The 2018 NPA Annual Conference was held Oct. 21-24 at the Hilton Portland Downtown in Portland, OR. The conference brought together a diverse audience of administrative, primary care and clinical staff from PACE and Pre-PACE programs. Organizations considering PACE development; state, federal, legislative and regulatory staff; and other long-term care service providers also attended.

Educational sessions were offered Oct. 22-24. Featured subject areas included PACE service diversification, the use of DataPACE3 for quality improvement activities, growth strategies for PACE, the use of PACE waiver opportunities, and operational efficiencies. This year’s conference also featured a rehab/therapy concentration as part of the overall session offerings, focusing on information exchange and problem-solving. In addition, 60-minute roundtable discussions were held on a variety of hot topics in PACE.

You can view the Conference Program. The hashtag for social media postings related to the conference was #NPA2018AC.

Featured Speakers

The keynote speaker during the Opening General Session of the conference was Kim Campbell. She was married to country/pop star Glen Campbell, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011 and passed away in August 2017. When her husband was diagnosed, “I didn’t really know anything about Alzheimer’s,” she said. She launched CareLiving in 2016 to support and advocate for caregivers. She continues to honor her late husband's memory through her work to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and their caregivers.

Kim Campbell learned about PACE when she was invited to keynote the NPA Annual Conference. “Now I’ll be able to tell people about PACE and point them in the right direction,” she said.

Adam Burrows, MD, chair of the NPA Board of Directors, also spoke during the session, saying, “I’d like to say a few words about what I think makes PACE not merely special but truly radical – radical and transformative.”

He highlighted five characteristics. The first was concierge care. “We provide highly individualized, finely calibrated, person-centered concierge care; and we provide it to economically and socially disadvantaged older adults – those who have been most neglected in our society. That’s radical.”

Secondly, he said, “We are steadfast. When we assume care for our participants, we remain with them for life, whatever happens. We build relationships. We earn trust. We prove ourselves trustworthy. We don’t abandon anyone. That’s radical.”

The third “radical” characteristic of PACE is that “we serve communities,” Dr. Burrows said. “We are providers and provider organizations first and foremost, grounded in the neighborhoods we serve. We operate on a human scale, not a health plan scale. I work for a community health center. We take seriously the notion that if we take excellent care of the most vulnerable among us, if we are responsive to caregivers and support families, we can produce healthier households and therefore healthier communities. That’s radical.”

PACE also addresses social determinants of health, he noted. “Our participants are medically complex. In my work I’m reminded of that every day. Yet we reallocate resources from high-tech to high-touch to address the social and functional issues our participants face. And as my teacher, Willie Orr, former PACE medical director in Denver, once said, ‘Addressing the social issues makes the treatment of medical problems easy.’ That’s radical.”

Finally, “we are nonhierarchical,” he said. “We work in teams. Each member of the team has a key role and responsibilities, and each member of the team is empowered to be creative in fulfilling those responsibilities. No one sits at the head of the table. We function as a collaborative. That’s radical.”

Dr. Burrows concluded, “I don’t have to remind anyone about the particular historic and political moment we’re living through. We can’t ignore it, nor should we. As we work together to expand access to PACE, I encourage all of you to seize the moment – to hold firm to the radical, the transformative, the truly creative in PACE.”


NPA honored the 2018 recipients of the Marie-Louise Ansak Award and Judy Baskins Volunteer Leadership Award during the Leadership and Awards Luncheon on Oct. 23. The Outstanding PACE Nurse of the Year Award was presented at the Nursing Symposium during pre-conference activities on Oct. 21.

Emily Cutler-Brockway, of PACE Southeast Michigan, received the Marie-Louise Ansak Award, and Tim Clontz, of Cone Health, received the Judy Baskins Volunteer Leadership Award. Celia Walta, RN, MS, of Providence ElderPlace in Portland, was named Outstanding PACE Nurse of the Year Award.

Social Event

This year's social event during the conference was an evening at the Historic Crystal Ballroom on Oct. 23. The Portland landmark has served as a music hall and performance venue for over a hundred years, hosting acts such as the Grateful Dead and Ike and Tina Turner. Its restored “floating” dance floor is the only one of its kind on the Pacific Coast.

Attendees enjoyed a buffet dinner and tastings from local wineries and breweries. Entertainment included local musical talent, master illusionist Hart Keene and other special guests.

Emily Cutler-Brockway, of PACE Southeast Michigan,
received the 2018 Marie-Louise Ansak Award.

Shawn Bloom, president and CEO of NPA, and Eileen Kunz, of On Lok,
joined in recognizing the many contributions to PACE by former board
member Kathryn McGuire (center) during her career.

Sharon Cochraham, manager of Association Services at NPA, was honored for her
17 years of service to NPA and its members. She will retire on Dec. 21.

Conference-goers who attended the evening at the Historic Crystal Ballroom were greeted by special guests.

The Historic Crystal Ballroom, the location of this year's social event, features a restored “floating” dance floor, the only one of its kind on the Pacific Coast.


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