Summer 2018 Newsletter

By aahq • In NewsNo Comments

From the President’s Desk

Submitted by: Pam Cochran

Pam Cochran

This week, on behalf of the Arkansas Association for Healthcare Quality (AAHQ), I received an official State of Arkansas Executive Department Proclamation signed the 28th of June 2018.  The proclamation identifies October 21st-October 27, 2018 as National Healthcare Quality Week in Arkansas.  Asa Hutchinson, Governor of the Great State of Arkansas, encourages fellow citizens to recognize the efforts of healthcare quality professionals and institutions working to advance patient care in our wonderful home state.  Indeed, this is cause for celebration.  We should all start making plans for October!

After the proclamation arrived, I reviewed the National Association of Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) Mission and Vision Statements.  I was encouraged by the NAHQ Vision Statement which reads, “The healthcare quality profession is recognized and valued as essential.”  I am truly inspired by colleagues who work to improve the lives of Arkansans every day.  We define, measure, analyze, map, project, plan, implement, and evaluate processes every day.  The recognized value CPHQs and healthcare quality professionals bring to the table has increased tremendously during my career, but there is still room to make the NAHQ Vision Statement a reality.

The AAHQ Board Members are devoted to strengthening the value of our profession.  Through professional growth and collaboration, AAHQ provides educational scholarships, conferences with speakers and presenters who are highly respected in their fields, and CPHQ review courses to prepare individuals for credentialing.  There is meaning to our work and I personally ask you to join us.  Looking forward to seeing you in September at our annual conference.

AAHQ and CPHQ proud!

Professional Development Round-up

Submitted by: Justin Villines

Benefits and Personal Growth of becoming Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ)

Justin Villines

Becoming a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) signifies professional and academic achievement by those in the field of healthcare quality management. A CPHQ person is proficient in healthcare quality management at all employment levels and in all healthcare settings.

Please Note: There is no minimum education or work experience requirements that specifically need to be fulfilled in order to sit for the CPHQ examination; however, this examination is not designed for entry-level candidates. A minimum of two years’ experience in the field of healthcare quality management is recommended.

The CPHQ credential signifies professional and academic by individuals in the field of healthcare quality profession. The CPHQ incorporates the body of knowledge in the healthcare quality profession, which includes:

  • Strategic and Operational roles in management and leadership
  • Information management, including design and data collection, measurement and analytics, and communication
  • Performance/quality measurement and improvement, including planning, implementation and evaluation, and training
  • Strategic and operational tasks in patient safety

Special Benefits for being Certified as a CPHQ

  • Assess the current status of healthcare operations and activities in hospitals.
  • Interpret, implement, and review the requirements of different healthcare international standards.
  • Identify the root causes of the healthcare problems and identify potential opportunities for improvement.
  • Identify corrective and preventive actions for the healthcare problems that related to the processes and how to follow them.
  • Reduce errors in the healthcare examination, diagnosis or treatment.
  • Reduce errors in healthcare operational procedures for hospitals.
  • Develop effective healthcare plans for audit and writing reports of non-conformists.
  • Ensure the stability of healthcare system performance and continuous improvement.

Learn more at the Winter CPHQ Review Course- Space is limited to 60 attendees, so register early! CPHQ Review Course

  • Thursday, December 6, 2018 – 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Friday, December 7, 2018 – 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

2018 AAHQ Educational Brochure

September 14, 2018–AAHQ’s Fall Educational Conference agenda featuring keynote speaker, Liz Jazwiec, has been released. With speakers from across the state and nation, this educational event allows for networking and learning in a relaxed atmosphere. Nursing continuing education available. CPHQ hours are pending national approval. This will be one conference you don’t want to miss!

Membership Services Update

Submitted by: Lynnette Jack

What AAHQ membership means to me-

Karen Donaldson

I began to ponder the role of AAHQ membership as life and work demands on Karen Donaldson have led her to pass on the torch of the Membership Action Team.  Karen’s work for AAHQ from member to board member to President (twice!) to team leader has covered over 23 years and an incredible number of contributions.  Her example of service to the organization is amazing and made me examine how an organization engenders that level of commitment from a member.  My thoughts led me to realize just how AAHQ fulfills my need for connection and support as a Quality Professional.  AAHQ connects us with local colleagues who understand the challenges unique to our great state and profession with a willingness to help and collaborate that is unmatched in my professional experience.  AAHQ offers members an outlet for showcasing what they have done well and support when projects don’t go as expected.  The opportunities for scholarships and continuing education help members with limited professional development funds stretch their resources with great content.  As the healthcare quality field evolves, there is a need for a sense of belonging and community in new professionals at the beginning of their quality journey and veterans who have shaped the future of quality and want to share their experiences.  AAHQ has a unique role as the professional organization that connects me to the greater quality world on a personal scale.  From being the quiet member attending conferences to a veteran Board member, membership in AAHQ has brought me so much more than I ever expected.  Karen and all our members are the reason why AAHQ is the organization it is today.  What does membership mean to you?

