2024 Spring Conference Breakout Sessions

Wednesday, April 10: Breakout Sessions


Transforming Chaplaincy: Religious & Spiritual Care in Long-Term Care

This seminar will introduce participants to research exploring the types of religious and spiritual care provided in post-acute, long-term care settings in the United States. Researchers will share  data from a study completed in Tennessee and describe the research underway in Wisconsin. Researchers will discuss the current understanding of religious and spiritual care as a social determinant of health, a deterrent to social isolation, an approach to increase resident satisfaction, and a way to foster resilience in older adults. In addition, the researchers will briefly discuss how participation in research demonstrates an organization’s commitment to the Baldridge core value of patient/person focused excellence. A PowerPoint presentation will be used, and speakers will invite open discussion of current religious and spiritual practices as well as practice improvements participants would like to see.

The session will explore the provision of religious and spiritual care and educated providers on how religious and spiritual practices are a way to decrease resident isolation and increase resident satisfaction.

Room Location & Time: 1-2 PM | Grand F

Target Audience: SNF, AL | Owners, Administrators, Executive Directors, DONs, Clinical Staff, Operators, Chaplains, Activity Directors

Speaker Bio

Louis Arata is the Research Project Director and Research Associate for the Elder Care Research Network’s study, mapping religious and spiritual care in long-term care. Louis has worked as a data manager for a study on gang violence reduction in Chicago and six additional sites across the U.S. He was the Associate Dean of Students of Information Systems at the University of Chicago, and was a business manager for a community-based music program at DePaul University. He is also a playwright, actor, and writer.


Managing Food Waste & Costs in a Facility Kitchen

Although managing costs has always been important in our facilities, the challenges of the past few years have made this an even more important consideration. We will talk about how we can utilize regulations, standards of practice, and the tools available to us to provide safe and high quality food while managing our costs more effectively. We will look at some tips for managing costs from every angle. We will also consider ways to reduce food waste, whether it’s from our Residents’ plates or the walk-in. No matter your experience level or years of tenure, you are likely to find an idea in this presentation that you can put to use when you go back to your facility.

– Discuss how our standard practices in Nursing Facility kitchens can help us better manage our costs
– Consider how food safety and quality intertwine
– Learn tips to help you better meet your budget needs while reducing food waste

Room Location & Time: 1 – 2 PM | Grand G

Target Audience: SNF & AL | Administrator, Executive Director, Dietary Staff, Ops Staff, Owners

Speaker Bio

Cassandra “Cassie” Whitmore, RD, LMNT has been a practicing dietitian for more than 10 years. She received her bachelor’s degrees in Public Health Nutrition and Dietetics from Kansas State University. After starting her career working in acute care and inpatient eating disorders in Kansas City, she moved on to management in a critical access hospital. Most of her career has been spent working in Long Term Care at various facilities throughout the state of Nebraska, which included time as an Employee Wellness Dietitian. She has also worked as an outpatient dietitian with a focus on diabetes education and eating disorders and has notable experience in hospice and mental healthcare. She is currently self-employed as a Consultant Dietitian and Speaker. She is based in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Top Trends Impacting LTC: Strategies to Elevate Your Outcomes

The senior living and care landscape is in a constant state of transformation. To become a high-performing organization, you must be one step ahead. Join us to uncover how top trends, including regulatory shifts, rising acuity, active adult community growth, hospital/post-acute relationships, and more, are reshaping the industry. Drawing from experience as both nationwide operators and consultants, our session will navigate you through these dynamic changes, equipping you with actionable strategies to flourish in this evolving environment.

Learning Objectives

  • Gain insight into the five top trends shaping senior living and care.
  • Discover the strategies employed by successful providers to prepare for these imminent changes.
  • Assess the potential impact of these transformations on your organization and market positioning.

Room Location & Time: 2:15 – 3:15 PM | Grand H

Target Audience: SNF, AL, ID/DD | Administrator, Executive Director, Clinical Staff, Ops Staff, Owners, Facility Management, Support Staff

Speaker Bio

As executive vice president of consulting for Health Dimensions Group, Darrin Hull leads HDG’s nationwide consulting practice, provides operational turnaround support and project oversight to clients, and serves as an industry thought leader. Mr. Hull is also responsible for researching, identifying, and securing business development opportunities, including care community management and leases.
Mr. Hull’s background includes more than 30 years of multi-site post-acute operations management experience, with particular emphasis on large-scale nursing centers. In 2018 and 2019, Mr. Hull served as the primary oversight agent for one of Wisconsin’s largest receivership transfers, which included the management and turnaround of 24 skilled nursing facilities and 9 assisted living facilities. Previously, Mr. Hull held multi-facility oversight positions with the nation’s largest post-acute providers, including Kindred Healthcare and Beverly Healthcare. He also organized and founded a consulting services company in 2007 to assist

