2019 AHQA Board Elections

Due to the cancellation of the 2019 Quality Summit, the annual Membership Meeting of the American Health Quality Association (AHQA) will be taking place during the 2019 AHQA Leadership Summit.

In accordance with Article IV, Section 3(b2) of the Bylaws of the American Health Quality Association (AHQA), I hereby present you with the nominations for the positions of 2019-2020 President-Elect and more for the 2019-2020 Board of Directors.

These nominations have been solicited from the Institutional Members of the association and, in accordance with Article IV, Section 3(a) of the bylaws, will be voted on by the membership at the Annual Membership meeting, taking place on December 4, 2019, in association with the 2019 Leadership Summit.

The following candidates have been nominated for the 2019 – 2020 AHQA Board of Directors.

  • President
    • Sven Berg, MD, MPH, FAAP, CPE
  • President-Elect
    • Leland Babitch, MD, MBA
  • Director
    • Juliana Preston, MPA
    • Linda Kluge, RD, LD, CPHQ

Candidate Statements & Biographies:

President-Elect Nominee: Leland Babitch, MD MBA

Candidate Statement

Dear AHQA Members,

I would like to ask that you confirm me for the position of president-elect for the American Health Quality Association.  I know that I am relatively new to the organization compared to many of you and also newer to my role as CEO at a quality improvement organization.  However, I hope that you will look at my broad experience in healthcare as a potential benefit to the organization as we move through (yet another) period of seminal change in our industry.

I bring to the table a varied history which includes training and ongoing, active practice as a physician; work as a hospital system administrator; experience as a medical director for one of the nation’s largest payers; a deep knowledge of electronic health records and health IT; and work as a consultant at top institutions around the nation.  My training and credentials mirror those experiences with board certification in both pediatrics and medical infomatics, as well as a fellowship in the American College of Healthcare Executives.  I am also certified as both a professional in health information management systems as well as a medical practice executive.

Some of you have had the opportunity to see that I am not afraid to speak up and to challenge old norms.  AHQA and our industry are entering a phase of funding challenges, changes in the scope of our work, uncertainty in our relationship with CMS and the potential need for new relationships and partners in the work we do.  I believe that I can make a solid contribution to the executive committee and eventually help guide the organization and our membership through these trying times.

I hope that you will endorse my candidacy for the position of president-elect.

Candidate Biography

Leland Babitch, M.D., MBA, is the President and CEO of MPRO in Farmington Hills, MI. MPRO is the CMS-designated Quality Improvement Organization for the state of Michigan.  With twenty years in healthcare, Dr. Babitch brings a demonstrated expertise in quality improvement, electronic health record technology, advanced analytics, health information exchange, population health, and hospital/medical group governance.

Prior to joining MPRO, Dr. Babitch served as an Executive Medical Director with Clinovations, a division of The Advisory Board Company.  Additionally, he has served as a Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Information Officer at the Detroit Medical Center.  There, his guidance and leadership contributed to the health system’s success in reaching Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Stage 6, realizing more than $32 million in meaningful use incentives, as well as a $16 million Beacon award.

Dr. Babitch has worked as a Medical Director for United Healthcare of Minneapolis, MN. At the Wayne State University School of Medicine and the Detroit Medical Center, Dr. Babitch served in many roles including as the Director of Ambulatory and Information Services for Children’s Hospital of Michigan, as well as the Chief Compliance Officer for University Pediatricians. Dr. Babitch continues to practice clinically and teach as an Assistant Professor at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics.

Dr. Babitch holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine, a Master of Business Administration from Michigan State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in genetics and developmental biography from Northwestern University.  He is a Certified Medical Practice Executive (MGMA), and a Felllow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.  Dr. Babitch is board certified in Pediatrics, as well as Medical Informatics.

Director Nominee: Juliana Preston, MPA

Candidate Statement 

I have been involved in the QIO program for 20 years and have held multiple positions including leading the nursing home team, serving as QIO state director for Utah, executive sponsor for the 11th SoW and currently, overseeing Comagine Health’s NQIIC portfolio.   I am committed to continuing the legacy of the QIN-QIO program while redesigning ourselves to deliver the most value to the beneficiaries we serve.

