Christopher Acevedo

Christopher P.  Acevedo has over 20 years of health care experience and is a Principal of Hospice Fundamentals & the Chief Operating Officer for Acevedo Consulting. He has a particular expertise in building palliative care programs, chart audits, compliance & education relative to Hospice & Palliative Care documentation and coding. Chris has assisted clients nationwide with these and many other organizational needs and his experience in operational management brings our clients invaluable expertise in the operational aspects of organizations’ billing processes and identifying areas for potential improvement. Through the firm, Chris has also served as the Independent Review Organization (IRO) representative for hospices in accordance with their Corporate Integrity Agreements (CIA) with the OIG. 

 Acevedo Consulting staff serve as a consultants to the NHPCO when physician compliance, billing and coding issues arise. As such Chris has also conducted several educational webinars for the industry, including for state hospice and palliative care organizations.

Christopher is the HealthCare Compliance Officer for Barry University, has served as an instructor at Florida Atlantic University teaching the regulatory compliance modules of FAU’s Certificate in Medical Business Management program, and is a member of multiple CMS MAC Provider Outreach and Education Advisory Groups.  Additionally, he is the author of the Hospice Physician Service Billing Guide commissioned by the NHPCO.

 He possesses the unique perspective of avoiding risk and liability while optimizing reimbursement in the highly regulated health care industry.

Joni Brinker, MSN/MHA, RN, WCC

Joni Brinker, MSN/MHA, RN, WCC, is a Clinical Nurse Educator for Optum Hospice Pharmacy Services where she serves as a resource for pharmacists and nurses. She has been a Registered Nurse for 15 years with experience in acute care, long term care, and hospice. A profound love of wound care motivated her to become Wound Care Certified through the Wound Care Education Institute. She has presented at local and national conferences on a variety of hospice regulatory and clinical care topics and co-authored the second edition of Wound Care at End of Life.

Cindy Campbell, RN, MHA

Cindy Campbell is a nationally recognized thought-leader and management consultant to the continuum of healthcare at home. Cindy holds a Master of Health Administration with specialty in Healthcare Informatics, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She brings deep experience leading multi-service line healthcare at home and almost 20 years with Fazzi Associates, now proud to be a fully integrated member of the WellSky family of companies. Cindy and her team help agencies leverage strategic thought and operational efficiency into organizational, work-process and clinical model design for Home Health, Hospice, Palliative Care and Private Duty organizations throughout the United States. Cindy has served as a Board Member of the National Association for Homecare & Hospice, Chair of the Pediatric Homecare & Hospice Association of America, and member of the Executive Committee of the American Telemedicine Association’s Homecare and Remote Monitoring Special Interest Group. A passionate advocate for innovation on behalf of patients and industry, Cindy is committed to driving methodology to best serve the needs of advancing healthcare at home.  

Charles Canaan

Charles Canaan has over 30 years of diverse nursing experience in a variety of healthcare settings, to include inpatient, outpatient, home and organizational settings.  His education includes a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, a Master of Public Health Degree in Health Promotion and Education and a Graduate Studies Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Studies from the University of South Carolina, and a Coding for Health Care Professionals Certificate from Trident Technical College. He reviews medical utilization data and trends.  He currently provides education and consultation to Medicare Part A and Part B providers with learning needs.

G. Patricia Cantrell, MD, FCCM

G. Patricia Cantwell, MD, FCCM is Professor and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine – Holtz Children’s Hospital. She spearheaded the formation of the UM-Holtz Children’s Hospital Pediatric Palliative Care Team in 2008. Dr. Cantwell provides medical oversight of the Holtz Children’s Hospital PediPals Team, an interdisciplinary palliative care initiative.

She received her medical degree at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine/Wake Forest University and completed her pediatric residency at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital. She pursued her Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship at the Jackson Memorial Hospital and remained on the attending staff since 1990. Dr. Cantwell has received multiple awards for teaching.   

Dr. Cantwell has been a Medical Manager for the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue South Florida Task Force 2 since 1994. She has deployed with the team numerous times including to the 2001 World Trade Center, multiple hurricane responses, the 2010 Haiti Earthquake and the 2021 Surfside Building Collapse. 

She achieved Board Certification in Hospice and Palliative Medicine in 2010.  She served as Medical Director of the Partners in Care: Together for Kids Program provided by TiLLiKids from 2009-2015. Her activities within our State continue as Chair of the Steering Committee for the Florida Pediatric Palliative Care Consortium.  

Carrie Cooley

Carrie Cooley is the Principal of Weatherbee Resources. Carrie joined Weatherbee in 2009 as an Associate Consultant and was hired as the Consulting Coordinator in 2012. In 2014, Carrie was promoted to Director of the Consulting Division and in July 2015, she assumed the Chief Operating Officer position. Carrie was promoted to CEO in February 2018.