We would love to hear your thoughts on AAHQ and membership.  Email me at

External Relations Update

Submitted by: David Vrudny

Grant Available for Hospitals – Arkansas Stroke Registry

This is an excellent time to be part of the state’s stroke registry!

Hospitals that participate in the Arkansas Stroke Registry (ASR) benefit from accessing a platform for continuous quality improvement of stroke patient care based on evidence-based guidelines to improve outcomes. At this time, 59 hospitals participate. Each year, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) offers grant funds to cover the cost of the data collection software (GWTG-SPMT) for participation in the ASR. To apply for the 2019 grant, complete this short application survey: ADH recognizes some hospitals have challenges making available resources to do the chart abstraction and entry into the ASR. The ADH has limited funding to pay an external contractor to provide chart abstraction assistance. Due to limited funds, priority for this support is given to Critical Access Hospitals and Level IV Trauma Centers. Primary Stroke Centers are not eligible. Through an external contractor, the ADH will cover the cost of 100% of all stroke case abstractions for Critical Access Hospitals and at least 50 cases for Level IV Trauma Centers (potentially more based on funding availability) for this new program year. If interested in receiving this assistance, answer “YES” to question #7 in the ASR application survey.

Update on AAHQ Sponsors and Exhibitors

We are happy to recognize the four sponsors of AAHQ, including two new organizations listed below:


  • AFMC
  • American Data Network
  • Q-Centrix (new)


  • Finnegan Health Services (new)

We are also proud of our three new exhibitors (to date) for the AAHQ Fall Conference:


    • Arkansas Department of Health
    • Pulsara
    • Webster University
    • Note: all sponsors are also invited as conference exhibitors


There are three levels of sponsorship for AAHQ (Gold, Silver, Bronze) as well as the opportunity to secure a Vendor Booth only as an Exhibitor for the conference. If you would like to be a sponsor or vendor for AAHQ, please contact me at or call me at 501-231-8120.

Finance Action Team Report

Submitted by: Lynnette Jack

Lynnette Jack

AAHQ continues to hold a solid financial foundation to support the mission of the organization.  New and long-standing sponsors and vendors are partnering with us to bring about the phenomenal 2018 Annual Conference with tremendous national speaker, Liz Jazwiec.  Exciting scholarship opportunities are being developed and will be announced soon!

Reimbursement for the CPHQ examination may be considered for members applying for this assistance, if funds are available.  If you are interested, you may contact any board member who will be able to respond to any questions you may have about this benefit.

The financial standing of the organization remains strong.  Our financial balance as of May 31, 2018 was $30,451,58.  Thank you for all the member support that makes the work of AAHQ possible!

Quality Submission Articles

Promoting Advocacy
Submitted by: Steve Chasteen, AFMC

Steve Chasteen

The Lancet, a leading influential medical journal that is international in focus and extends to all aspects of human health, is one of the most frequently cited journals. It is highly regarded as a resource for health officials and leaders involved in research, surveillance, and policy actions that benefit public health. Because the scope of coverage of The Lancet is worldwide, the significance of the content and data is worth considering in every location, even locally.

This becomes a bigger opportunity to communicate to leaders in our community and State the need to consider that many of the issues people face outside the U.S. are the same issues individuals struggle with in our local communities, and that evidence-based global approaches may be effective. As providers of health care, we should be involved political advocacy. If we are deeply concerned about a certain issue or cause, we need to become politically involved if we want to create change. Health care professionals can influence policy by participating in the activities of their local chapter associations or by supporting national association efforts. We can become involved in our communities through active workplace involvement and active local government participation.

My view toward advocacy has changed over the years. As a nurse who spent many years providing patient care in the hospital setting, I firmly believed that I was a strong patient advocate, but that my role as advocate stopped once the patient left the hospital. Advocacy, however, comes in many forms. We can advocate throughout our daily work routines, and we can advocate by becoming involved in initiatives that raise awareness among legislators and the public. We can join, or even form, coalitions that are concerned with issues affecting us, our patients, and our communities. Advocacy seeks to support those most vulnerable. With a little practice in advocacy, we can have greater confidence to reach out to our lawmakers and policymakers to create change and make a difference.

Using Predictive Analytics to Reimagine Quality and Patient Safety Departments as Profit Centers
Submitted by: Susan Allen, American Data Network

Support from the C-suite is essential to the success of any quality or patient safety initiative, and key to getting that coveted buy-in depends on being able to communicate how an initiative is going to impact an organization’s big picture — and bottom line.