Candidate Biography

Juliana Preston is senior vice president of system wide quality improvement at Comagine Health, which was formed following the merger of Qualis Health and HealthInsight in 2018. She directs the system wide quality improvement division, including a broad range of multistate and statewide projects with federal agencies and state governments. A seasoned leader with in-depth industry and organizational expertise, Ms. Preston is passionate about leveraging systematic quality improvement, analytics and health information technology to address complex problems. She is also active in the patient and family advisory arena and remains a constant advocate for including the patient voice as a catalyst to help solve challenges facing the health care industry.  She led HealthInsight’s first patient and family advisory council and serves on the advisory board of PFCCpartners.

Before assuming her current role, Ms. Preston served in leadership positions at HealthInsight. She was Utah executive director, where she was responsible for governance, operations and community relations, and development; secretary of the Utah community board; vice president of Utah operations; and Utah quality improvement director.  She received a Bachelor of Science degree in health care administration from Oregon State University and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Utah.  She is committed to maintaining her connection to her local health care community and serves on multiple boards including Get Healthy Utah, Utah Hospital Association and chairs the quality committee of St. Mark’s Hospital Board of Trustees.

Director Nominee: Linda Kluge RD, LD, CPHQ

Candidate Statement

When I moved into the QIO Director role at the beginning of the 9th SOW I learned about Alliant’s membership in the American Health Quality Association.  I attended annual quality meetings and monthly support calls for the QIO teams across the nation and these opportunities provided a safe space to network and share with other leaders, allow us to problem solve common issues, share our successes shamelessly and borrow brilliantly the successes of others. During this time Alliant’s CMO, Adrienne Mims MD, became involved in the AHQA Leadership and I was able to see the day to day work that leaders of the QIOs were putting forth to make sure we were supported well as a group legislatively and organizationally. The volunteer spirit is alive and well among AHQA members, most recently with the weekly support of the Transition Task Order.  I would like to represent Alliant Health Solutions on the AHQA board in this new NQIIC work, sharing the culture of our organization, our interest in being efficient and effective partners with CMS, and support the Medicare beneficiaries entrusted to us in the years ahead. I am committed to bringing a positive focus on a complicated contract that will allow providers, clinicians and communities improve care in the future.

Candidate Biography

Linda Kluge is the Executive Director for Alliant Quality, a division of Alliant Health Solutions. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia and serving 17 states, Alliant Health Solutions is a nonprofit family of companies providing services including utilization management, program integrity and quality assurance in the administration of public sector health care programs.
Alliant Quality is a Network of Quality Innovation and Improvement Contractor (NQIIC) that implements Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts. The contract work supports quality improvement efforts to maximize impacts for QIN-QIO work, End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Networks, hospital-focused large scale improvements, clinician-focused technical assistance, and other quality improvement work.

Kluge has more than 40 years of experience in dietetics and quality management. She has held supervisory, management and clinical roles for a variety of health care providers. She joined Alliant Quality in 2003, then known as the Georgia Medical Care Foundation (GMCF), serving as a quality improvement and education specialist. Kluge then served as a home health/nursing home/quality team manager prior to begin promoted to the director of the QIO and serving as a member of the Alliant executive management team. She has extensive experience working with nursing homes, hospitals, and communities on several initiatives for patient safety, care transitions and beneficiary protection.
Prior to Alliant, Kluge held several positions at Beverly Enterprises, a long-term care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation provider, including serving as a senior director of its Quality Management department. She started her dietetics career as a dietary consultant for Judy Ford Stokes & Associates in Georgia and Florida.

After earning a bachelor of science degree from Hood College in Frederick, MD, Kluge completed the coordinated undergraduate program in dietetics at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. She has received the Distinguished Service Award from Aging Services of Georgia, was the recipient of the President’s Mentor Award from the Florida Dietetic Association and the 2018 American Health Care Association Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality award. Currently, she is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Quality Leader Alliance and Quality Strategies Workgroup. Linda volunteers with Alliant staff at Open Hand Atlanta and is a dedicated member of the Dunwoody Evening Community Bible Study core leadership team.