CareLink and PACE Organization of Rhode Island Reach Growth Milestone

March 18, 2019

CareLink, a nonprofit management organization, and PACE Organization of Rhode Island (PACE-RI) have reached new stages of growth that require changes to the top post of each organization. Joan Kwiatkowski, who has served as CEO of both companies since their inception, will transition to be the full-time CEO of PACE-RI beginning April 1, and Christine Gadbois, DNP, will assume interim leadership duties of CareLink at that time.

“Both CareLink and PACE-RI have been remarkably successful in driving innovations in long-term care, and each are preparing for bright futures,” said Kevin McKay, chair of the CareLink Board of Directors. “We are very grateful to Joan for all her efforts to get both organizations to this point, and we look forward to working with Christine on the next steps in our journey as a collaborative membership organization.”

CareLink partners came together to found and fund PACE-RI in 2004 to help rebalance the long-term care delivery system in the state. The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE®) model had proved to be successful in other parts of the country, and CareLink members wanted to help medically complex elders live independently at home for as long as possible.


         Joan Kwiatkowski                    Christine Gadbois

Part of the original agreement was that Kwiatkowski would become leader of the new PACE organization and continue her CareLink leadership duties. PACE-RI has grown, establishing its own board of directors and becoming a separate entity in 2016, and now needs to pursue its own focused strategy and plan.

The relationship between the two not-for-profit organizations remains strong, and PACE-RI will continue to be a member of CareLink, which has 36 other entities.

“PACE’s development and growth is a testament to the vision and cooperation of CareLink’s members,” said Chris Woulfe, chair of the PACE-RI board and a founder of CareLink. “Having a full-time CEO will allow PACE-RI to create and pursue strategic initiatives that support our statewide expansion and contribute to PACE program growth nationwide.”

Founded in 1997, CareLink is a management services organization that works to improve the lives of older adults in Rhode Island through collaboration and innovation. Members include post-acute and long-term care providers, adult day services, PACE, assisted living residences, nursing homes and hospice care. Collectively, CareLink members provide services to more than 20,000 residents each year.

PACE-RI is a health plan that proactively helps older adults with their health care, so they can remain in the community connected to family and friends. Its full-service health care and coverage serves adults age 55 and over who have chronic health needs and want to live at home. PACE health care and support services include primary care, access to specialists, prescription drugs and durable medical equipment, dental care, 24-hour emergency services, home care, transportation to all medical appointments, meals, and physical, speech, occupational and respiratory therapies.

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