How Non-Escalation Can Help You & Your Team Create a Safer & More Respectful Environment

We are familiar with the term de-escalation when working with individuals or family members. What if there was a way to lessen the need for de-escalation by teaching concepts and skills to predict and prevent conflict in the first place? This presentation by Optima EP, and powered by Vistelar, will teach conflict management concepts such as establishing a showtime mindset, managing proxemics, using a universal greeting, and how to create an emotionally and physically safe environment by treating all people with dignity by showing respect.

1. Discuss setting behavioral expectations and the need to establish a conflict prevention social contract that is incompatible with emotional and physical violence.
2. Learn how to acknowledge another’s perspective, seek to understand, and anticipate their needs through empathy.
3. Demonstrate how to be emotionally, physically, and mentally ready for potential safety risks by identifying gateway behaviors, managing space, and conducting risk and threat assessments.
4. Practice non-escalation strategies in a low-stress environment.

Room Location & Time: 2:15 – 3:15 PM | Grand F

Target Audience: SNF, AL, ID/DD | Administrator, Executive Director, Clinical Staff, Ops Staff, Owners

Speaker Bios

Aimee Wollman Nesseth, M.Div., M.S. is co-owner of Optima EP LLC, emergency preparedness consultants. Her interest in Emergency Preparedness came out of her work and service with the Spiritual Disaster Response team of the American Red Cross, as the Coordinator for the Chippewa Valley Emergency Support Services Critical Incident Stress Management team, and as one of the Eau Claire Fire Department Chaplains. Aimee has 26 years of experience in ministry and served as a Board-Certified Professional Chaplain in the Critical Care and Emergency Department settings in both Eau Claire, WI and St. Paul, MN. she is also contracted with the state as the Northwest Wisconsin Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition Program Coordinator.


Brian Kaczmarski, B.S., MPH, is co-owner of Optima EP LLC, emergency preparedness consultants and is in his 17th year in the world of public health. His past roles have included being a two-time public health accreditation coordinator, Director of the Western Wisconsin Public Health Readiness Consortium (WWPHRC), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Statewide Training and Exercise Coordinator, and a Public Health Director/Health Officer for a Level III Health Department. he is contracted with the state of Wisconsin as the statewide healthcare emergency readiness coalition coordinator. He has also recently collaborated with Vistelar to become a trainer for their non-escalation, de-escalation training. Prior to entering the field of public health, Brian was a secondary school educator.

Education & Staff Competency in Assisted Living

Prospective and current residents are curious about the training and competency of the caregiving team that will be caring for them. They are encouraged to inquire about this training when they choose a residence for loved ones. Likewise, in the competitive race to hire and retain top talent, we need to ensure our caregivers enjoy knowing they have the skills, expertise, and knowledge to do their job well.


  • Verbalize the competencies that must be covered in New Employee Orientation, and in the first days of employment.
  • Describe 3 ways to infuse your company’s values into your education programs.
  • Describe how training can improve recruitment and retention of top performing staff.
  • Describe best practices for delivering top educational opportunities for your staff, and verifying they gained knowledge and competence.

Room Location & Time: 2:15 – 3:15 PM | Grand G

Target Audience: Assisted Living & ID/DD | owners, operators, directors, HR staff, managers, administrators

Speaker Bio

In the role of Director of Leadership Services, Chandler Hulke assists with the development and implementation of products, resources, education and consulting services related to interim services, support for emerging leaders and other leadership resources for our customers. She has a depth of experience in the senior living and long-term care profession as a leader in skilled nursing, assisted living, independent living, and memory care. She has experience in leadership and oversight of daily operations of senior living and long-term care organizations. Chandler has keen knowledge and insight in operations, financial performance, compliance, quality systems, mentoring leaders, and performance improvement. Her exceptional leadership style utilizes her ability to identify gaps in performance while leveraging the skills and talents of team members for a collaborative approach to meet and exceed operational goals.

Chandler is a a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator- Minnesota and Licensed Health Services Executive and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where she received a degree in Health Care Administration. She has had the opportunity to mentor many individuals within senior care and long-term care settings, which has come to be a passion of hers of building and equipping the next round of leaders to provide quality care and services to older adults.

