History of The Virginia Chapter of AAHAM


A meeting was held in Richmond, Virginia on June 24, 1982 to see if there was enough interest in forming a Virginia Chapter. There were approximately 50 interested parties in attendance. From this meeting, with a core group of eight, which consisted of Dennis McDonough as president, Doug Benning as First Vice President, Paul Sacre as Second Vice President, Peggy Pinpavalle as Secretary, Woody Samuels as Treasurer, and other board members Forrest Perrin CPAM, and Sherry Gurnsey CPAM, the Virginia Chapter was born. The Virginia Chapter of AAHAM, formerly known as the American Guild of Patient Account Management, was chartered on June 29, 1982. The first workshop was held November 11, 1982 at the Ramada Inn in Charlottesville with a registration fee of twenty dollars. Since 1982, the Chapter has accomplished much and has grown in prominence in the healthcare community.

Membership continues to grow and exceed each prior year. Educational programs and seminars are well attended and attest to the professionalism and commitment that is shown by the executive board of our chapter. Our chapter takes great pride in the scholarships awarded to our members to assist in furthering their education. A library was available to our membership thru 2007. It was replaced by the internet. The Virginia Chapter Officers and Board also wish to acknowledge the tremendous support by corporate partners of our seminars offered for all our members.

A third-party payer task force was established in 1985 and resulted in improved communication between providers and payers. In 1988, an Accounts Receivables Standardization Committee was established for the purpose of developing standards for evaluating accounts receivable data from facility to facility. In 1988 due to efforts on the part of AAHAM, HFMA, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Virginia, the Medicare Issues Committee (MEDIC) was developed to address Medicare concerns in a productive way. 1990 saw the formation of the Blue Cross Focus Group, another important step in the communication between fiscal intermediaries and patient accounting.

Certification of members has been a primary goal since 1983. Coaching sessions are given on a routine basis to those interested and as of 2007 they are offered by telephone conference. Through the history of our chapter, many members have achieved the status of Certified Patient Accounts Manager. Interest continues to expand based on the attendance of the chapter coaching sessions. Advertisements for patient accounting positions now routinely ask for certified candidates.

The Virginia Chapter of AAHAM is also proud to have developed a warm and cooperative relationship with one of its fellow chapters -- the Carolina Chapter. Since 1987 these two chapters have joined forces to provide joint seminars for its combined membership. This relationship continued into 1996. In 1991, a joint seminar was held in February with our neighboring chapter to the north, National Capital Area, in Fredericksburg Va. The two chapters continued to have joint seminars until 2011. In April 2012, the Virginia Chapter and HFMA joined forces to provide a joint Insurance Payer Summit meeting for its combined membership.

In the fall of 1987, a scholarship award of $500.00 was established with the primary purpose of educating its membership in the Management of Healthcare Receivables. In November 2007, it was renamed the Woodrow Samuel Scholarship Award and expanded to include dependents of our membership and the dollar was increased to $1,000.00.

The first chapter handbook was published in 1987 and continues to be published today. In the fall of 2007, the Forrest Perrin award was established to recognize a member who excelled in the promotion of the chapter and the profession of healthcare administrative management. Toll-free numbers were established for members to call to participate in the certification study sessions, eliminated the cost of travel to the sessions, and this practice continues today.

In 2007, the chapter purchased a certification banner to display at each educational seminar to bring awareness to the attendees on the benefits of becoming certificated. This continues to be displayed at each meeting.

In April 2008, the chapter established its first web page.

In November 2008, the chapter certification committee created CPAT Trivia flashcards as an additional tool for the chapter membership to assist in studying for the technical exam. The CPAM Trivia flash cards were created in February 2009.
In 2008 Linda McLaughlin, CPAM put together a one-day free educational seminar (held on Saturday) called, “Back to the Basics”. These seminars are held at different times and areas in Virginia thru out the year. Not only does this seminar provide member education, it provides information members can use every day in their work in the Revenue Cycle...

In 2008 Brenda Chambers, CPAM created a PowerPoint on Technical Certification to inform potential examinees of what the technical certification is, what topics are covered on the exam; how and what to study; as well as study suggestions. She travels to different facilities within the state promoting the CPAT, CCAT, and CCI certification.

In April 2008, Chris Fisher created a CPAT practice test online in excel format where the spreadsheet will keep track of scores throughout the completion of the practice test.

