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in Healthcare Quality

Proudly Serving Healthcare Organizations Since 1999
CIHQ is a member-based organization comprised of hospitals
and other healthcare entities throughout the United States.
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CIHQ Staff

Senior Staff
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Richard Curtis
President and Chief Executive Officer
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Richard Curtis MS, RN, HACP
President and Chief Executive Officer
Richard (Rick) Curtis is the Chief Executive Officer for CIHQ. Rick is nationally recognized as an expert on the Medicare Conditions of Participation and the CMS Certification & Survey Process. As CEO, he successfully guided CIHQ in becoming the nation's 4th CMS approved deeming authority for acute care hospitals.
Rick's clinical background is in critical care nursing with a focus in cardiovascular and trauma service lines. He has held both clinical and executive management level positions in Quality, Risk, Education, Infection Control, and Regulatory Compliance.
Rick is a regular speaker at numerous state and national conferences on the CMS Survey & Certification Process and is host of CIHQ's popular monthly webinars addressing key compliance challenges in today's environment.
Rick is nationally certified in healthcare accreditation and serves as Chair of the Board of Examiners for the Healthcare Accreditation Certification Program (HACP). Rick has a degree in Nursing with a Master's Degree in Health Services Administration.
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Traci Curtis
Executive Director of Survey Operations
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Traci Curtis, BA, RCP, HACP
Executive Director of Survey Operations
Traci Curtis is the Executive Director of Survey Operations for CIHQ. Traci has more than 32 years of experience in healthcare including regulatory compliance and survey preparation.
Traci's clinical background is in respiratory care. She has held clinical as well as executive management positions at the corporate and facility level in Respiratory Services, Regulatory Compliance, Quality, Risk, Infection Control and Education. Prior to joining CIHQ, Traci served as the Executive Director of Quality for a large regional medical center, providing executive management oversight in the areas of quality, risk, medical staff credentialing, and patient relations.
Traci joined CIHQ in 2007 as a Generalist Lead Surveyor and in 2011 was promoted to her executive level position. Currently she oversees the accreditation division for hospitals, freestanding emergency centers, urgent care centers and congregate living health facilities, as well as business development and marketing.
Traci received her degree in respiratory science from Pima Institute in Tucson Arizona. She pursued further education at Dallas Baptist University. She is nationally certified in healthcare accreditation (HACP) and serves on the Board of Examiners for the Healthcare Accreditation Certification Program.
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William Kinch
Senior Facility Specialist
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William Kinch, MHA, HACP
Senior Facility Specialist
William (Billy) Kinch is the Senior Facility Specialist for CIHQ/ARS. Billy has more than 20 years of experience specializing in environmental health and safety and facility operations.
Billy’s background includes Education, Environment of Care, Emergency Preparedness, Life Safety, Regulatory Compliance and Security. Prior to joining CIHQ, Billy served as the Safety Officer for a major health system in North Texas.
Billy joined CIHQ in 2014 as a Facility Specialist Surveyor and was promoted to his leadership role in 2019. Billy is host to the ARS monthly webinars related to Life Safety Code, Physical Environment, and Emergency Preparedness. He also provides standards interpretation as well as oversight of policies, tools and forms provided to clients via the ARS Resource Library.
Billy received his degree in Business Administration from South Plains College and subsequently was awarded his Bachelor’s degree in Education from Wayland Baptist University and then a Master’s of Healthcare Administration degree from University of Phoenix and is certified in healthcare accreditation (HACP).
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Debra Benson
Program Administrator
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Debra Benson, MA
Program Administrator
Debbie Benson is the Program Administrator for CIHQ. Debbie oversees both front and back-office operations for the organization and administers the Healthcare Accreditation Certification Program (HACP) for regulatory professionals.
Debbie joined CIHQ in 2008. Prior to joining CIHQ, Debbie was the executive assistant to the senior management team of a large company.
Debbie received her Bachelor degree in Business Science and her Master's degree in Organizational Behavior from National University.
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Allen Lowe
Director of Information Services
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Allen lowe
Director of Information Services
Allen Lowe is the Director of Information Services for CIHQ. Allen is responsible for the overall provision of CIHQ’ web-based services and database management systems.