While it may not be uncommon for directors of quality or patient safety to know where room for improvement lies within a facility, what the CEO wants to know is how long it is going to take before we see progress resulting from our endeavors. Providing this kind of projection is typically tedious and takes up time that you could be spending on the actual improvement process. American Data Network’s team of data analysts and engineers have developed a free calculator that can help you predict how improved performance will trend over time based on historical data that you provide.

ADN’s Predictive Performance App can help you analyze: Average Cost Per Diagnosis, Average Length of Stay, Complications, Core Measure Compliance, Readmission Rate, and Mortality Rate. For example, take readmissions. You can enter the number of readmissions in your facility for a period of least 4 months and then use a sliding scale to adjust the percentage of improvement that you aim to generate. A graph will populate helping you visualize how long it’s going to take for your facility’s readmission rate to trend down to the desired level.

Using this sort of predictive modeling can also help quality and patient safety leaders change they way they view their department’s contribution to the organization. When Ken Rohde, a performance improvement consultant based in Granby, Connecticut, delivered his presentation “Balancing the Cost of Patient Safety & Quality: The Cost of ‘Doing’ vs ‘Not Doing” at ADN PSO’s 2018 Patient Safety Conference, he really made our team think.

“Do you see your department as a cost center or a profit center?” Rohde asked. Then, he explained how a simple self-assessment or shift of mindset can help you shape your department’s positive impact on the facility’s bottom line.

Again, you may be ready to implement a patient safety initiative, but the CEO wants to know what that initiative is worth to the hospital. ADN has built another tool to help teams forecast how much profit can be preserved through the prevention of adverse events while taking into account the soft cost of staff time. The tool can be used to analyze savings scenarios involving some of the most common event types including Adverse Drug Events, Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI), and Surgical Site Infections.

Using ADN’s Patient Safety Event Profit Savings Calculator is pretty simple. The tool allows you to enter your organization’s profit margin, or use the default 3.4 percent national average, and then, use sliding scales to adjust the maximum number of hours you plan to invest in the program and the number of events you are aiming to prevent. As you adjust the scales, an easy-to-read heat table displays your facility’s  preserved profit predictions. For example, a hospital wanting to measure the potential impact of investing 100 hours into a Falls initiative that prevents 13 events can quickly see that in doing so they could repay their investment and preserve $21,234 of profit for the organization. Even more eye-opening is the calculation pointing to how much revenue the hospital would need to generate to equal that same amount of savings. In this scenario, that number would be $624,529. Now that’s a stat that would likely get the attention of most in the C-suite.

To explore how these tools from American Data Network can help you give your senior leaders the information and answers they need, click on the links above.

Our Sponsors

Julie Kettlewell, RNP, AVP of Quality Programs 1020 West 4th Street, Suite 300
Little Rock, AR 72201 Phone 501-212-8740
E-Mail  Website


AFMC’s purpose is solid: to help health care providers deliver the best quality of care at the lowest cost and to empower patients to take control of their own health and that of their families.

AFMC is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Little Rock, Ark., with an additional office in Fort Smith, Ark.  We are dedicated to working with beneficiaries and health care providers in all settings to improve overall health and consumers’ experience of care, while reducing health care costs. We accomplish this through education, outreach, data analysis, information technology, medical case utilization and review, and marketing/ communications services provided by a staff of 270 employees. At the forefront of health care reform and practice transformation, AFMC is an established, trusted partner in private, state and federally led payment innovations by Medicare, Medicaid and commercial payers.

ADN Logo lighter grey small

Susan Allen, 10809 Executive Center Dr., Searcy Building Suite 300 Little Rock, AR 72211
Phone 501-537-7941

Founded in 1994, American Data Network provides clinical, quality, safety and financial data applications and services to healthcare executives, allowing them to better manage costs and care quality, influence physician practice patterns and meet demands for public accountability and disclosure.

2018 Board of Directors

Pam Cochran
501-257-3110 fax



Teresa Jeffus
501-686-8175 fax




President – Elect
Beth Schooley
870-845-4178 fax


Dalana Pittman
501-225-5539 fax




Action Team Leaders

Pam Blake




Professional Development
Justin Villines
501-978-3940 fax



Lynnette Jack

Membership Services
Lynnette Jack
501-407-9288 fax




Lynnette Jack

Lynnette Jack
501-407-9288 fax




Clayton Leigh

Clayton Leigh






David Vrudny

External Relations
David Vrudny
501-280-4207 fax




Steve Chasteen

Member at Large
Steve Chasteen




AHA Liaison

Cindy Harris
501-224-0519 fax

Editor: Clayton Leigh, MSN, CPHQ
Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System
Little Rock, AR

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