On July 1, 2018, Carrie and her former business partner purchased Weatherbee Resources from the company’s founders, Heather Wilson and Joy Barry. In August 2021, Carrie became the sole owner of Weatherbee and plans to continue the long-standing history of Weatherbee Resources’ service to the hospice industry.

In her role as Principal, Carrie ensures Weatherbee’s consulting services, products, and education are provided in a professional and cost-effective manner and are specifically tailored to meet each client’s individual needs. As Weatherbee’s owner, Carrie is responsible for ensuring Weatherbee is positioned to assist hospices with the ever-changing regulatory hospice environment. Carrie’s excellent rapport with executives and staff alike – coupled with her regulatory and clinical acumen, and knowledge of best practices – assures excellent consulting outcomes.

Carrie’s regulatory expertise and extensive consulting experience includes forensic clinical record auditing, baseline compliance audits/mock surveys, customized client education, interim management, clinical due diligence, and executive coaching. Carrie and her team frequently work directly with clients’ legal counsel to address a wide range of hospice matters including the defense of clients under payment-related scrutiny by various entities; Carrie frequently serves as an expert witness. Weatherbee also works extensively with clients who are under a Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) with the Office of Inspector General (OIG); Carrie and her team execute the Independent Review Organization (IRO) audit activities required by the OIG.

Under Carrie’s leadership, Weatherbee has assisted hundreds of clients under investigation by various Medicare contractors including Targeted Probe and Educate (TPE), Unified Program Integrity Contractors (UPIC), Supplemental Medical Review Contractors (SMRC), Benefit Integrity Support Centers (BISC), Recovery Auditors (RA), the Department of Justice (DOJ), Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSA), and the OIG.

Carrie is a registered nurse and holds a master’s degree from Samford University with a specialty in nursing leadership and healthcare finance.

Carmen Dixon

Carmen Dixon is the Nurse Consultant/Training and Education Liaison for the Office of Medical Marijuana Use. She is tasked with providing education and information about the Florida Medical Marijuana Program and conducting outreach efforts to inform doctors, nurses, patients, law enforcement and caregivers about the medical marijuana program.

Carmen has worked with the Department of Health since 2017. Prior to that, she was an ICU/Trauma Nurse for more than 15 years. Carmen enjoys cheering for the 2x Superbowl Champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, watching college football, spending time with her family and her puppies and she loves all things Disney and Golden Girls.

Joanne Eason

Joanne Eason is the President of Five Wishes with more than 25 years of marketing experience – centered primarily in the health and insurance industries – Joanne provides strategic counsel on how best to implement the Five Wishes framework. She has led national crisis communication programs, rebranding programs for several health organizations, and counseled executives on effective communications. Joanne holds a Master of Arts in Public Relations from Michigan State University and is Accredited in Public Relations.

Tyler Enslin

As a professional speaker since 2012, Tyler has had the privilege to present at over 1000 live events. He is passionate about helping his audiences by sharing information in a way that is engaging, lively, and most of all, practical. This has enabled him to work with Fortune 500 companies, large organizations, and a wide variety of associations. Tyler has also served as a talent management consultant for Johns Hopkins University since 2015. Additionally, he works with a wide variety of healthcare related associations, including American Health Care Association, American Hospital Association, National Association of Home Care and Hospice, Healthcare Financial Management Association, American Organization of Nurse Leaders, and National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration.

Alexander Fernandez

 Alex has more than two decades of financial, administrative and leadership experience in the healthcare industry. He is currently the executive vice president and chief financial officer of Vitas Healthcare. As CFO for the nation’s leading provider of end-of-life care, Fernandez oversees the company’s finance, accounting and investor relations functions. As EVP, he helps drive the executive team’s growth, optimizing financial performance and ensuring financial compliance. In addition to leading the full complement of financial operations departments as CFO, he serves as a strategic partner to the entire organization. He supports the company’s ongoing growth by improving upon the existing financial infrastructure, deepening operational finance and its ability to deliver insights, and scaling the finance function to support the company’s decentralized operations. 

Prior to Vitas, Alex served nine years in executive finance roles with Broward Health, most recently as senior vice president and CFO, and also as CFO for Broward Health Medical Center and Salah Foundation Children’s Hospital. His prior finance leadership includes chief roles with Tenet Healthcare at Good Samaritan Medical Center and North Shore Medical Center. 

Rebecca Gatian, DHA

Rebecca Gatian joined Avow in 2012. In her role as Chief Operating Officer, she is responsible for the direction and oversight of Avow Care Services palliative care services, hospice clinical teams, business development, Center for Grief Support, and Avow Kids. Working in conjunction with leaders, Gatian provides vision and leadership to create and maintain a best-practice environment and superior and compliant patient care delivery system.