Allen has over 20 years of progressive experience in information technology. Prior to joining CIHQ, Allen worked as the network site administrator for a national company located in northern CA.
Allen received his degree in information technology from Ohlone College and is proficient in Linux-based systems and server database construction and maintenance.
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Michelle Shaffer
Director of Business/Program Development
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Michelle Shaffer, M.DEHS, LSLS AVED
Director of Business/Program Development
Michelle is the Director of Business/Program Development for CIHQ. Michelle has more than 20 years of career experience.
Michelle’s background is in program development, marketing, advertising, event planning, fundraising, clinic/home health treatment plan/development and education. Prior to joining CIHQ, Michelle served as the regional Deaf Education Teacher providing program development and implementation across multiple independent school districts, including goal setting, use of data, grant writing and relationship management.
Michelle joined CIHQ in 2021 to assist the company with growth and development. In her role, Michelle will support all divisions of CIHQ/ARS/HACP. She will also assist the accreditation division with account management and representation.
Michelle received her Bachelor from University of Texas San Antonio and subsequently received her Master’s degree from University of Texas Health San Antonio. She also hold Project Management certifications from Collin College and UC Irvine.
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Surveyors
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April McLain
Surveyor
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April McLain, MBA, RN, HACP
Surveyor
April McLain is a Generalist Surveyor for CIHQ/ARS. April has more than 38 years of experience in healthcare including regulatory compliance and survey preparation.
April’s clinical background is in nursing. She has held clinical as well as executive management positions in Nursing, Regulatory Compliance, Quality Management, and as an Independent Consultant. Prior to joining CIHQ, April served as an Administrative Director of Quality and Patient Safety in a multi-hospital system and also served as a surveyor for The Joint Commission.
April joined CIHQ in 1014 as a sub-contracted Generalist Surveyor and became a full-time Lead Surveyor in 2015. April’s role expanded to include the oversight of standards interpretation, mock survey report review and document management for ARS and participates in surveyor education and training.
April received her degree in Nursing from Marion Technical College and subsequently received both her Bachelor degree in Healthcare Administration and her Master’s degree in Business administration from Franklin University. She is nationally certified in healthcare accreditation (HACP).
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Connie Compton
Surveyor
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Connie Compton, BS, RCP, HACP
Surveyor
Connie Compton is a Generalist Surveyor for CIHQ/ARS. Connie has more than 21 years of experience in healthcare including regulatory compliance and survey preparation.
Connie’s clinical background is in respiratory care. She has held clinical as well as executive management positions in Respiratory Services, Medical Staff Education, Accreditation, and Patient Safety. Prior to joining CIHQ, Connie was the Accreditation Coordinator/Safety Compliance Officer for the Wellmont Holston Valley Medical Center.
Connie joined CIHQ in 2015 as a Generalist Lead Surveyor. Connie’s role expanded to include oversight of standards interpretation, mock survey report review and document management for ARS.
Connie received her Associates degree in Respiratory Science from Southwest Virginia Community College and subsequently received her Bachelor degree in Healthcare Administration from King University. She is nationally certified in healthcare accreditation (HACP) and was among the nation’s first to be certified as a Joint Commission Professional (CJCP)
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Don Roush
Facility Specialist
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Don Roush, CPE, CHFM, HACP, CLSS-HC
Surveyor
Don Roush is a Facility Specialist for CIHQ/ARS. Don has more than 30 years of experience specializing in healthcare facilities operations.
Don’s background includes Engineering, Maintenance, Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness. He has held both corporate and executive management positions in Facilities Engineering, Construction, Grounds, Security, Clinical Engineering Environmental Services, Telecommunications and Nutrition Services. Prior to joining CIHQ, Don was the sole proprietor of Management Success, a company that provided consulting services for all aspects of facility operations.
Don joined CIHQ in 2017 as a Facility Specialist Surveyor. He also provides oversight of policies, tools and forms provided to clients via the ARS Resource Library as well as participated in standards interpretation.
Don received his Bachelor degree in Business Management from Capital University and subsequently was awarded his Master’s degree in Health Service Administration from Central Michigan University. He also holds certifications for CPE (Certified Plant Engineer), Certified Healthcare Facility Manager (CHFM) Stationary Engineer.
