Posted on February 6th, 2018

VAHQ Winter 18

Happy New Year from the VAHQ Board! We have been excited to start the year by focusing on plans for the year. We have a highenergy group of quality professionals and experts working for you this year (link to VAHQ Board Bios) and look forward to providing opportunities for our membership that help you to grow as quality professionals.

Thank you to all of you who completed the 2017 Membership Survey, this information is extremely helpful in determining what we should focus our efforts on in the coming year. We heard from you that what you value most from the VAHQ are educational and networking opportunities. Therefore this year we are excited to share that we will be bringing back the VAHQ Webinar Series, hosting several opportunities for networking throughout the state, and scheduling Town Halls to share updates on initiatives and to provide you with the opportunity to share ideas. Again this year we will host CPHQ preparation courses through a partnership with NAHQ and we will host an annual conference. Stay tuned for more information on each of these initiatives!

We will also be working to grow our membership this year. Please help us to do this by sharing information on VAHQ with your colleagues and friends! If you are interested in getting more involved in VAHQ or have ideas about how we may improve, please feel free to reach out to me or any member of the board. We would be excited to hear your ideas about how we may improve and provide more to our membership.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve you this year,

Elizabeth B. Mikula, MSN, RN, CPN, CPHQ 2018 VAHQ President

Featured Board Members:

Each issue we will feature a few of our board members so you can get to know them better. This month features our President, Elizabeth Mikula and President Elect, Michelle Comeaux

President- Elizabeth

Mikula Elizabeth Mikula, MSN, RN, CPN, CPHQ is the Director of Clinical Quality and Resource Management for HCA Capital Division. Prior to this role Elizabeth was the Vice President of Quality and Compliance for Johnston-Willis and Director of Quality Management and ECO/FPO at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital.

Elizabeth’s nursing background is primarily in pediatric cardiology. At Children’s National Medical Center she led a research and quality improvement initiative surrounding newborn screening for critical congenital heart disease, for which she was awarded the ANCC National Magnet Nurse of the Year® for Empirical Outcomes in 2013. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia School Of Nursing and a master’s degree in nursing administration from The George Washington University.

Elizabeth and her husband, Matt, live in Richmond and have two children and a yellow lab (their first child!). Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors and running in her spare time. She looks forward to serving you as President of VAHQ this year.

President Elect-Michelle Comeaux

Michelle Comeaux, MSHA, CPHQ, FACHE is the Director of Regulatory Readiness and Performance Improvement for Inova Health System and has over 15 years of expertise in the quality and performance improvement arena. Michelle holds a Masters in Science degree from the Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions at Regis University in Denver and earned her undergraduate degree in Sports Medicine at San Diego State University. While In Denver, Michelle served as a Quality Management Consultant for The Children’s Hospital, earning the Children’s Choice Award for Teamwork and the Award of Excellence for Quality and Safety. Later, Michelle worked as a Management Decision Support Analyst with Colorado Permanente Medical Group before relocating to the Mid-Atlantic in 2008. Once in the mid-Atlantic region; Michelle has held director of quality roles in the Medstar and Inova Health systems.

Michelle has also been a member of the Board of the National Capital Healthcare Executives since 2009, having served as their President for two years and now completing her current term as Immediate-Past President. She has also served as a speaker or moderator for numerous events, including at the VAHQ Conference for the past three years, ACHE Chapter Leader’s Conference in Chicago in 2014 and as a panelist for the National Capital chapter’s Diversity in Healthcare dinner in 2015. An advocate of ACHE’s belief in lifelong learning, Michelle earned her Board certification as a Fellow in the College in 2013 and now serves as a mentor for candidates in the region. Michelle has been a member of VAHQ for 5 years.