Preparing for Informal Dispute Resolution 101

Hopefully, it never comes but when state surveyors issue a Statement of Deficiency, long term care providers need to act quickly to evaluate whether to request an informal dispute resolution (IDR) or an independent information dispute resolution (IIDR) and prepare for it.  This session will provide insight into the evaluation of whether to request an IDR or IIDR and, if you move forward with such a request, how to prepare for it.

Attendees of this session will:

  • Walk through the mechanics of the IDR and IIDR process;
  • Assess the investigation to be undertaken immediately following the survey exit meeting and evaluate the chance of an IDR or IIDR’s success; and
  • Develop a plan for preparing for an IDR or IIDR.

Room Location & Time: 1- 2 PM | Grand H

Target Audience: SNF, ID/DD | Owners/Operators, DONs, NHA’s, Executive Directors

Speaker Bio

Stacy Gerber Ward is a Shareholder, leader of the Government Enforcement and Internal Investigations Section, and Co-Chair of the Health Law Section. As leader of the Government Enforcement and Corporate Investigations Section, Stacy represents clients facing government enforcement matters, conducts internal investigations to respond to government investigations, and litigates government related issues.

In the health care area, Stacy assists clients with an array of health care transactional and operational issues. She is certified in health care compliance by the Compliance Certification Board and helps clients evaluate and respond to compliance related matters, design and implement compliance programs, conduct compliance reviews, and advise on disclosure obligations. Her expertise includes Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Law compliance, Medicare and Medicaid billing, and Controlled Substances and False Claims Acts.

Stacy has more than 14 years of experience serving as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and served as the Deputy Chief of the Civil Division. In those roles, Stacy investigated and prosecuted individuals and corporations for civil health care fraud and other enforcement matters. Stacy was awarded the Department of Justice’s highest honor for superior performance as an Assistant United States Attorney in 2010 and received a Certificate of Commendation for outstanding performance in enforcing civil rights laws in 2009. Stacy is Co-Chair of von Briesen’s Pro Bono Committee.

Thursday, April 11: Breakout Sessions


Leading to Win: Leading Like the Future Depends On It!

In this interactive session, Chris will take the attendees on a journey through the  L.E.G.A.C.Y. leadership principals. The session will be structured around our pillars of performance: people, product, process, & plan. We will focus primarily on people and the L.E.G.A.C.Y. leadership process. The attendees will be given real world scenarios to work through in small groups to illustrate the importance of the lessons contained within our leadership program. Attendees will be given tools they can implement immediately to improve their own leadership skills and those of the team members around them.
We consistently hear positive feedback about our energy, engagement, and depth of knowledge when we have the privilege of presenting to post-acute leaders. During this session we will focus on the critical areas of listening, learning, leading by example, empathy, grace, accountability, communication, and you – the importance of leading yourself in order to be able to lead others effectively.
The goal of our session will be to provide additional resources to current and future leaders in Wisconsin post-acute care. We believe growing individual leaders will collectively improve our environment. We can only accomplish our mission of improving quality through collaboration with great leaders that are intensely focused on growing, supporting, and developing their people.

We want leaders to walk away with new knowledge and tools that will help them in the following areas:
l – listening, learning, & leading by example
e – empathy
g – grace
a – accountability
c – communication
y – you – leading yourself so that you can leads others effectively

Room Location & Time: 9:45 – 11:15 AM | Grand F

Target Audience: SNF, AL, ID/DD | Leaders, Management, Owners, Administrators, Executive Directors, DONs, Ops Staff, VPs of Success, Emerging Leaders, AITs, Students/Interns

Speaker Bios

U.S. Army Veteran – Chris Ross –  has 20 years experience in the healthcare industry. With over 15 years in the post-acute space, he has specific experience with large scale national and regional skilled nursing providers with focus on business planning, execution, operational excellence, turnarounds, as well as clinical program development. His leadership tactics focus primarily on quality and collaboration, bringing together internal and external partners across the operation, clinical, finance, and sales disciplines. His approach has led to strategic acute and post-acute partnerships that have created positive and lasting impacts on the industry. Chris founded Legacy Healthcare Consulting with the simple yet powerful goal of Improving Quality through Collaboration. The concept is well understood, however it is rarely successfully implemented. Legacy was built to change this and give providers the additional support they need during the most challenging time in our setting’s history.


