AHFSA Virtual Engagement Series On Demand Webinar
Title: Quality Improvement Strategies for Surveying Infection Control”
Polly Weaver, State Operations Director
Sharon Whitehead, Senior Medical Facility Surveyor
Kristen Paulsen-Aguirre, Training Manager
Healthcare Management Solutions, LLC (HMS) provides support to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and State Survey Agencies (SSAs) by: 1) conducting surveys of healthcare facilities, 2) management consulting to create efficiencies related to the survey process, and 3) IT assessment, support, and recommendations to facilitate survey scheduling and documentation. HMS management consultants are subject matter experts in SSA program administration; surveyor training, and SSA training program development; legal processes and review; compliance monitoring; quality assurance; survey processes; federal enforcement; application development; IT consulting; data analysis and reporting; CMS systems administration; and many other fields of expertise. On behalf of CMS and several state agencies, we perform approximately 800 surveys annually in multiple healthcare facility types such as nursing homes, dialysis facilities, hospices, organ transplant programs, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, and hospitals.
Polly Weaver is a Project Director for HMS who provides management consultation to state survey agencies by reviewing survey programs and making recommendations as directed by CMS. Ms. Weaver has over 20 years of experience at the management level in state government and has coordinated with stakeholders to review and revise policies and processes used in regulating a variety of health care providers. Previously, she was the Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Division of Health Quality Assurance, Agency for Health Care Administration, and the State Survey Agency Director for the State of Florida. There, Ms. Weaver was responsible for over 500 staff members and the associated management of all survey and certification activities, which encompassed over 30 different health care provider types. Ms. Weaver has a strong background in dementia care and co-chaired the Florida coalition to individualize dementia care in nursing homes with the Florida QIN-QIO. This role included development of intervention strategies for Florida facilities that had the highest antipsychotic use. Through her duties with the State of Florida, Ms. Weaver worked closely with CMS to facilitate development and consistent implementation of survey and certification processes. She also served as President of the Association of Health Facility Survey Agencies and worked closely with other states and CMS to facilitate improvements and consistency in implementing the survey and certification processes nationally.
Kristen Paulsen-Aguirre, Surveyor III, BS, CTRS
Kristen Paulsen-Aguirre has more than 15 years’ experience in healthcare, working in both the provider and regulatory sectors of the industry as a health educator and surveyor. She has designed and implemented targeted training programs for surveyors and has a broad background in quality improvement. Ms. Paulsen-Aguirre began her career offering direct services to elderly adults in LTC and participated in caregiver support activities. At HMS, she serves as the Health Facilities Surveyor Educator and is responsible for identifying surveyor training needs and creating, and implementing training programs targeted to meet identified needs. Ms. Paulsen-Aguirre assesses trainings to determine their effectiveness and assigns them to surveyors when required or as directed. As part of the survey-specific management team, she also helps with issue resolution and quality improvement to ensure surveyors remain informed and educated while in the field. Ms. Paulsen-Aguirre has a Bachelor of Science in Recreation Management with a focus on Therapeutic Recreation and Gerontology and is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist.
Sharon Whitehead, RN, BSN
Sharon Whitehead is a registered nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and nearly 20 years of experience in healthcare. She has focused on quality improvement and compliance of federal and state regulations in long-term care (LTC) facilities, including pharmacy services for LTC. Ms. Whitehead served in multiple capacities for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for 8 years, progressing from a Facility Advisory Nurse to Health and Senior Services Manager. She coordinated onsite state licensure inspections, recertification surveys, and complaint investigations of LTC facilities, reviewed and critiqued all complaint intakes for the region, and oversaw the work performance of a supervisory team plus professional surveyors and office support staff for one of the seven sections for LTC regulation regions in Missouri. At HMS, Ms. Whitehead has conducted multiple types of surveys in LTC facilities throughout the United States on behalf of CMS. She assesses and evaluates compliance with federal regulations for LTC facilities to advance the quality care of geriatric and disabled populations. And, most recently, Ms. Whitehead has been assigned to support the State Survey Agency Technical Assistance Team at HMS.
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