Always learning, always growing: Meet Keisha Downes, CDI Director, Tufts Medicine

CDI Director for Tufts Medicine.

Recently returned to school to earn her MBA.

Contributor to, and co-author of, the latest ACDIS-AHIMA physician query practice brief.

Speaker at the upcoming ACDIS conference.

And all-around cool person.

Keisha Downes, BSN, RN, CCDS, CCS, joined me recently to talk about her impressive career in healthcare, a path that started from humble beginnings at Wal-Mart, then to nursing, travel nursing, and finally CDI, which took her from her home state of Virginia to my home state of Massachusetts.

Today Downes serves as CDI director over a 3-hospital system and a staff of 21. She constantly challenges herself to learn and do new things, and is constantly learning and growing as a result.

We get a bit into her ACDIS session, CDI Mortality Reviews: Going Beyond SOI/ROM, as well as Tufts’ metrics for success and mortality review process. And a little bit about a session I plan to deliver at ACDIS about my former colleague, the late Melissa Varnavas.

We happen to share a similar love of 80s hard rock, which was an unexpected surprise. Downes’ CDI oversight includes Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, the place where I was born—another surprise. Which often occurs when speaking with my guests.

Come to think of it, I wonder if my mom’s admission and my delivery was given a proper CDI review—probably not, this was 1973. Pre-DRGs, pre-EHR, almost pre-electricity.


Listen to the episode here:

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