Nicole Kaufman, of Legacy Healthcare Consulting, has more than 15 years of leadership experience in various areas of the senior housing space. Having started her career by navigating specific roles in operations and business development, Nicole then channeled her success by organizing portfolio efforts at the enterprise level. This experience has tailored her ability to keenly identify and create growth strategies, build competitive team profiles, and optimize performance in operational, clinical, and business development disciplines. Focused on innovation and customer satisfaction at the resident, employee, and referral source levels, she is an experienced executive with a talent for analyzing competitive landscapes, conducting research, and aligning product offerings with customer requirements. These items then translate to performance improvement at the center level and within an organization to create improved NOI, increased census, and long-term staff retention. Nicole has had the privilege of speaking at industry conferences such as AHCA on innovation in healthcare. She has previously served in capacities such as Vice President of Operations, Vice President of Business Development, Vice President of Program Development, and Chief Development Officer for various organizations. Nicole has a Bachelors of Science in Education focused in Communication Sciences and Disorders from The University of Georgia.

Navigating the Behavioral Complexities of an Ever-Changing Long Term Care Population

The future of behavioral health treatment in long-term care is being shaped by multiple factors, including demographic changes, changes in policies, and technological advances. The ability to effectively quantify and mitigate patient behavioral health complications is essential as the long-term care population continues to evolve and grow beyond the geriatric population that was traditionally found in skilled nursing facilities and assisted living settings. This presentation will provide long-term care providers with an overview of how to effectively care for progressively younger residents, who are experiencing chronic mental illness and who present with more complex behaviors than we’ve experienced in years past. We will present key components to consider at the time of admission, potential causes of behavior, the importance of assessment to determine an appropriate plan of action, safety awareness, and interventions. The content of this program can be implemented with success in many residential settings including Assisted Living Communities, Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing Facilities.

1)Participants will be able to summarize the potential causes and contributing factors of behavioral disturbances.
2) Participants will be able to describe practices that identify the core and essence of who a person is at the time they are admitted to a care setting.
3) Participants will be able to articulate the importance of evidence-based practices when seeking psychopharmacological intervention.
4) Participants will be able to identify and utilize key nonpharmacological interventions when addressing and managing behavioral health disorders and psychosocial disturbances.

Room Location & Time: 9:45 – 11:15 AM | Grand G

Target Audience: SNF,  AL, ID/DD | Owners, Operators, NHAs, Executive Directors, DONs, Clinical Staff, Facility Management Staff, Support Staff

Speaker Bios

Michael Goldsmith, LMSW, CCTP-II
Michael Goldsmith is a clinical social worker by trade and is currently the Director of Behavioral Health Services-Great Lakes Region with Behavioral Care Solutions and the Clinical Director for the Michigan Veterans Home Mental Health Program. Michael is also recognized as a Certified Complex Trauma Professional by the International Association of Trauma Professionals. Michael has always had a passion for helping others and began his human services career over 20 years ago when he served as a Public Safety Officer for a small community in Michigan. Michael later obtained his Master’s Degree in Social Work from Grand Valley State University and has since worked in various leadership roles in the mental health field. Michael has been a guest lecturer and educator for the Health Care Association of Michigan, NADONA, Leading Age, WHCA/WiCAL, the Ohio Health Care Association, Care Providers of Minnesota, the Lake Superior Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization, and various universities throughout Michigan.

Cary J. Kohlenberg, MD, DLFAPA
Dr. Kohlenberg, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, completed his internship and psychiatric residency training through UW affiliated programs in Milwaukee. He is dual Board Certified in General and Geriatric psychiatry and is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He serves as Assistant Clinical Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin in both the Departments of Family Medicine and Psychiatry. He is the Medical Director of Independent Psychiatric Consultants. He is frequently asked to lecture on Alzheimer’s disease and other topics, and in 2011 was named the “Practitioner of the Year” by the Alzheimer’s Association of Southeastern WI. Dr. Kohlenberg has been the Principal Investigator in over 100 clinical trials of promising medications, many for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Amanda (Reisner) Zheng, PA-C, MPAS
Amanda graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison with degrees in Biology and Global Health. She then pursued a Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. Amanda did part of her training in psychiatry rotations with the Inpatient Medical Director of Psychiatry at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center. Currently Amanda works in a dual role with Behavioral Care Solutions, as a PA in the Madison and surrounding areas, and as the Associate Regional Director for Psychiatric Services – Wisconsin.

AI Unmasked: Navigating the Future of Healthcare Safely

This presentation will explore the role of AI in healthcare, including the fundamentals, importance, and tips for safe and effective usage.