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Gina Miller
Surveyor
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Gina Miller, MSN, RN, HACP
Surveyor
Gina Miller is a Generalist Surveyor for CIHQ/ARS. Gina has more than 37 years of experience in healthcare including regulatory compliance and survey preparation.
Gina’s clinical background is in nursing with a focus on emergency medicine. She has held clinical as well as executive management positions in Nursing, Case Management, Quality and Regulatory Compliance. Prior to joining CIHQ, Gina served as the Director of Quality & Outcomes Management at Pomerene Hospital providing oversight of regulatory compliance, quality, medical staff.
Gina joined CIHQ in 2017 as a Generalist Surveyor and became a Lead Surveyor in 2018. She participates in the research and development of documents and alerts that are provided via Accreditation Resource Services (ARS)
Gina received her BSN from Alderson-Broaddus University and MSN from Western Governor’s University. She is nationally certified in healthcare accreditation (HACP).
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Paula Barnes
Surveyor
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Paula Barnes, MBA, BSN, RN, HACP
Surveyor
Paula Barnes is a Generalist Surveyor for CIHQ/ARS. Paula has 26 years of experience in healthcare including regulatory compliance and survey preparation.
Paula’s clinical background is in nursing with a focus on emergency and intensive care medicine. She has held clinical as well as executive management positions in Nursing, Quality and Regulatory Compliance. Prior to joining CIHQ, Paula served as a Corporate Regulatory Compliance & Accreditation Specialist providing regulatory consultation services for a large healthcare system in Eastern NC.
Paula joined CIHQ in 2019 as a Generalist Surveyor. She participated in the development and maintenance of resource documents provided by Accreditation Resource Services (ARS).
Paula received her BSN from East Carolina University MBA from the University of Phoenix. She is nationally certified in healthcare accreditation (HACP).
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Russell Cole
Facility Specialist
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Russell Cole
Facility Specialist
Russell is a life safety specialist consultant for CIHQ. Russ has more than 38 years of experience in fire and life safety as well as facility engineering.
Russ’ background includes Fire, Life Safety, Education and Emergency Preparedness. He has held executive management positions in both city and countywide fire protections districts serving as Battalion Chief, Fire Marshall, Chief Fire Investigator, and Incident Command Team member at both a state and national level. Currently, Russ is the President of Cole Fire Protection Services, Inc. providing inspections and consultations services.
Russell joined CIHQ in 2011 as a Facility Specialist Surveyor. Russell received his Associates degree in Fire Technology from Oxnard College in Oxnard, California. He has also been an instructor in fire technology at Oxnard Community College in Oxnard, California. He also holds a C-16 Fire Sprinkler contractor license with the State of California for the inspection, testing and installation of fire protection systems.
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Kimberly McGuire
Surveyor
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Kimberly McGuire, MSN, RN, HACP
Surveyor
Kimberly McGuire is a Generalist Surveyor for CIHQ/ARS. Kim has more than 25 years of experience in healthcare including regulatory compliance and survey preparation.
Kim’s background is in nursing with a focus in Cardiac Intensive Care and Oncology. She has held clinical as well as executive management positions in Nursing, Quality and Regulatory Compliance. Prior to joining CIHQ, Kim was the owner of Holistic Health Coaching/Consultation as well as a Healthcare Executive providing oversight in the areas of hospital accreditation, care team coordination, program development and staff education.
Kim joined CIHQ in 2019 as a Generalist Surveyor. She participates in the research and development of documents and alerts that are provided via Accreditation Resource Services (ARS)
Kim received her Associate degree in Nursing from Millard Fillmore Hospital School of Nursing. She subsequently received a Bachelor degree from Excelsior College and then her Master degree from Grand Canyon University. She is nationally certified in healthcare accreditation (HACP).
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Kimberly Merritt
Surveyor
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Kimberly Merritt, MHA, RN, HACP
Surveyor
Kimberly is a Generalist Surveyor for CIHQ/ARS. Kim has more than 34 years of experience in healthcare including regulatory compliance and survey preparation.
