2019 Winter Newsletter

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From the President’s Desk

Submitted by: Beth Schooley

Beth Schooley

Happy 2019 AAHQ members!

I am so excited and honored to be able to serve as AAHQ president for this year. As I served as president-elect in 2018, I saw firsthand how the talented and dedicated members of your board work together for the good of our organization and for the promotion of healthcare quality for the state of Arkansas.

Several of last year’s board members are returning this year and some will serve in different roles. Pam Cochran did a fabulous job last year as your president and I learned so much from her! She will continue on the board as past president but will also take on the membership team lead position. Lynette Jack and Pam Blake will continue their roles as finance and protocol team leads respectively, and Justin Villines will continue to represent the professional development team. Steve Chasteen served as our member at large last year but will take on the external relations team lead position for 2019. As you know, Dalana Pittman was elected to serve as secretary, and Clay Leigh as president-elect. Clay will also continue to lead the communications team before taking on the role of president in 2020. Finally, Cindy Harris will continue to serve as our AHA liaison. What a great team!

I would also like to welcome two new members-at-large. Sharon Aureli, RN, MSN, SCRN, CNOR, RNFA, CNC currently serves as the clinical quality manager for Baptist Health Physician Partners. Amanda Wyatt Hutto, PCMH, CCE comes to us from TMF Health Quality Institute, CPC+ Regional Learning Network and is one of two practice facilitators for the Arkansas region. I look forward to getting to know both of them and having them share their talents and expertise on the board.

Finally, I would like to encourage you to get involved in AAHQ by serving on one of the action teams. We would love to have your input, suggestions, expertise and enthusiasm! If you have a certain area of interest, please feel free to contact one of the action team leaders. We also welcome articles for the quarterly newsletter and would love to have your input and knowledge, as well as any suggestions you have about what your needs are from this organization (Please send any articles highlighting the work your organization is doing in quality and patient safety to Clay Leigh at Clayton.Leigh@va.gov.)

Thank you to the 2019 AAHQ board members and to you, the members, for all you do to promote healthcare quality and patient safety in this beautiful state.


Beth Schooley, RN, BBA, CPHQ, CPPS, CHC


From the Desk of the Past President

Submitted by: Pam Cochran

Pam Cochran

With each year, the office of President passes to another. This year, Beth Schooley will lead AAHQ. I have the utmost confidence in her leadership abilities and look forward to her guidance in 2019.

As I reflect on 2018, I am reminded of the power of teams. Each board member unselfishly contributed to the whole. AAHQ is fiscally strong, more engaged in our professional community, and growing!

Thanks to the AAHQ Board and members for a wonderful year.

Sincerely, Pam

Professional Development Round-up

Submitted by: Justin Villines

Justin Villines

Can you believe another year has come and gone? 2018 was an interesting year in the health care space. It was full of changing policy decisions and technology innovations that will surely impact our health care system for years to come. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) going on nine years, much attention has been drawn to healthcare quality improvement by payers, clinicians and consumers alike. The level of buy-in across industry stakeholders highlights the importance of quality improvement efforts in health care. Escalating healthcare costs and a higher-than-ever number of insured Americans have also heightened the need for better quality. Today, a great deal of research around patient outcomes and safety, care coordination, efficiency, and cost cutting is underway. Additionally, care redesign initiatives are being evaluated to guide future healthcare quality improvements.

Despite the aforementioned progress, a great deal of work lies ahead. This year the Arkansas Association of Healthcare Quality will try to educate and bring resources to you on the several areas where disparities and gaps in quality still exist. The development of special efforts is underway to address them for a late Spring Workshop for a hands-on approach in bringing in resources to your hospital, clinic, LTPAC facility that will elevate healthcare quality initiatives in your organizations. For instance, only 70 percent of people with high blood pressure are receiving the recommended level of care. Further, disparities in two areas – hospice care and chronic disease management – increased, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. With the late Spring Workshop, AAHQ bring a hands on approach to tackling many initiatives that are taking place in 2019 and beyond at the Arkansas Hospital Association in Little Rock, Arkansas. Date TBA soon, keep a look out on our website and your email!

Save the Date- “How to” Basics in Quality Workshop. Members of AAHQ will present six strategies for maintaining high-quality in your organization on Friday, April 26, 2019 from 9a.m. – 4p.m. at the Arkansas Hospital Association, 419 Natural Resources Dr., Little Rock, AR, 72205. Seats are limited. CEU and CPHQ Credit Hours Pending.