Understand the Fundamentals of AI in Healthcare – participants will be able to describe the basic concepts of artificial intelligence, its historical relevance to medicine, and its current applications in healthcare settings. Recognize the Importance of AI Safety and Data Quality – understand the crucial role of data quality in AI outcomes and will recognize the significance of using high-quality, unbiased data to train AI models, ensuring reliable and safe results. Identify Potential Biases and Ethical Considerations in AI Implementation – gain insights into the potential biases AI can perpetuate based on its training data. They will also be introduced to the ethical considerations when utilizing AI tools, ensuring equitable and transparent patient care. Apply Practical Tips for Safe and Effective AI Usage in Clinical Settings – By the end of the presentation, participants will be equipped with actionable steps and best practices to safely implement and use AI tools in their daily healthcare routines, emphasizing collaboration, continuous learning, and reporting anomalies.

Room Location & Time: 9:45 – 11:15 AM | Grand H

Target Audience: SNF, AL, ID/DD | Owners, Operators, NHAs, Executive Directors, DONs, Clinical Staff, Facility Management Staff, HR staff, Ops & Regional Staff, Support Staff

Speaker Bio

Chris Blomquist, RN Consultant for Advanced Health Institute received his Applied associate degree from North Hennepin Community College and his Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Walden University.  Chris has a passion for long term care where he has spent his entire nursing career. He worked his way up from staff nurse to Director of Nursing which has given him a broad range of experience in this setting.  According to Chris, being a nurse is about seeing the big picture; integrating patient centered care with evidence-based practice is vital in a field that is constantly changing. For Chris, joining the AHI team was about being able to collaborate with leaders in the industry to improve the quality of life for those under our care.

But Do You Really Know the Five-Star System?

In the intricate landscape of post-acute care, understanding the nuances of the CMS 5-Star Rating System is paramount. Join us for a 90 minute session designed to unravel the complexities of this pivotal rating system and equip you and your team with the insights and strategies needed to navigate it effectively. This interactive session will provide a comprehensive overview of the various components that comprise the CMS 5-Star Rating System. From staffing and quality measures to health inspections and overall ratings, attendees will gain a deep understanding of how each factor contributes to the overall rating of their facility.

Through practical approaches and real-world case studies, participants will explore the significance of paying attention to the data used to determine ratings within the system. By delving into concrete examples and analyzing key metrics, attendees will uncover the direct correlation between data accuracy, operational performance, and rating outcomes. This session will challenge attendees to look differently at the 5-Star Rating System, fostering a mindset shift that emphasizes the importance of data integrity and proactive performance management. Through engaging discussions and collaborative exercises, participants will discover strategies for leveraging the 5-Star Rating System as a tool for continuous improvement and strategic decision-making.

Join us as we demystify the CMS 5-Star Rating System, empower you and your team with actionable insights, and embark on a journey towards excellence in care delivery.

• Gain a comprehensive understanding of the components of the CMS 5-Star Rating System.
• Explore practical approaches and case studies to illustrate the importance of data accuracy.
• Learn how to leverage the 5-Star Rating System as a catalyst for continuous improvement.
• Foster a mindset shift towards proactive performance management and strategic decision-making.

Room Location & Time: 1:45 – 3:15 PM | Grand F

Target Audience: SNF Owners, Management, NHAs, DONs, Leaders, Operational Staff, Regional Staff, Clinical Staff

Speaker Bios

Tina Belongia is the Chief Clinical Officer at North Shore Healthcare, LLC and has 20+ years of licensed nursing experience in the post acute care market, including skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. Tina is an expert in survey preparation and management, risk analysis, medical record review/analysis, infection control, and program development/implementation. Tina has been featured in Skilled Nursing News, serves on the board of the Wisconsin Director of Nursing Council, sit on the WHCA/WICAL Board of Directors, and has years of experience as a nursing consultant. She started her career in long-term care as a volunteer at a local nursing home when she was in the 6th grade. Nursing was and still is Tina’s calling and she is passionate about helping others understand the importance of the nursing profession. It’s about what is right – not who is right!


Stacy Gerber Ward is a Shareholder, leader of the Government Enforcement and Internal Investigations Section, and Co-Chair of the Health Law Section. As leader of the Government Enforcement and Corporate Investigations Section, Stacy represents clients facing government enforcement matters, conducts internal investigations to respond to government investigations, and litigates government related issues. In the health care area, Stacy assists clients with an array of health care transactional and operational issues. She is certified in health care compliance by the Compliance Certification Board and helps clients evaluate and respond to compliance related matters, design and implement compliance programs, conduct compliance reviews, and advise on disclosure obligations. Her expertise includes Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Law compliance, Medicare and Medicaid billing, and Controlled Substances and False Claims Acts.