40th Annual Educational Conference

Thank you to all who attended our conference in October at Embassy Suites. We were a small but mighty group as we heard speakers discuss various aspects of Quality Across the Continuum. VAHQ was able to provide 11.5 CEUs for nursing and 10.5 CEUs for CPHQ. Once again the Board would like to thank Tanya Scott for being the Education Chair. It is a huge undertaking to keep everyone on task and be able to provide such a wonderful conference. It takes the help of the whole board to secure speakers, get door prizes, apply for the CEUs, and work out the logistics of the conference. We welcome any volunteers who are interested in helping or know of speakers to contact any of the board members. You don’t have to be a board member to help and it helps you network and make sure there are speakers on the topics in which you have an interest.


1. Mark your calendars, we have big plans for the annual conference this year! We have heard from you that a dynamic line-up of nationally recognized speakers is important to you. In addition, we have heard from many of you that you would be interested in attending the NAHQ Annual Conference virtually. Therefore, we plan to virtually connect with the NAHQ Annual Conference (November 5-7, 2018) via wo locations, one in Northern Virginia and one in Central Virginia. This opportunity offers you the opportunity to network with VAHQ members, earn CEUs, and attend the national conference at a greatly discounted rate. More to come .. we are excited!

2. This year we will offer not one but TWO CPHQ prep courses.  One course will be offered in Northern Virginia in spring, 2018 and one course will be offered in fall, 2018 in Central Virginia. More to come on the specifics!

3. Returning this year – The VAHQ Webinar Series! More details to come!

VAHQ Membership Survey Results

Your opinion matters! We did a survey to help determine the direction of the organization. Thank all of you who took the VAHQ survey. About 100 people answered the survey and below are the results.

Member characteristics

  • Have been members 2-10 years
  • Most are CPHQ certified.
  • Work in central/southern VA with northern/north west following closely behind
  • Have their Master’s degree
  • Aged 46-65
  • Satisfied with what VAHQ offers and most joined for the educational and networking opportunities
  • The CEU’s offered are the most valuable benefit of membership
  • Paid for the dues themselves

Website / Facebook / Newsletter

Satisfied with the website not visited VAHQ Facebook (the reason being that they were not aware that there one or they are not active on Facebook) read the newsletters and find the information useful most feel they receive enough information about VAHQ

How to improve VAHQ (only 7 responded)

  • Member bios would help for networking purpose
  • More case studies and information surrounding failures
  • Broader content range related to healthcare quality changes and direction. maybe detail on regulatory changes for acute care, long term care and physician office organizations.
  • More information related to LTC
  • Area educational opportunities info sharing amongst members

Conference / Networking Events

  • would like a single day regional conference followed by a multi- day event
  • Central/Southern VA was the most popular site
  • to be held in the 3rd quarter (July-Sept)
  • there was a tie between in-person networking events and quar- terly membership meetings via conference call or web-ex


  • prefer online self-study CEU’s followed by webinars on current topics
  • all the categories were pretty similar in votes
  • graphics and displaying data and statistics and interpreting data
  • were the slim front-runners

Resource Roundup

New AHRQ Toolkit Helps Hospitals Reduce Surgical Site Infections

AHRQ’s new Toolkit To Promote Safe Surgery helps hospitals reduce surgical site infections (SSIs). It is based on the experiences of approximately 200 hospitals that lowered SSIs as part of a national implementation project. The toolkit was adapted from AHRQ’s Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program for use in the surgical setting. Strategies can help lower infections that may occur with colorectal surgery and hysterectomies, two procedures monitored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Visit our VAHQ Facebook page and like us for updates.

A Note from your Membership Committee:

The Membership committee is busy developing new marketing materials to promote membership in our organization. We are highlighting all of the rea- sons that make VAHQ membership valuable to healthcare quality professionals. Be on the lookout for materials to share with your colleagues and prospective members.

One of our new promotional flyers will reveal the TOP 10 Reasons why you should be a VAHQ Member. Here is a teaser!

10. Hone your presentation skills and get CPHQ CE hours!

Did you know that many of our members have presented topics at our ed- ucational conferences and webinars? We often recruit speakers from within our organization to highlight the wealth of knowledge and experience we have among our membership. Presentations made to your state or local quality asso- ciation are awarded 4 CE’s per hour of presentation by the NAHQ for CPHQ certification. *