Mark your calendars for the AAHQ Education Conference on Friday, October 18, 2019 at the J.A. Gilbreth Conference Center on the Baptist Health main campus (9601 Lile Drive, Little Rock, AR, 72205). You will NOT want to miss this one!

2019 Healthcare Quality Week: Healthcare Quality Week (HQW), brought to you by NAHQ, is the week dedicated to celebrating the contributions professionals have made to improve healthcare quality. It also gives us an opportunity to bring greater awareness to the profession of healthcare quality. Please save the date of October 18, 2019 !

2019 Healthcare Quality Week Dates: October 20-26, 2019


Membership Services Update

Submitted by: Pam Cochran

Pam Cochran

Happy New Year!

Chances are if you are reading this, you are a member of AAHQ. Thank you! As we begin to make 2019 our best year, I want to challenge you. There are many benefits to professional membership. Robert Elsenpeter lists the benefits of joining professional organizations. I agree. The benefits are:

  • Personal and professional development resources.
  • Networking opportunities.
  • Professional certification that can help your career.
  • Service and support from the national organization.
  • Opportunities to develop one’s leadership skills.
  • Discounts on related products and services.
  • Regular organization conferences.
  • Member publications.

When I think of the AAHQ mission and the work of our organization during the past years, I feel we do a good job of providing members opportunities to grow. In the graphic, you notice a blue figure pulling a purple figure to a higher level. I encourage you to be the blue figure. Daily, mentor a younger or less experienced quality professional at work. I invite you to ask a colleague to join our team. Treat a friend to a year-long membership. These kindnesses will long be remembered.

If you have any questions about joining AAHQ, please call. I stand ready to share my experiences. Please contact me at pamela.cochran@va.gov or call 501.837.1715. I look forward to speaking with you.

External Relations Update

Submitted by: Steve Chasteen

Steve Chasteen

AAHQ is deeply committed to its mission to encourage professional growth. And, I believe personal growth is a good companion to professional growth. In my role serving as the External Relations team lead, my goal is to increase AAHQ’s impact and influence by raising awareness of our purpose and reputation. Many people would call this a public relations (PR) role, but in its broadest definition it’s external relations, and building relationships is central to successful external relations.

As members of AAHQ, we should be encouraging professional and personal growth, but that takes energy and enthusiasm. When you have more energy, you bring that much more to your role. Many of us probably have a New Year’s resolutions or two that likely includes a lifestyle change or fitness goal because we want to improve our health. We start strong because we’re told that wanting better health is enough to motivate us to change a lifestyle behavior and sustain it. That’s tough advice to follow. It’s difficult to maintain the motivation when your fitness goals are constantly competing with family and work priorities.

I gave up my gym membership last year because sweating away on the treadmill for an hour wasn’t my thing, and it wasn’t sufficiently valuable to motivate me to sustain the lifestyle change I wanted. Going to the gym felt like a chore. And because of that, I had little motivation to continue. So, I changed my goal. Research1 shows that health benefits can be achieved by moving throughout the day, even in short, repeated bursts. Approaching your health and fitness goals differently can boost your chance of success. It can also make you a happier person. Taking care of yourself and feeling better drives the energy for things that matter most in our lives and it can give you the energy to promote your own personal growth, and someone else’s professional growth.

1 Saint-Maurice, P. F., Troiano, R. P., Matthews, C. E., & Kraus, W. E. (2018). Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and all-cause mortality: Do bouts matter? Journal of the American Heart Association, 7(6), 1-6. doi:10.1161/JAHA.117.007678

Finance Action Team Report

Submitted by: Lynnette Jack

Lynnette Jack

AAHQ was proud to present the AAHQ Education Conference in September 2018 and the CPHQ Review Course in December 2018. Both events were very well attended and realized a small financial surplus which will enable AAHQ to provide on-going support for the mission of the organization. Planning is underway for scholarships and fantastic educational opportunities for our members in 2019.

Reimbursement for the CPHQ examination maybe 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 amazing benefit.

The financial standing of the organization remains strong. Our financial balance as of December 31, 2018 was $35,292.28. Thank you for all the member support that makes the work of AAHQ possible!

