Posted on April 25th, 2018

VAHQ Spring 2018

A Message from the President

Happy Spring, VAHQ Membership!

During the first part of 2018 your VAHQ Board has been hard at work on plans surrounding education, membership, networking and communication!

Here are a few highlights, reminders and dates to remember:

  • We will be hosting two CPHQ prep courses this year. The first will be in Ashburn, Virginia at Ash-by Ponds on July 24-25, 2018. Please see our website ( for more information!
  • We heard your feedback regarding the VAHQ Annual Conference and will be arranging for virtu-al attendance at the NAHQ Annual Conference (November 5-7, 2018). We will be arrang-ing for viewing sites in Northern and Central Virginia and are excited that we will be able to attend a national conference that is packed full of dynamic speakers without going too far from home and at a discounted rate.
  • The VAHQ Webinar Series will return last spring! Be on the look-out for more information on the first webinar that we will host!
  • Make sure to check out our website ( and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn (more information on the newsletter). Our team has done a stellar job of making sure these resources are helpful and of value to the membership. If you have feedback on how to make them better, please share it!
  • We held our first networking event of the year – see more in the pages to come! A financial audit was conducted by an external party. We are happy to share that we are in good standing and financially stable and strong.
  • In order to ensure that our membership is strong and dynamic and that we may contribute positively to the quality community in the Commonwealth, we are always interested in recruiting new members. Please pass along contact information for anyone you would like to see as a VAHQ member.

We look forward to a busy spring. Please feel free to reach out to me or any other VAHQ Board Member if you have questions, ideas, or concerns.

Elizabeth Mikula

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 Cindy McNew, Kevin Doyle, and Sherri McGrath.

Cindy McNew - Education Committee Chair

Cindy McNew MSN, RN, CPHQ: 36 years progressive nursing and leadership experience. Primary clinical experience is adult critical care, multisystem or-gan failure and general surgery. Leadership practice experience in ICU clinical care area, clinical applications support, and Quality Management as a Sepsis Coordinator and manager. Currently employed by Chippenham Hospital, Richmond VA; Quality Manager.

Kevin Doyle - Website manager

I am a Computer Engineer and graduated from Shepherd University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science. For the past three years I have focused on the creation of web applications and ethical hacking to contribute to the security oversight of several government and commercial web applications. For the last three years I have been productive team-member in a complex and stimu-lating software development environment that provides challenging growth opportunities in both development and leadership skills. Excellent problem solving capabilities, critical thinking skills, and applying solutions for short-term and long-term projects to meet requirements. Hands-on experience with re-quirement gathering/maintenance, business analysis, quality assurance testing, database management, front/ back-end architecture, and full life-cycle applica-tion development. I have been the VAHQ webmaster for three years and hope to continue help the organization grow and expand.

Sherri McGrath - Nominating Committee

Sherri McGrath has lived in Virginia her entire life. She received her Diploma in Nursing from Petersburg General School of Nursing and her Associate of Applied Science from Richard Bland College in 1984. She continued her stud-ies and received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Graceland College in 1998. She has worked in a hospital setting in various roles including House Supervisor and Assistant Nurse Manager. In 1994, she worked as the Educa-tion Coordinator assisting the hospital with the conversion to the Meditech computer based documentation system. Her career then shifted to Case Man-agement for the next 12 years. She has finally found her passion and is work-ing in the Quality field as the Quality Manager. She has been a member of the VAHQ since 2009. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time with her grandchildren whom call her “Gigi” and going for weekend trips to her getaway in Deltaville.

Social Gathering at O'Tooles

Our first membership networking event was March 22nd. Good food and a good time was had by all. Stay tuned for the next “Thirsty Thursdays”.