Stacy has more than 14 years of experience serving as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and served as the Deputy Chief of the Civil Division. In those roles, Stacy investigated and prosecuted individuals and corporations for civil health care fraud and other enforcement matters. Stacy was awarded the Department of Justice’s highest honor for superior performance as an Assistant United States Attorney in 2010 and received a Certificate of Commendation for outstanding performance in enforcing civil rights laws in 2009. Stacy is Co-Chair of von Briesen’s Pro Bono Committee.

Cross-Continuum Collaboration – A Key Driver for Success in Value-Based Care

The current administration set a goal for all 63 million+ Medicare beneficiaries to be part of a value-based care model by 2030. Now is the time for leaders to bolster cross-continuum collaboration and partnerships as a means of driving down costs, boosting census and increasing overall resident experience. In this educational opportunity, participants will leave with actionable strategies to enhance upstream referral relationships, assure downstream collaboration, and deliver on transitions across the continuum that are most successful for your residents.

SNF leaders will understand what acute referral partners are looking for in a strong partner under value-based care (VBC). Learn how to enhance the collaboration with the downstream care providers to mitigate risks of readmission which significantly amplify costs and are detrimental to the resident’s wellbeing. See how you can leverage therapy and nursing for safe and successful transitions across the continuum to elevate resident experience and safety while driving down costs.

1. Participants will understand the SNFs role in value-based care partnerships

2. Participants will be able to apply strategies to attract acute referral network partners and increase census while decreasing costs

3. Participants will enhance their skill set for fostering downstream collaboration through strategic processes

4. Participants will understand how to leverage therapy and nursing to assure that each resident experiences safe and successful transitions across the continuum

Room Location & Time: 1:45 – 3:15 PM | Grand G

Target Audience: SNF Owners/Operators, NHAs, DONs, Therapy staff, Clinical Staff

Speaker Bio

Caryn Enderle is a speech-language pathologist by background with over 25 years of experience in the industry. As the Director of Business Development for Concept Rehab, Caryn incorporates her deep understanding of market dynamics as well as industry partnerships to empower SNF leaders to successfully navigate post-acute care. Keeping a pulse on regulatory and legislative issues through alliances with Advion, AHCA, LeadingAge and state healthcare associations allows her to develop and share strategic solutions for success across the continuum of care. Caryn often speaks at the local, state and national level to share actionable insights on the most pressing issues that providers face in post-acute care.

An Interactive Discussion on the Causes and Consequences of Implicit Bias

Implicit bias is a concept from the field of social-cognitive psychology that has become widely discussed in popular culture. Understanding what it is, where it comes from, and how it influences our social judgments is a critical part of explaining social issues surrounding prejudice and discrimination related to gender, race, ethnicity, and other social categorizations. This session will help attendees understand what implicit cognition is, see the helpful side of this brain function, and explore how it leads to unfair biases within our society with particular focus on examples and applications in healthcare contexts.

Learning Objectives:
Following this educational presentation participants will be able to
– explain the difference between implicit and explicit cognition.
– give examples of how implicit cognition helps humans function efficiently every day.
– give examples of how implicit cognition can result in discriminatory behavior through implicit bias.
– explain the connection between cultural stereotypes and implicit bias.
– self-report an increased awareness of their own biases.
– identify strategies for reducing the impact of implicit bias.

Room Location & Time: 1:45 – 3:15 PM | Grand H

Target Audience: SNF, AL, ID/DD | Owners/Operators, Leaders, NHAs, Executive Directors, Management Staff, DONs, Clinical Staff, HR staff, Ops, AITs, and all levels of facility staff

Speaker Bio

Dr. Jon Craig Barch received his master’s degree in experimental psychology from Northern Michigan University and his PhD in Psychological & Quantitative Foundations from the University of Iowa. Dr. Barch is currently the social and personality psychology content expert at Northern Michigan University. He teaches advanced courses in Social Cognition; Psychology of Race, Gender, & Culture; Psychology of Personality; Motivation Theory; and Environmental Psychology. Dr. Barch has an active experimental psychology laboratory with two programs of research. The first is focused on reducing implicit racial & gender bias and the second aims to increase psychological wellness by facilitating experiences of autonomy, competence, optimism, relatedness, and nature exposure. This past year Dr. Barch’s research was presented at annual conferences including the Association for Psychological Science and the Society for Neuroscience. This fall he and his colleagues were awarded nearly half a million dollars from the National Science Foundation to further their neuroscience research programs at NMU.