Kim’s clinical background is in nursing with a focus in Surgical Services, Inpatient Care and Hospice. She has held clinical as well as executive management positions in Nursing, Home Health, Regulatory Compliance and Consulting. She also served our country in United States Air Force as a nursing leader. Prior to joining CIHQ, Kim served as a Consultant /Surveyor for Courtemanche & Associates and is the sole proprietor of Merrittorious Services, LLC, providing consulting services including Regulatory Compliance, Education, and Leadership Training.
Kim joined CIHQ in 2019 as a Generalist Surveyor. Kim received her Bachelor degree in nursing from University of North Carolina – Greensboro and subsequently received her Master degree in healthcare administration from Seton Hall University. She is nationally certified in healthcare accreditation (HACP) and holds her CNOR (Certified Nurse Operating Room) certification. She is a member of AORN (Association of Peri-Operative Registered Nurses).
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Paula Sims
Surveyor
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Paula Sims, RN, BSN, MSHA, CPHQ, LSSBB, HACP
Surveyor
Paula Sims is a Generalist Surveyor for CIHQ/ARS. Paula has more than 35 years of experience in healthcare including regulatory compliance and survey preparation.
Paula’s clinical background is in nursing with a focus on Emergency Medicine. She has held clinical as well as executive management positions in Nursing, Employee Health, Quality, Infection Control and Regulatory Compliance. Prior to joining CIHQ, Paula served as the Corporate Chief Nursing Officer Trusted Medical Centers providing oversight of Nursing, Performance Improvement, Employee Health, Infection Control and Regulatory Compliance. Paula also served as the Divisional Director of Clinical Services for a large emergency physician group.
Paula joined CIHQ in 2021 as a Generalist Survey. She participates in the maintenance of resources provided via Accreditation Resource Services (ARS).
Paula received her Bachelor and Master degrees in nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington. Paula is nationally certified in healthcare accreditation (HACP) and holds a Certified Lean/Six Sigma Black Belt (CLSSBB) in Performance Improvement. She is also APIC (Association for Professionals in Infection Control) certified and is a member of the ACHE (American College of Healthcare Executives)
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Malcolm Field
Facility Specialist
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Malcolm Field, CHFM, CPE, HACP-PE
Facility Specialist
Malcolm Field is a Facility Specialist for CIHQ/ARS. Malcolm has more than 36 years of experience specializing in healthcare facilities operations.
Malcolm’s background includes Engineering, Maintenance, Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness. He has held both corporate and executive management position in Facility Engineering, Construction, Grounds, Security and Environmental Services and Emergency Preparedness. Prior to joining CIHQ, Malcolm served as the Regional Director of Facility Management for Universal Health Systems providing oversight of 22 hospitals with regard to regulatory compliance and facility operations including the development of staff training and education programs.
Malcolm joined CIHQ in 2020 as a Facility Specialist Surveyor. He also participated in development of policies, tools and forms provided to clients via the ARS Resource Library.
Malcolm received a HND Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Teesside University – United Kingdom. He is certified by American Facilities Engineering Association (AFE) as a Plant Engineer and holds his ASHE Certified Healthcare Facility Manager (CHFM).
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Ann Martin
Surveyor
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Ann Martin, MSN, RN, HACP
Surveyor
Ann Martin is a Generalist Surveyor for CIHQ/ARS. Ann has more than 39 years of experience in healthcare including regulatory compliance and survey preparation.
Ann’s clinical background is in nursing with a focus on Pediatric, Geriatric, Cardiac and Orthopedics. She has held clinical as well as executive management positions in Nursing, Patient Safety, Quality and Regulatory Compliance. Prior to joining CIHQ, Ann served as the Director of Compliance/Patient Safety and Accreditation for Great River Health System providing leadership in quality, safety utilization review and accreditation.
Ann joined CIHQ in 2021 as a Generalist Survey. She participates in the development and maintenance of resource documents provided by Accreditation Resource Services (ARS).
Ann received her Associate degree in nursing from Stratton College and then subsequently obtained both her Bachelor and Master degrees from Chamberlain College of Nursing. She is nationally certified in healthcare accreditation (HACP).
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Laura Velasco
Surveyor
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Laura Velasco, MSN, RN, HACP
Surveyor
Laura is a Generalist Surveyor for CIHQ/ARS. Laura has more than 20 years of experience in healthcare including regulatory compliance and survey preparation.
