Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence (CCME) is a non-profit health care quality consultancy and QIO-like Entity certified by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) founded by physicians in 1983. Headquartered in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, we offer an array of quality improvement, clinical review, audit, technical, and consulting services and solutions to improve care delivery, system performance, and patient outcomes.
Applying expertise and experience rooted in our foundation as a federally designated quality improvement organization (QIO) since 1984, we work closely with partners to identify gaps in system delivery and provide the tools necessary to take action. We've helped countless clients improve system performance and deliver care that is patient-centered, cost-effective and safe.
Culture of Collaboration
There is an inherent relationship between heath care system performance at the provider, payer, and community levels, and the care that patients receive. The Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence (CCME) is an experienced, trusted partner in evaluating and improving performance constructively and collaboratively.
As part of the Health Quality Innovation Network (HQIN), CCME is the QIO for South Carolina. Under the 5-year quality improvement contract, we provide quality improvement expertise to Medicare providers and support better outcomes for Medicare Beneficiaries living in rural, underserved communities. The HQIN region serves, VA, KS, MO and SC. www.hqin.org.
We help people by improving the quality of health care.
CCME Corporate Values
At CCME, we believe that to transform health care, we must continuously aspire to be the best in everything we do. To achieve this goal, we remain dedicated to upholding our corporate values:
- Excellence – We aspire to be the best in everything we do; good is not enough. We recruit and retain the most competent people who are committed to a culture of excellence and continuous quality improvement.
- Learning Organization – We are a learning organization and value knowledge; developing, capturing, applying and managing knowledge is our most important work. Skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable employees are our most valuable asset.
- Innovation – We create value for our customers and partners by combining clinical expertise and applied technology to promote health care excellence. We embrace and approach change as an opportunity for improvement.
- Teamwork/Collaboration – Each of us succeeds individually when we as a corporate team achieve success. We work in collaboration with each other and our partners to improve health care.
- Can Do – We expect all employees to demonstrate individual leadership through a positive approach to every task, a “can do” attitude, and a restless determination to continually improve as part of our quality improvement culture.
- Trust/Integrity – We practice the highest ethical standards in all that we do. We build trust by honoring our commitments. In order to earn and maintain trust and demonstrate our integrity, we must be good citizens both corporately and individually.
- Altruism – As a nonprofit company, our greatest obligation is to be of service and to promote the public good. Our ability to meet these obligations depends on maintaining a sound financial position.
Who We Are
The CCME Board of Directors is composed of up to 11 members representing a variety of health care settings, disciplines, and backgrounds. The Board includes at least one consumer/Medicare beneficiary representative and one individual who is a representative of health care providers. No single profession constitutes a majority of the Board. The Board of Directors are elected at the CCME Annual Meeting in November for terms of up to three (3) years.
Chapel Hill, NC
Fort Mill, SC
Senior Leadership is responsible for managing the major functional areas of the corporation. They report directly to the President and Chief Executive Officer, who is accountable to the Board of Directors.
President & CEO
Steven is the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for The Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence (CCME). Steven came to CCME from Atrium Health in Charlotte, NC, where he served as a Vice President within Atrium Health's Quality Division. His responsibilities included the comprehensive oversight for accreditation, medical staff services/quality, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (Patient Non-Discrimination), and the Insurance and Payor Quality of Care Complaint process. He served as a member of the Joint Commission's Health Systems Liaison Advisory Council and as Deputy for the COVID-19 Surge Operations Leadership Group at Atrium Health. His additional prior leadership roles include Vice President for Business Development/Senior Consultant at Courtemanche & Associates, Inc., and Director of Quality Management at Carolinas HealthCare System. Steven also served as a Hospital Surveyor with The Joint Commission.
Steven holds a Masters in Health Administration from the Medical University of South Carolina and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Wofford College. His credentials include Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) and Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ).
Chief Operating & Financial Officer
Stephen Dille has overall strategic and operational responsibility for CCME’s Finance and Administration Departments, to include finance, human resources, facilities, information technology, contract administration, and investment portfolio for the organization.
Mr. Dille has over 20 years of financial management experience. His areas of expertise include financial and accounting management including analysis, budgeting, accounting, strategic planning, forecasting and reporting; information system design and management; IT contractor management; and pricing and managing federal contracts and grants. Mr. Dille recently held the role of chief financial officer for Rise Against Hunger, an international not for profit organization.
Mr. Dille received a Master of Business Administration from Texas A&M University in College Station, TX and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), licensed in North Carolina and Louisiana.
Vice President, Program Solutions
Priscilla Smith oversees the development and operations of CCME's health-care programs, including PrePayment Review Services, External Quality Review (EQR), and Utilization Management (UM) as well as clinical clinical consulting programs and business development activities within the State Review Services division.
Ms. Smith is a healthcare executive with over 30 years of experience serving complex integrated settings. She previously served as the System of Care Director, Behavioral Health, for Magellan Health in Virginia where she managed the behavioral health and substance use disorders care coordination and care transitions programs ensuring positive, integrated care outcomes for members with behavioral health and substance abuse disorders as well as advancing policies, procedures, and quality reports to ensure full compliance with state, federal, and NCQA regulations and requirements. Ms. Smith's prior roles include Director, Behavioral Health and Developmental Services at the Virginia Office of the State Inspector General in Richmond, VA; Director, Quality Management at Eastern State Hospital in Williamsburg, VA; and Director, Facility Operations and Quality Improvement at the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services in Richmond, VA.