Policy in Action: A Comprehensive Review of Legislative & Policy Developments in Long-Term Care

With the Wisconsin Legislature’s 2023-25 floor session in the rear view, WHCA/WiCAL’s government relations team looks back on a floor session which included important policy developments that impact long-term care. WHCA/WiCAL’s advocacy goals include creating a financial and regulatory environment that allows providers to focus on what is most important: caring for your patients and residents, and creating new opportunities for providers to recruit and retain workers in a very competitive job market. Panelists will discuss advocacy with legislators and the Governor, along with efforts to shape policy with decisionmakers at DHS and DSPS. Discussion will include how federal policy, including the impending nursing home minimum staffing proposal and increased federal scrutiny on assisted living, may impact providers in Wisconsin. The panel will also look ahead to the 2024 election, and how races up and down the ticket will shape federal and state policy into the future.

At the conclusion of this session, participants should be able to:

• Identify key fiscal and regulatory policy developments impacting LTC from the 2023-25 legislative session;
• Understand future policy opportunities and challenges facing the long-term care sector at the state and federal level;
• Recognize prevailing forces on the 2024 Wisconsin electoral environment;
• Assess how various election outcome scenarios could impact the LTC sector in Wisconsin and on a nationwide scale.

Room Location & Time: 3:30 – 4:30 PM | Grand F

Target Audience: SNF, AL, ID/DD | Owners/Operators, Leaders, NHAs, Executive Directors, Management Staff, HR, Ops, CFOs, Facility Management

Speaker Bios

Jim Stoa

Jim Stoa is WHCA/WiCAL’s Vice President of Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs. Jim holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from UW-Madison and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Jim has five years of experience in policy and press relations in the Wisconsin State Legislature, serving as Chief of Staff in the State Senate and most recently as Policy and Communications Advisor for two State Representatives. Jim is a registered lobbyist for WHCA/WiCAL. As Vice President of Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs, Jim works on legislative advocacy, federal/state regulatory review and assistance, survey compliance matters, and legal issues.


Ramie Zelenkova, Partner at Hubbard, Wilson, Zelenkova, LLC, has over a decade of experience in lobbying, grassroots advocacy and legislative research and has worked to maintain strong relationships with legislative members on both sides of the aisle. Ramie represents clients in areas such as health care, long-term care, education, and child welfare with particular experience with the Wisconsin Medicaid Program. Ramie remains active in her community by volunteering her time to local charities and served as past-chair of Kennedy Heights Community Center Board, a center dedicated to creating a support network for low to moderate income families. Ramie is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is WHCA/WiCAL’s contract lobbyist.


Kate VanCamp

Kate Dickson WHCA/WiCAL Vice President of Reimbursement Policy. Kate is a graduate of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University with a Master of Public Administration as well as a graduate certificate in Public Health. Kate has a strong background in quantitative analysis and statistical research. She has held internships with the American Cancer Society, Childspring International and the Lupus Foundation of America. Hired in 2014, Kate provides WHCA/WiCAL members with data, policy and financial analysis.


WisCaregiver Careers: New Tools and Strategies for CNA Recruitment, Training, and Retention

At this session Kate and her team will provide the latest information about how to use WisCaregiver careers to recruit, train, and retain your CNA workforce. They will provide best practice recommendations on training set ups and the program’s mentorship model. we will also cover new program updates and recruitment tools.


Describe Employer-led training and how to use it to recruit and retain CNAs.
Describe the WisCaregiver careers mentorship model and how to implement it as an onboarding program to retain new CNAs and their mentors.
Provide program updates and new recruitment tools.

Room Location & Time: 3:30 – 4:30 PM | Grand G

Target Audience: SNF Owners/Operators, Leaders, NHAs, HR, Recruitment Officers, DONs/Clinical Leaders

Speaker Bio

Kate BattiatoKate Battiato is the Vice President of Workforce Development of WHCA/WiCAL. She brings a unique mix of public policy and HR experience, including roles in Career Development Facilitation, recruitment, and state and local politics. Kate enjoys working at the intersection of policy, recruitment, and career development facilitation as the statewide administrator for WisCaregiver Careers, a workforce development program designed to address the CNA shortage in Wisconsin nursing homes.

Leverage Live Data to Maintain a Culture of Care, Communication, and Compliance

Operating in a highly regulated environment, Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) operators feel the weight of meeting compliance standards and requirements set forth by CMS daily. But what exactly does it mean to “be compliant?” It’s much broader than just following standards laid out by regulators – it’s also adherence to an organization’s internal protocols, clinical standards, and expected outcomes for various stakeholders. Compliancy touches all the steps that best guide care decisions and when combined with a Culture of Care and excellent Communication, SNFs can achieve greater clinical, operational, and financial success.