Gatian has worked in the healthcare sector for more than 25 years. Her experience includes nursing home administration, acute care nursing and extended care director roles, pediatric homecare experience and cardiac unit nursing. Gatian’s hospice experience began at Hospice Care Corporation and included serving as compliance officer and director of nursing. Gatian is a Florida licensed assisted living facility administrator and registered nurse, an Alzheimer’s certified trainer, a certified hospice and palliative care nurse, and a certified hospice and palliative care administrator.

Gatian earned a bachelor of science degree in health sciences from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, a master of business administration degree from Frostburg State University, a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Mountain State University, and a doctor of healthcare administration from Franklin University. She currently serves as a doctoral faculty advisor and dissertation committee member at Franklin University. Gatian is a member of the national chapter of the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.  She serves as a member of the Collier County Health Facilities Authority and is a Leadership Collier 2023 graduate. Gatian lives in Naples with her husband Brad and enjoys traveling.

Dan George

Dan George has been with the Medicare program since 2004. In 2008, he became part of Palmetto GBA’s Congressional Unit. This unit handled complex inquiries for Part A, Part B and Home Health and Hospice. His experience is extensive in, but not limited to, coverage polices, compliance, billing, enrollment, and systems. In 2007 and 2008, he was a manager for Palmetto GBA’s Beneficiary Call Center. Prior to working with Medicare, Dan worked in skilled nursing facilities for 12 years. He directed Dietary Departments, which included participation in nutritional assessments, care planning, wound rounds, and patient documentation.  Since late 2012, he has been a part of Palmetto GBA’s Provider Outreach & Education Department, focusing on Home Health & Hospice.

Deborah Grassman

Deborah Grassman Few people have been with 10,000 dying veterans; five VA hospice nurses have. What these nurses witnessed is providing lessons for the rest of the world. The lessons are about how to attain personal peace, and ironically, these lessons have come from people who were trained for war and from people who were dying. The nurses discovered a phenomenon that has become identified as “Soul Injury®.” Led by Deborah Grassman, the five nurses left the VA to start Opus Peace, a non-profit organization with a mission of taking the Soul Injury® message to people who are not veterans and to people who are not dying. These pioneering nurses now provide educational materials and self-help tools to help people learn how to self-compassionately connect with the part of self holding their pain and shame, allowing people to re-connect with their soul – with who they really are. A Nurse Practitioner, Deborah Grassman is the author of two books, Peace at Last and The Hero Within. She is a contributing author for four textbooks, has 25 published articles, and there are five documentary films featuring her work. Deborah directs the Opus Peace Institute where leaders are trained in how to provide programs that respond to Soul Injuries because, she contends, that 10,000 dying veterans have lessons the rest of us need to learn! 

Dawn Kolderman, BSN, CHPN

Dawn Kolderman, currently in her 27th year of nursing, has spent her professional career caring for her community, from infants struggling with pediatric chronic illnesses to seniors transitioning to hospice care. After earning her Licensed Practical Nurse credentials in New York, Dawn earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Rasmussen University in Florida. She also completed Pediatric End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) training at Benioff Children’s Hospital. She recently achieved a Clinical Pediatric Palliative Care certificate from the CSU Shiley Haynes Institute for Palliative Care. Dawn has spent the last 16 years at Avow, working in multiple clinical capacities, eventually heading the inpatient unit at Frances Georgeson Hospice House. She is now the director of several Avow programs, including the palliative care clinic, pediatric hospice, Avow Kids pediatric palliative care, and adult bereavement.  

In 2021, Dawn led the Avow Kids team to record care numbers for the unique grief and loss children feel from death losses or any significant changes in a child’s life, including divorce, deportation, deployment, incarceration, or instability in the foster care system.  Under her supervision, the Avow Kids care team incorporates art, music, and animal therapies to help children handle big emotions and have coping skills for a lifetime. 

Last year in the PIC program, Dawn oversaw nearly 500 care sessions staff provided for children with congenital and/or chronic disease conditions with complex medical, psychological, spiritual, and motor skills needs.  Dawn’s expertise in hospice care and grief and loss support for adults and children is exceptional as she continues to elevate Avow programs to serve more of the community’s population. In her spare time, Dawn enjoys time with her husband and six daughters.

Melynda Lee

Melynda Lee, MBA, MA, has been a SimiTree leader for 7 years and is a nationally recognized expert in home and community-based services (HCBS) leadership development, strategic growth, and learning strategy, as well as communications and public relations. Melynda previously served as a hospice administrator and HCBS development executive in Florida and Georgia for 8 years and is a former board member and education committee member for the Georgia Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. She is a co-founder of the Greater Atlanta Hospice-Veteran Partnership. Melynda is an expert trainer of HCBS professionals, and frequently serves as faculty at state and national association conferences, including NAHC and NHPCO.
Before making a career change to healthcare, Melynda served in leadership for 10 years with The New York Times Company. A 2017 recipient of the Digital Marketing Certification from Cornell University, Melynda excels in the assessment of program development to improve competitive strategies for growth, learning, and innovation. In 2019, Melynda received a certificate in Instructional Design from ATD.
Melynda earned a BFA in advertising design from the University of North Florida, and an MBA from Webster University, where she also earned an MA in HR Development in 2022. She completed the Management Development Program at Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, the Executive Development Program of the American College of Healthcare Executives, and the Executive Development Program at the American Press Institute.