In February 2009, a Legislative Advocacy Day was established which includes a trip to the Virginia Assembly, to serve the purpose to involve membership in their local government. It gave the members an opportunity to talk to their respective legislative representatives to voice opinions and to help guide them through the many decision affecting our facilities and communities.

In September 2009, the chapter purchased a membership banner to display at each AAHAM educational seminar to bring awareness to the attendees on the benefits of becoming an AAHAM member.

In December 2009, the Chapter Award was renamed the Leanna T. Marshall, CPAM award in honor of her years of remarkable dedication.

In 2010, the chapter implemented using a new form of communication (Constant Contact) to notify the Virginia AAHAM membership of seminars and other important information from the Board members.

In 2010, Virginia AAHAM began a recognition program for the individual who has written the best article published within the Virginia AAHAM Newsletter. The recipient is selected by members of the newsletter committee and a $100 reward is given.

In 2015, the Virginia Chapter started using Constant Contact to inform members of events and informational items related to the Virginia Chapter, as well as to manage meeting registrations, and handle such things as member surveys.

In April 2015, the chapter recognized the need for centralized storage of the chapter’s most important documents and began using a shared Cloud Storage to store minutes, pictures, and other important documents for the Chapter.

In 2015, the chapter received an anonymous donation of $1,200.00 that was to be used to support the costs of reimbursement for members who wished to become nationally certified where reimbursement would not be forthcoming from other sources.
The chapter then developed the Certification Scholarship Program which was managed by the chapter President and issued scholarships to the members for their cost of taking the exam. The Certification Scholarship Program is named in honor of Brenda Chambers, CRCE for her outstanding contributions to AAHAM Certification Programs at National AAHAM and The Virginia Chapter of AAHAM.

In 2016, the chapter recognized the need to update its website to a new and improved version.
The Board engaged a new web hosting company that also assisted the chapter in redesigning the site. The website includes a Blog feature that enables improved communication with members. A Facebook page was also created to share information and to engage members and other interested parties.

In 2017, at the 35th Annual Meeting and Banquet, the Board announced that starting this year and for every year after, the annual banquet would be renamed as the John H. Frierson Annual Banquet in recognition of a dear friend and member of the chapter who served the chapter faithfully and with great spirit.

In 2018, the chapter recognized the need to offer free webinars to our membership. The first was on Credit and Collections was held on April 27, 2018. The four webinars held were later posted on the chapter website, along with a practice test program for the membership to use in preparing for the exam.

In 2019, the chapter added the first annual Wine Tour networking event associated with the Spring Regional Conference in Charlottesville. The chapter began offering limited online courses at the Annual Meeting and Conference in Williamsburg with the vision of making future online courses an available option for chapter members. A new networking event was introduced at the Annual Meeting and Conference; the Bean Bag Toss Cornhole tournament was very popular with attendees.

February 2020 the Chapter held its first Certification Jeopardy Webinar. The questions were created by the Certification Chairman and the Host of the game was Tim Breen from UVA Health System. The three contestants were Pam Cornell, (Mary Washington Hospital). Marc Morhack, (Optum) and Susan McDonald, (Key Bridge Medical Revenue Care). Our sponsors were Penn Credit; DECO and Key Bridge Medical Revenue Care.

July 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic the Chapter was unable to hold the normal educational meetings so Pam Cornell, the First V.P. set up for the chapter its first Educational webinar and continue this format for the remaining year. Pam Cornell was able to get great speakers to talk about subjects that were very educational.

October 2020 The Chapter held its first Board Member and Sponsors networking event at Kings Family Vineyard. It was well attended and everyone had a great time. During the event, the President presented annual awards to Sponsors and Board Members.

October 2020 Linda Patry, President, ask the Chapter to join forces with the Keystone, Maryland, Philadelphia, and Three Rivers Chapters of AAHAM to participate in a cookbook fundraiser to benefit Amor Healing Kitchen. Chapter members submitted recipes for the book. Proceeds from the sale of the cookbook will be contributed to Amor Healing Kitchen.

The Virginia Chapter of AAHAM continues to make progress for Patient Accounting Professionals through its involvement in the industry. The chapter is proud of these accomplishments, yet anxious to continue working towards new and improved solutions that will enhance its members experience by staying continuously tuned in to the revenue cycle changes.