We have added two more great reasons as we continue our list of TOP 10 Reasons why you should be a VAHQ Member

9. Be recognized for your accomplishments!
Do you embody the spirit of an outstanding healthcare quality profession-al? If so, your fellow VAHQ members are invited to nominate YOU for the VAHQ Quality Professional of the Year award. Recipients of the award have traditionally been announced at the annual education conference and in vari-ous publications such as the newsletter and the recipient’s local newspaper. Susan Pace, 2011 Quality Professional of the Year winner, says about being chosen for the award, “I was honored to be nominated and receive the VAHQ Quality Professional of the Year in 2011. As a nurse and a quality management professional it has been my life’s work to strive to improve the care and outcomes of the patients I have had the opportunity to serve. This honor validated the work done as well as the time and passion put into that work.”

8. Let your voice be heard!
VAHQ values our members’ feedback and we strive to create an exceptional membership experience. We have surveyed the membership annually for many years to get opinions about our member’s preferences and visions for our organization. We include our members in decision making by asking pre-ferred conference locations, speaker and webinar topics of interest, and alter-native education methods, to name a few. In the last several years, we have frequently utilized Survey Monkey to get quick feedback from members on topics that arise during monthly board meeting discussions.
More to come!

Education Update

CPHE Review Course - July 24 and 25, 2018 - Ashburn, VA

This interactive two-day course is designed to support those planning to take the Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality® (CPHQ) Certification Exam-ination. Based on the current CPHQ content outline, this course engages par-ticipants in a review of the examination material and offers valuable tips on how to best prepare for test day. Participants should begin this course with functional knowledge in areas identified on the CPHQ content online. Com-pletion of this course does not guarantee a passing score on the examination.

Price: $369 for NAHQ Members, $449 for Non-members

The course begins at 8:00 AM and concludes at 4:30 PM on both days. The course fee includes breakfast and lunch on both days and electronic access to handout materials for one year. This course is being held in collaboration with Virginia Healthcare Quality Association.

Visit or to register.


Annual Conference Save the Date Details to Follow

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 lo-cations, one in Northern Virginia and one in Central Virginia. This opportunity offers you the opportunity to network with VAHQ mem-bers, earn CEUs, and attend the national conference at a greatly dis-counted rate. More to come .. we are excited!

Resource Roundup

Visit AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality). They offer practi-cal, research-based tools and other resources to help a variety of healthcare organizations, providers, and others make care safer in all healthcare settings.
Here are a few of the tools available:

  • On-Time Pressure Ulcer Prevention
  • Preventing Falls in Hospitals
  • Preventing Falls in Nursing Facilities
  • Preventing Hospital-Associated Venus Thromboembolism
  • Hospital Guide to Reducing Medicaid Readmissions

New Publication from National Academies of Health and Medicine:
A Proposed Framework for Integration of Quality Performance Measures for Health Literacy, Cultural Competence, and Language Access Services: Proceedings of a Workshop

The Roundtable on Health Literacy hosted a public workshop featuring invited presentations and discussion of the quality performance measures for integration of health literacy, cultural compe-tence, and language access services. A commissioned paper was presented and the workshop included presentations and discussion of reactions to the paper; the relationship of quality measures to patient-centered care; and approaches to integrating measures in health care or-ganizations. The workshop rapporteur has prepared this proceedings as a factual summation of the session discussions.

4 Health Literacy Approaches That Can Improve the Patient Experience

According to studies, only 12% of the U.S. population has proficient health literacy[1], and in a crisis, their health literacy skills often decrease. To help reach pa-tients and families where they are and improve the patient experience, here are four things you can do for patients of all health literacy levels.

  1. Use universal precautions. Start with the assumption that everyone might have difficulty when accessing and using our complex health care organizations. It’s easy to assume that because a patient is well-educated or affluent that they will be able to understand the medical issue at hand.
  2. Apply user-centered design. Involving members of the intended audience when designing and evaluating communication materials and products improves understanding and outcomes.
  3. Use plain language. Everyday words allow you to meet patients where they are and can help explain more involved concepts.
  4. Teach back. Having patients explain a concept or direction back to you helps to ensure they’ve understood you and gives you the opportunity to clarify if need-ed. Teach back is not parroting—patients should be demonstrating their under-standing in their own words.

1] Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy

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