CPHQ Review Course Recap

AAHQ presented a CPHQ Review Course licensed through NAHQ on December 6-7, 2018 with returning instructor Joyce Hall.  Twenty-five attendees learned about the CPHQ Exam and reviewed areas that are essential to the profession and the certification.  It was a great group with ample opportunities for networking and learning!

Here’s some feedback from attendees:

“Thank you so much for all the hard work it takes to get a meeting like that together.  Joyce was a fantastic teacher and your Arkansas hospitality made two long days enjoyable.” –Cindy Wilson Lewis, Manager, BMG, MG Clinical Services

“I just want you to know that is the best course I have ever been to, in my career. The ease of access you made everything and the way you worked with us was so nice and genuine concern for us to be able to attend. Well done.” –Laura Murrell, RN, BSN

Another CPHQ Review Course will be held in late 2019 and don’t forget that exam reimbursement maybe available for members.  Good luck on the exam to all the attendees!

Quality Submission Article

Top 3 Reasons Why Quality-Leading Hospitals Outsource Data Abstraction

Submitted by: Susan Allen, American Data Network

At American Data Network, we talk to Quality Directors every day. We know the sound of the voices of relieved QDs who’ve taken that leap and made the decision to outsource some or all of their Core Measures and Registry abstraction. The problems they had before turning to outsourcing are behind them, and here’s why:

They’re saving money. Outsourcing Core Measures and registry data abstraction is a cost-efficient way of expanding your team of experts. The salaries and benefits afforded outsourced abstractors become the responsibility of the company you partner with. You also don’t have to worry about the costs associated with turnover when an abstractor leaves your department. The savings you can generate through the elimination of hiring, training, and the lags in productivity that come with onboarding new staff make outsourcing undeniably practical.

They’re saving time. Accurate chart abstraction is tedious and eats up valuable time. In addition to completing lengthy forms and performing follow-up, outsourced abstractors take on the task of scouring over specification manuals to keep up-to-date on ever-changing reporting requirements. And think about it, when a team is down a member, what happens? Everyone starts to scramble. Sometimes directors even have to step in and help with abstractions. But is that the best use of staff time? With outsourcing, you have back-up that can essentially “turnover proof” a department. Outsourcing offers access to an extended team of specialists, with expertise in a long line of measures and registries, who can step in when needed affording the director freedom to manage the department in a manner that maximizes the team’s output.

They’re USING their data. So many quality departments get bogged down in the data collection process. But the fact is, you can report numbers all day, every day, but if you can’t find the time to actually look at and analyze that data, critical learning opportunities slip by. With the support of an adept abstraction service, your team can reclaim hours spent on chart abstraction and focus on analysis. Together, you can turn those numbers into words — into data-driven improvement strategies.

Data abstraction outsourcing allows Quality Directors to realign their department’s resources — financial and human. In doing so, they can increase exponentially what they are able to achieve and rest easier in the process.

Our Sponsors

Julie Kettlewell, RNP, Director of Quality, 1020 West 4th Street, Suite 300
Little Rock, AR 72201 Phone 501-212-8740
E-Mail jkettlewell@afmc.org Website www.afmc.org

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.

Susan Allen, 10809 Executive Center Dr., Searcy Building Suite 300 Little Rock, AR 72211
Phone 501-537-7941
E-mail sallen@americandatanetwork.com
Website www.americandatanetwork.com
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.

Q-Centrix aims to measurably improve the quality and safety of patient care through its market-leading technology platform, Q-Apps, coupled with the industry’s largest and broadest team of nurse-educated, quality information specialists. Q-Centrix is a comprehensive quality partner with more than 450 hospitals, providing quality data management solutions, including quality data abstraction, surveillance, reporting, and analysis. Learn more about Q-Centrix at https://www.q-centrix.com/.


2019 Board of Directors

Beth Schooley
870-845-4178 fax


Pam Cochran
501-257-3110 fax


President – Elect
Clay Leigh


Dalana Pittman
501-225-5539 fax


Action Team Leaders

Pam Blake



Professional Development
Justin Villines
501-978-3940 fax


Membership Services
Pam Cochran
501-257-3110 fax


Lynnette Jack
501-407-9288 fax


Clay Leigh



External Relations
Steve Chasteen
501-804-2432 fax


Member at Large
Amanda Wyatt Hutto



Member at Large
Sharon Aureli



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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