Rx for rural community health: CDI on a shoestring with Jennifer Cummins

Listen to the full episode here: https://spotifyanchor-web.app.link/e/uVBMHJadvIb 


Small community hospitals are the backbone of healthcare for most of the country, even today in this era of sprawling healthcare organizations and massive mergers.  


But while they’re critical to the health of our nation, resources are often scarce, and CDI is no exception. 


Jennifer Cummins, BSN, CCDS, is one of just two CDI professionals covering a 222-bed not-for-profit community hospital in rural Kentucky. Advanced technology and sophisticated AI are not in her toolbox, but that doesn’t mean Jennifer doesn’t take pride in her work. 


In fact, she and her colleague are making a big impact with some old-school methods. Their CDI work helped the hospital earn the title of one of the 100 Greatest Community Hospitals in America. Proof that determination, creativity, and teamwork are still more important than tech, even in this day and age.  


On this show we cover:


  • Jennifer’s origin story—ICU and ER nurse, finding her way into CDI with the help of a nursing colleague
  • CDI program–when it began, focus of reviews, and success metrics
  • Conducting chart reviews with a basic encoder, books, creativity, and the help of other departments
  • Logistical challenges as a small community hospital, including weekend coverage and PTO in a department of two, and rising to meet new initiatives with limited resources
  • Expansion to mortality reviews: Identifying the need, process, early successes, and conducting deeper, more intensive reviews 
  • Fun things to do in Kentucky (aka., Bourbon Trail). Plus Jennifer’s addition to the Off the Record Spotify playlist (Kentucky bluegrass? Find out)

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