need for physicians with expertise in this area. Thus, there is growing demand for local physician CDI expertise at just about every U.S. hospital.

The Path to CDI Medical Advisor or Director

Here are some suggestions about how to develop a career as a CDI expert.

  1. Get involved with documentation and coding at your hospital. Get to know medical record coders and billers. Volunteer to help them with questions about particular cases, and ask them to describe common coding issues related to documentation.
  2. Explore the professional organizations that are involved in this field (see the resources below). Select one or two conferences to attend.
  3. Participate in any on-site clinical documentation improvement initiatives, especially if it involves lectures or discussions by CDI consultants like Cesar.
  4. Volunteer to join the CDI committee at your hospital, if it has one. They function very similar to case management, utilization review or quality improvement committees, applying an interdisciplinary approach to addressing documentation issues.
  5. Once you have acquired some expertise, approach the administration of the hospital about becoming a part-time CDI medical advisor, reviewing cases, intervening with physicians and clarifying issues for nurse documentation specialist and medical coders.
  6. Consider going full-time, depending on the size of the organization and the demonstrated need.

In Closing…

There you have it. I hope you found this interview inspiring and informative.


Here is a list of resources mentioned in this episode:

Previous Episodes

If you missed the previous podcast episodes check them out at…

  1. Getting Acquainted – 001 or listen at iTunes, Stitcher or Google Play
  2. Proper Way to Pivot – 002
  3. Seeking an MBA _ Interview with Atish Jaiswal – 003
  4. Follow Six Essential Rules to Engage a Mentor – 004

Come Back Next Week

Thank’s so much for joining me. I really appreciate your time. I’ll be with you again soon – right here at Physician NonClinical Careers.

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