Laura’s clinical background is in nursing with a focus on Cardiac, Endoscopy and Long Term Acute Care. She has held clinical as well as executive management positions in Nursing, Quality and Regulatory Compliance. Prior to joining CIHQ, Laura served as Director of Quality Management, Infection Control and Employee Health for Cornerstone Specialty Hospitals Southeast Arizona providing oversight of quality, risk, infection control, employee health and regulatory compliance.
Laura joined CIHQ in 2021 as a Generalist Surveyor. She participates in the development and maintenance of resource documents provided by Accreditation Resource Services (ARS).
Laura received her Bachelor degree in nursing from Linfield College and is pursuing her Master degree in nursing informatics at Western Governors University. She is nationally certified in healthcare accreditation (HACP).
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Cara Nissen
Surveyor
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Cara Nissen, RN, MSN, CPHQ, LSSBB
Surveyor
Cara Nissen is a Generalist Surveyor for CIHQ/ARS. Cara has more than 20 years of experience in healthcare including regulatory compliance and survey preparation at both a facility and corporate level.
Cara’s clinical background is in nursing with a focus on neurology and rehabilitation. She has held clinical as well as executive management positions in Nursing, Quality and Regulatory Compliance. Prior to joining CIHQ, Cara served as the Quality Manager over the rehabilitation division of St. Luke’s Health System providing oversight of regulatory compliance, quality, and patient safety.
Cara joined CIHQ in 2021 as a Generalist Surveyor. She participates in the research and development of documents and alerts that are provided via Accreditation Resource Services (ARS).
Cara received her Bachelor degree in Nursing from University of Colorado and subsequently received her Master degree from Research College of Nursing. She is nationally certified in healthcare quality (CPHQ) and healthcare accreditation (HACP) and holds a Certified Lean/Six Sigma Black Belt (CLSSBB) in Performance Improvement.
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Eileen Joy Mattsson-Boze
Surveyor
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Eileen Joy Mattsson-Boze, RN, BS, CPHQ, CIC, HACP, COHN
Surveyor
Joy is a Generalist Surveyor for CIHQ/ARS. Joy has more than 49 years of experience in healthcare including regulatory compliance and survey preparation at both a facility and corporate level.
Joy’s clinical background is in nursing with a focus on surgical services and critical care. She has held clinical as well as executive management positions in Nursing, Infection Control & Employee Health, Patient Safety as well as Quality and Regulatory Compliance. Prior to joining CIHQ, Joy served as the Clinical Applications Specialist for Prista Corporation providing oversight of program implementation, staff training and help desk support.
Joy joined CIHQ in 2021 as a Generalist Surveyor. She participates in the research and development of documents and alerts that are provided via Accreditation Resource Services (ARS).
Joy received her nursing degree from Truman College and a Bachelor degree from University of Texas Pan American. She subsequently received her master’s degree in business-healthcare administration from Salem International University. She is nationally certified in healthcare quality (CPHQ) and healthcare accreditation (HACP) and holds certifications in both infection control & epidemiology (CIC) and occupational health (COHN).
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Robin Ruthford
Surveyor
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Robin Ruthford, MSN, RN, HACP
Surveyor
Robin Ruthford is a Generalist Survey for CIHQ/ARS. Robin has 28 years of experience in healthcare including regulatory compliance and survey preparation.
Robin’s clinical background is in nursing with a focus on intensive care medicine and post anesthesia care. She has held clinical as well as executive management positions in Nursing, Quality and Regulatory Compliance. Prior to joining CIHQ, Robin served as a Director of Quality Management at Texas Rehabilitation Hosptial of Arlington providing oversight of regulatory compliance, quality, risk management, medical staff, and patient safety.
Robin joined CIHQ in 2021 as a Generalist Surveyor. She participated in the development and maintenance of resource documents provided by Accreditation Resource Services (ARS).
Robin received her Bachelor degree in Nursing from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master degree in nursing leadership and management from Western Governors University. She is nationally certified in healthcare accreditation (HACP).
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Corporate Office Support Staff
Doug Craig - Program Administrator AP/AR
Stephanie Castillo - Administrative Assistance Accredited Hospital Division
Taylor Evans - Administrative Assistant - IT
Bob Burgkwist - Administrative Assistant - Special Projects