Massachusetts Association for Healthcare Quality (MAHQ)

Summer 2016 Newsletter

President's message

I am pleased and honored to begin my term as president of the Board of Directors of MAHQ. We held our Annual retreat on April 30th to discuss our strategy and goals for the upcoming year.It is especially gratifying to be working with an extraordinary Board that has enormous energy and passion for advancing healthcare quality.

This is the largest Board the organization has had and I especially want to welcome our new Board members, Taruna Banerjee of Boston Children’s Hospital, Karen Sulham of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Rita Estey of Tufts Medical Center, Jeanne Dufresne of Health Centric Advisors, Amanda Vosey of Franciscan Hospital for Children, Tricia Ide of New England Baptist Hospital and Liz Isaac from Beverly Hospital.  We are very excited to have these talented, diverse quality professionals on the Board.

The Program and Membership Committees are already hard at work planning programs and benefits of membership for the coming year.  You will hear much more in this newsletter and coming months about events and activities. 

Please consider volunteering to support our association as we rely on your talents and skills. MAHQ offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for you to lend your knowledge. We have positions on any of our standing committees or specific assignments, such as social networking coordinator. We are also looking for people to write for our newsletter.  Tell us what you are doing in a quality area or share best practices. 

For details about volunteer opportunities, please visit the volunteer section on our website.
I look forward to a successful year working with everyone.

Cheryl Hafela

A Note from Our Past President

As the past President of MAHQ, I want to take this opportunity to share our “year in review” and highlight a number of our accomplishments.  We have had a very successful year, including:

  • Maintained strong membership numbers
  • Made a small profit of $5,389.07
  • Funded two Professional Enhancement Grants
    • Kathryn Nordstrom and Rita Estey will be pursuing their CPHQ
  • Provided more programs than ever before
    • We offered four webinars this past year, including an excellent series on patient and family engagement
  • Created a strategic alliance with Creative Healthcare, a company that offers online training in Lean for Healthcare
  • Hosted a CPHQ Review Course May 4 and 5 at Newton-Wellesley Hospital which was very successful and had 30 attendees.  Many thanks to our instructors, Bert Thurlo-Walsh and Nancy Ryll. Marj Blundon did a fabulous job handling the logistics. 
  • Received the  most responses ever to the call for Board nominations
  • Maintained  active volunteers on all committees

In closing, I want to thank the 2015 -2016 Board of Directors for all their hard work and support over the past year. Additionally, MAHQ could not have accomplished so much last year without the assistance of our volunteers. A heartfelt thank you goes out to the following volunteers:

  • Shelly Bazes, RN, MS, NP         
  • Rita Estey, MSN, RN
  • Umber Shafiq, MPH
  • Jeanne Dusfresne, CPHQ         
  • Casey Joseph, MPH, CPHQ, LSSBB
  • Marilyn Pennachio, RN, BSN, CPHQ
  • Donna Eannuzzo RNC, BSN
  • Eileen Laband RN, MBA, NE-BC, CPHQ
  • Kimberly Smith MSN, RN, CPHQ, CMAC
  • Nancy Epstein Kerins, CPHQ

Lynn Myers

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Treasurer Report

For complete details quarterly financial statements are posted for your review at

The current assets of MAHQ as of April 30, 2016 are $48,760.83.  Total income through the end of April for 2016 is $17,596.21.  This income was generated by CPHQ program fees, membership dues, and webinar income. Total expenses for this same time period were $7,200.67.  MAHQ expenses are related to administrative, program, operations, networking and marketing expenditures.  The net income for 2016 as of April is $10,395.54.  
With the start of the year, the board voted to transition to an online version of Quickbooks.   The transition was successful and the online version is an improvement and allows for more than one person to access financial records.  The Finance Committee completed the Annual Finance audit for 2015 in April. The results were shared with the board in June 2016.  The audit resulted in no exceptions found or opportunities for improvement. 

In addition, the Finance Committee has completed the annual IRS 990 filing and the Secretary of State Annual Report and the Attorney General Public Charities filing which are all required to support and fulfill our not for profit status/designation.

Respectfully submitted,
Anne Boffa, MPH, CPHQ

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CPHQ Course

The Massachusetts Association for Healthcare Quality (MAHQ) sponsored the Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) Review Course on May 4th & 5th, 2016 at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. The course has been designed to prepare healthcare professionals for taking the CPHQ examination. The course was developed by the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) and follows a content outline set forth by the Healthcare Quality Certification Board. The course reviews the following body of knowledge 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; and strategic and operational tasks in patient safety.
The course was taught by Bert Thurlo-Walsh, RN, MM, CPHQ, Vice-President of Quality and Patient Safety at Newton-Wellesley Hospital and Nancy Ryll, MS, BSN, RN, CPHQ, Patient Safety/Risk Management Coordinator at Anna Jacques Hospital. There were 30 attendees from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and New York.  The evaluations from the course were excellent and the course was well received.

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Program Committee Update

The Massachusetts Association for Healthcare Quality (MAHQ) Program Committee’s goal is to continually provide educational programs, for healthcare quality professionals, that promote opportunities for professional growth and to ensure members are informed of changing trends in healthcare quality. This goal is achieved through securing nationally and locally recognized professional speakers in their field of study. Over the last several years, MAHQ has offered more webinars ranging from population health management to patient and family engagement along with Annual Meetings and CPHQ Review Courses.
This coming year, the Program Committee will be focusing on a webinar series targeting High Reliability with an introductory session, practical tools and tactics session, and an advanced session. The Annual Meeting in the spring of 2017 will be the culmination of the webinar series with speakers focusing on High Reliability. The Program Committee in collaboration with the Membership Committee will be also hosting a live networking event in October during Healthcare Quality Week.