In these challenging times, as CMS sends out state and federal surveyors to ensure SNFs are providing safe, quality care, they are making sure care strategies are not just implemented and forgotten, but that they are continually monitored and evaluated for success. This session explores how live data analytics can be leveraged by SNF teams to reduce administrative and regulatory burden by providing a means to monitor resident clinical status, risk stratify patients, and simplify communications facility-wide. We will discuss how data that already exists in facility EHRs can be used to help meet state and federal requirements, prepare for regulatory reporting and onsite surveys, conduct infection surveillance, and mitigate risk. The key areas of compliance will be highlighted as will the valuable role live data plays in the Process Improvement Plan (PIP), which must have measurable goals and timelines for ensuring the implementation and maintenance of systemic approaches in an ongoing basis.

•Identify residents experiencing high risk changes that may result in rehospitalization and develop clinical standards collaboration, communication, and compliance for timely intervention

•Understand how to leverage post-acute data analytics to streamline process improvement outcomes and survey compliance, as well as manage resident care in alignment with resident needs, coordinated clinical standards, and value-based care initiatives

•Review key metrics to monitor for a successful, comprehensive Quality Assurance Program that supports and maintains regulatory compliance

Room Location & Time: 3:30 – 4:30 PM | Grand H

Target Audience: SNF Owners/Operators, Leaders, NHAs, COOs, DONs/Clinical Leaders, Clinical Staff

Speaker Bio:

With over 30 years of experience as a registered nurse in post-acute care, Angela Huffman brings extensive knowledge and skill on regulatory compliance, risk management, policy development, quality assurance, and survey preparedness to Real Time. As a Clinical Program Specialist, Angela provides educational training and support on the utilization of Real Time, collaborating with the QIN/QIO to support facilities enrolled in the program to meet quality goals and outcomes on initiatives related to safe medication management, infection control, reducing rehospitalization, and impacting quality measures.

Beginning her career in long-term care, as a Quality Assurance State Surveyor for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Angela then served as both an Assistant Director and Director of Nursing for two skilled nursing facilities. After a brief time in primary care, Angela returned to long-term care as a Clinical Services Consultant and Compliance Field Investigator for a large for-profit chain, serving 68 facilities spanning eight states. Angela has also worked as a specialized paralegal, conducting comprehensive medical record reviews and analysis for defense counsel. Prior to joining Real Time, Angela worked for Affinity Health Services as the Vice President of Clinical Services.

Angela is a graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania with an Associate Science degree in Nursing, and is certified in healthcare compliance and wound care from the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy, trained in infection prevention in the long-term care setting, and holds certification in elder law and chronic care from the Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Angela is also an accomplished author and speaker, often sharing her experience and expertise to positively impact resident care and quality outcomes.

Friday, April 12: Closing Keynote

What’s Next? The Power of Purpose to Advance Senior Healthcare Leadership

Today’s operational and clinical leaders navigate “white flag” moments daily. Responsibilities include quality outcomes, operational excellence, and staff development within a highly regulated industry, which may influence burnout as a healthcare professional. Long term care leaders must ask themselves “what’s next”? What’s next for the senior healthcare industry, their specific organization, and the communities in which they influence?

This keynote presentation delivered by Empowerment Speaker and fellow Healthcare Facility Administrator, Jerald Cosey, is designed to rehydrate participants as they discover the following objectives:

• A motivational message designed to honor and empower healthcare professionals from a Health Facility Administrator’s perspective.

• Engaging keynote designed to rehydrate your memberships calling to serve humankind as a senior healthcare professional.

• Focus leader’s attention towards post pandemic recovery and goal development.

• Uncover strategies designed to capture developmental goals to propel post pandemic outcomes and operational/clinical excellence.

• Each attendee will have the opportunity to revisit their individualized calling to health care and leave the conference with a visual keepsake as a reminder of that calling.

This message aligns across the entire healthcare spectrum, including Skilled Nursing, Assisted Living, ID/DD, Home Health and Hospice – all staff and attendees are strongly encouraged to attend the closing keynote. 

The closing keynote will be hosted in Grand AB – on the upper level of the KI Convention Center (just off the stairs/elevator); breakfast, including a bloody mary & mimosa bar will be hosted. Breakfast service starts at 8 AM and the closing ceremony commences at 9 AM. One $500 cash prize will be awarded before 9:30 AM and you must be present to win!

Click to learn more about our closing keynote, Jerald Cosey