R. Kirkland Ahern-Jones, MAC/MBA, PhDabd
With the Center for Child Health Policy, Ms. Ahern-Jones will oversee operations strategy, implementation, and delivery in areas including contracts, finance, personnel, outcomes reporting, federal deliverables, fundraising, and stakeholder relationships for the CMS Maternal Opioid Misuse (MOM) model and opioid-related initiatives. The MOM model will build on the VUMC Team HOPE’s success with moms with opioid use disorder (OUD) and their infants, such as moving babies to room in with mom as soon as possible, providing lactation support to moms before they leave the hospital, and reducing the number of days mom and infant spend apart in the first year of life. In partnership with TennCare, the MOM model will leverage innovative approaches to improve care coordination, payment modeling, and services integration for women with OUD and their infants.
As a proven leader in increasing access to care, lowering costs, and showing quality through meaningful interventions with out-of-the box creative solutions that yield patient-provider focused care, Ms. Ahern-Jones has helped transformed numerous organizations into innovative healthcare institutions. Ms. Ahern-Jones received her Masters from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg and Wharton schools is abd in the process of obtaining her Doctor of Philosophy (abd) in Healthcare Administration. In her 20 years as a healthcare professional, she has successfully implemented many private, state, and federal projects. In her time at the National Institutes of Health from 1999-2005, where she was a Research Assistant, she helped leverage the Wharton Media Metrix data to place ads through the Ad Council. Additionally, through her work at Duke Access Health as a Project Outcomes Coordinator from 2009-2011, she led a team that bent cost curve for uninsured spend by $4.8 million, 360% on average compared to prior to the AccessHealth program’s placement and leveraged community action groups through asset maps to drive change in the SDoH space. As a VBC Healthcare Leader at Prisma from 2011-2016, she directed and supported the onboarding of multiple initiatives including multiple BPCIs, a CIN, an ACO, and an eGPO all while integrating Millman data and the ABCo Tool Crimson into Salesforce. In her role as Director of Operations for the MidSouth Practice Transformation Network, she supports 3800 (of a total 4500 enrolled) clinicians from across the midsouth as they transform from fee for service to readiness for LAN category 2 - 4 contractual alternative payment models (Value Based Care), including quality payment initiatives, EMR readiness, reporting capabilities, and payer-focused narratives and scorecarding.
Ms. Ahern-Jones is an active and present member in local community action groups, including NOAH (Nashville Organized for Action and Hope), which is a faith-led coalition that is multi-racial and interdenominational comprised of congregations, community organizations, and labor unions that work to give voice to traditionally marginalized people. Ms. Ahern-Jones also dedicates much of her time to serving those with severe mental illness and behavioral health needs. A volunteer with the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, many of her weekends are spent in Nunnelly, TN working with clients at a PTSD treatment center designing trauma informed care education curriculums for providers.