Do you want to be part of the team that collaborates to bring relevant and meaningful education to our healthcare quality community of professionals? Become part of the Program Committee as a volunteer and participate in the webinars and Annual Meeting. If not a volunteer, consider presenting during a webinar or submitting a poster abstract for the Annual Meeting in the spring of 2017. If you have topic ideas that you would like to share you can send those to Amanda Voysey at or Jennifer Fexis at

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Membership Committee Update

The Membership Committee is busy working on ways to make our newsletter more engaging, as well as collaborating with the Program Committee to plan a networking event which will be held during Healthcare Quality Week in October of 2016.

Check out the new PI Corner section of our newsletter.  We will be featuring Performance Improvement tips and tools that may be helpful to our membership. 

Do you have suggestions to  improve our newsletter?  Please drop us an e-mail and let us know at
(link to MAHQ account).

Our 2016 Membership Drive is well under way! Take advantage of the numerous join and attend offerings at the beginning of this year. Please renew your membership to benefit from the continued educational offerings and/or networking events by going to the membership page on our website.

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Committee Member Spotlight
by Debra Blyth-Wilk, JD, RN, CPHQ

This month our Committee Member Spotlight shines on Amanda Voysey who has been on the Program Committee since 2016. Amanda is Patient Advocate and Human Rights Officer at Franciscan Children’s Hospital in Brighton MA.  In this role she maintains patient rights by educating patients; responding to patient and patient family complaints; resolving patient issues and looking for opportunities to improve the patient experience.

Prior to working at Franciscan, she worked in the same capacity at Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton, MA.  As an active committee member, assists in planning meaningful educational opportunities for MAHQ members and to promote membership.

DBW: How did you get interested in a career in healthcare? 

AV: Actually I started in healthcare because I had a young family at home and was interested in working nights.  Once I got my first job in a hospital I realized I had stumbled upon a lifetime career that was as rewarding as it was fruitful.

DBW: Who has been influential in your career in health care? 
AV: There have been many persons during my career who have been influential.  I would say as a whole, those who believed in me, my skills and my dedication to doing what is right for a patient every time.  I have been very fortunate to have met many fine mentors during my 35 year career in health care.

DBW: What is your favorite part of your job? 

AV: That is easy, the patients!  I have been very fortunate to work with patients from all walks of life with a variety of backgrounds and stories.  Each patient is unique and I am privileged to assist them through their health care experiences. 

DBW: Why did you get involved in MAHQ? 

AV: Heath care is drastically changing.  I got involved in MAHQ to keep abreast of these changes and add the patient’s voice to maintaining the quality care we have come to know and expect.

DBW:  How has your involvement benefitted you?

AV: My involvement in MAHQ, although short, has been key in networking with members who are passionately committed to quality health care.  Most recently I have found it particularly beneficial in the sharing of best practices.

DBW:  Where do you think healthcare in Massachusetts is headed? 

AV: Does anyone really know where health care is headed?  I believe we are very fortunate to be in a state that offers and requires all residents to have insurance.  That said, with the cost of all aspects of health care increasing and providers are asked to be more prudent with time and resources, we must be cognizant of the prospect that quality and access may be compromised.

DBW: What do you like to do in your spare time?

AV: Having just moved to Gloucester, I am currently enjoying walking and reading on the beach.  I also enjoy bike riding and certainly spending as much time as possible with my 3 grandchildren!

 DBW: Thank you for your time and your service to MAHQ.


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Performance Improvement Corner
by Taruna Banerjee, MPH

We are excited to introduce this new section!  We will be featuring a different Performance Improvement tool or technique in each of our newsletters.

We look for forward to your feedback.  Please feel free to email us with your comments and suggestions for future topics.

Fishbone or Ishikawa Diagram:
Also known as “cause-and-effect” diagram.  It is used to identify many possible causes for an effect or a problem.  Most useful in a brainstorming session, it can immediately sort ideas into useful categories to focus your improvement efforts on.

When to Use a Fishbone Diagram

  • In the analyze phase of the project-to identify possible causes for a problem, and especially when a team is not being able to generate new ideas.
  • In the Improve Phase – when creating a list of failure modes for FMEA

Fishbone Diagram Procedure

  • Gather the team and articulate the problem (effect). Write it at the center right of the flipchart or whiteboard. Draw a box around it and draw a horizontal arrow running to it.
  • Brainstorm the major categories of causes of the problem. If this is difficult use generic headings: Methods, Machines (equipment), People (manpower),  Materials, Measurement, Environment
  • Write the categories of causes as branches from the main arrow.
  • Brainstorm all the possible causes of the problem. Ask: “Why does this happen?” As each idea is given, the facilitator writes it as a branch or a sub-branch from the appropriate category.
  • Once you have your “causes” identified, move on to the improving one or more categories of the problem. 

Source: American Society for Quality 

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MAHQ Newsletter Content

Do you have a quality event happening that you would like your fellow MAHQ members to know about? We are interested in original content about a successful project, recent promotion and any other quality news you would like to share. Please submit articles for approval and posting to

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Connect with MAHQ!

MAHQ is now on Facebook - connect with us here: for updates on programs and other opportunities. You can also keep up with MAHQ, including job postings, through our LinkedIn account:

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Websites of Interest

HealthLeaders Media
Health Leaders Media Magazine is a monthly look at the issues and trends that are shaping the business of healthcare today
View all the covers and read all the cover stories.
HealthLeaders Media Staff, for HealthLeaders Media, December 31, 2014.

The Commonwealth Fund
The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation that aims to promote a high performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society's most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults.

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
In public health settings, performance management and quality improvement tools are being promoted and supported as an opportunity to increase the effectiveness of public health agencies, systems, and services.

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