Ms. Smith received a Master of Science in Healthcare Management and a Master of Business Administration from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from St. Joseph College in West Hartford, CT. She is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) through the National Association of Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) and is a registered nurse in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Vice President, Quality Improvement
Karen Southard is Vice President of Quality Improvement and serves as the State Director for the CMS Quality Improvement Network- Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for South Carolina. CCME partners with Health Quality Innovators (HQI) for the 12th Statement of Work, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) contract. In this role Ms. Southard is responsible for the efficient and effective management of identifying gaps in care delivery and improving quality outcomes while supporting providers in achieving the goals of CMS value-based programs. The QIN-QIO program serves Medicare providers and beneficiaries to achieve better access to care, higher value, and efficient care with a focus on rural undeserved communities.
Ms. Southard has more than 35 years of combined clinical, performance improvement, and leadership experience. Ms. Southard is responsible for developing and executing innovative strategies to deliver new levels of quality improvement across the health care continuum. Prior to returning to CCME, Ms. Southard held the role of Vice President of Quality & Clinical Performance Improvement at the North Carolina Healthcare Association.
Ms. Southard earned a Master's in Health Administration from Pfeiffer University; a Bachelor of Science in Business in Organizational Management; and a Diploma of Nursing at Illinois Masonic Medical Center School of Nursing. She is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) through the National Association of Healthcare Quality (NAHQ).
Associate Vice President, Fraud, Waste & Abuse
Richard Mennuti is the Associate Vice President for Fraud, Waste, and Abuse (FWA) at CCME. Richard leads CCME's FWA Solutions Program, including oversight and development of CCME's Payment Integrity, Special Investigations Unit and Fraud Analytics client services.
Prior to working at CCME, Richard was the Director of Enterprise Fraud Investigations at Kemper Insurance where he led the end-to-end corporate strategy to resolve investigations involving insurance fraud, employee and vendor misconduct, larceny, intellectual property theft, conflict of interest, money-laundering, expense fraud, misappropriation or misuse of company assets, and bribery and kickback schemes.
Before working for Kemper Insurance, Richard was the Fraud Investigations Manager in the Special Investigations Unit for L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation's largest public health plan with two million customers.
In 2019, Richard retired from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) where he served as a Special Agent and Supervisory Special Agent for 22 years. Prior to the FBI, Richard served on active duty in the United States Air Force as a Commissioned Officer and Special Agent with the U.S. Air Force Office of the Special Investigations, Office of Inspector General working numerous criminal investigations including healthcare fraud.
Richard holds a Masters in Business Administration from Embry Riddle University and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Florida.
Director of Finance
Cheryl Powell is responsible for oversight of CCME financial operations including management of CCME contracts, accounts receivable and payable, payroll, and auditing. She provides consultation regarding CCME financial performance, oversees and manages budget development and monitoring, and coordinates our various financial audits.
Ms. Powell has been with CCME for over 30 years, beginning her career here as an accounting clerk. During her tenure she has held roles as accounting specialist, assistant accounting manager, and most recently, accounting manager.
Ms. Powell received a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Director of Business Development
The Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence (CCME) is pleased to announce the appointment of Christopher N. Aiello as Director of Business Development. Christopher will manage the corporate strategic and organizational marketing and customer relationship activities for current and potential public and private sector clients.
Christopher previously served as Principal at SEA HO, LLC in Cary, NC, where he managed and developed/evolved business planning for the company's asset portfolio and growth. His prior roles include Senior Sales Consultant at Wolters Kluwer, Legal and Regulatory in New York, NY; Director of Business Development at Highwire Press in Los Gatos, CA; National Sales and Business Development Director and Regional Sales Director at Elsevier in Philadelphia, PA; Director of Sales and Business Development at ClearTXT in Raleigh, NC; Vice President of Sales at Fiserv/RegEd in Mooresville, NC; Co-founder of Silverchair Learning Systems in Charlottesville, VA; Senior Director of Sales at HealthStream in Nashville, TN; and National Sales Manager at ELM Oncology Services in Rockville, MD. Christopher holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Management and Marketing from Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, PA.
Director of Human Resources
Nikita T. Beatty is responsible for oversight of CCME human resources including management and administration of CCME talent acquisition, all aspects of employee compensation and benefits, performance, and human resources-related policies, procedures, and compliance. She provides consultation regarding all CCME employee relations matters.
Ms. Beatty has been with CCME for 10 years. During her tenure, she held the roles of HR Coordinator, HR Specialist, and most recently, HR Generalist. Previously, she worked in Human Resources for DDL OMNI Engineering in McLean, Virginia; Edgemoore Homes in Fairfax, Virginia; and Fayetteville State University.
Ms. Beatty received a Bachelor of Science in Business Management – Human Resources from North Carolina State University. In addition, she holds the Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR) certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) and is a Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Executive Director, CCME Foundation
Dori DeJong is responsible for oversight and administration of the CCME Foundation in accordance with the CCME Strategic Plan.
Ms. DeJong was hired by CCME in June 2021, and during her brief tenure, held the role of Executive Operations Administrator. In addition to administering the CCME Foundation, she serves as the CCME Board Liaison and Corporate Compliance Specialist. Previously, she worked for the North Carolina Judicial Branch serving under six Chief Justices of the North Carolina Supreme Court and served as a Military Intelligence officer in the US Army.
Ms. DeJong has her Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and a Bachelor of Science degree in History from Liberty University.
CCME Foundation Launch
CCME Foundation to Fund Programs on Health Care Quality in the Carolinas