Lauren Loftis

Lauren Loftis currently serves as a Regional Medical Director for VITAS Healthcare, for both Florida and the Southeast United States.  She also leads a small private practice focused on children and families with complex medical needs located in Cocoa Beach, Florida. With experience as a board-certified hospice and palliative medicine physician since 2012, Lauren was inducted as a fellow of the Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine in 2023.  Her practice has always incorporated care for children and adolescents with complex medical needs and end-of-life care for pediatric patients.  Lauren graduated from UT Southwestern College of Medicine in Dallas, Texas, and enjoys the beach life with her husband and two teenage kids in Cocoa Beach, Florida.  

Amanda Lovell

Amanda Lovell is Clinical Specialist in Medication Safety at Optum Hospice Pharmacy Services. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy from Ohio Northern University. She then completed a PGY1 pharmacy practice residency at Florida Hospital Celebration Health and a PGY2 Pain Management and Palliative Care pharmacy residency through Ohio State University and Optum Hospice Pharmacist Services. Dr. Lovell joined Optum Hospice Pharmacy Services in 2015. In her role as a clinical pharmacist with Optum, she has served on multiple interdisciplinary hospice teams, provides clinical consults on hospice and palliative care patients, and presents educational programs for internal staff and clients. She is the past chair of the Education Committee of the Society of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacists (SPPCP). Currently, she serves as the medication safety clinical track pharmacist for Optum Hospice Pharmacy Services. Dr. Lovell is a Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist. She is a member of NHPCO and the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists.

Tarrah Lowry

Tarrah Lowry has more than a decade of progressive health care leadership and is currently the chief operating officer at Trustbridge Hospice in south Florida. Formerly president and chief executive officer at Sangre de Cristo Community Care, Tarrah’s hospice experience includes serving in several senior leadership roles, including operations, compliance and business development. She brings considerable energy, vision and expertise in hospice and palliative care on a local, state, and national level. 

Tarrah is currently serving on the board of directors of both the Florida Hospice and Palliative Care Association and National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, the largest nonprofit membership organization representing hospice and palliative care programs and professionals in the United States. She previously served on the National Association of Home Care and Hospice Board of Directors and has served on numerous state and national committees. 

A tireless advocate for home-based care and protecting and expanding benefits for those who need them most, Tarrah believes in providing quality in-home care and helping each person who needs it. Lowry has a passion for expanding access to post-acute care in rural and frontier communities.

Paul Malley

Paul Malley is president of Aging with Dignity and directs its day-to-day activities and oversees its education, research and training programs.  He has served Aging with Dignity since 1998.

Raianne Melton

Raianne Melton RN, BSN, CHPN, is the Senior Clinical Manager of Professional Services for Axxess, the leading technology innovator for healthcare at home. She serves as a hospice and palliative care content expert and assists in the creation of palliative care training and certification courses. 

Raianne comes to Axxess with 20 years of hospice experience with various companies. Her recent roles have included serving as the Interim Hospice Administrator for Safe Havens Hospice, the Clinical Manager for Sentara Hospice House and the Director of Clinical Strategy for Banner Health. As the Director of Clinical Strategy for Banner Health, Raianne was responsible for developing strategic education to support current and future business opportunities and redefining the delivery model for palliative care programing to improve patient outcomes. 

Raianne has previously served as a board member of Arizona’s Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Arizona Nurse Leadership Organization. 

She has been awarded the 2018 Leadership in Action Award for Practice Transformation (Community Setting) Nursing from the Arizona Organization for Nurse Leaders, which recognizes nurse leaders who lead positive change in patient care, public policy, education and research in the state of Arizona. 

Raianne earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Phoenix.

Maria Moen

Maria is a passionate advocate for the use of technology to improve outcomes through enablement of true person-centered care delivery, reduction of clinical and family/caregiver stress during health crises, and an increase in provider efficiency and quality of care across every sector of the healthcare industry. 

She applies more than 30 years of Long-Term Post-Acute Care (LTPAC) leadership, is a Certified Advance Care Plan Facilitator, and is currently leading the standards development efforts to make advance healthcare directive documents interoperable and accessible across care settings through the HL7® PACIO Advance Directive Interoperability w/FHIR Project.

Katherine Morrison

Katherine Morrison is the Director of Hospice Consulting Operations for WellSky, is an RN and holds a Master of Science in Nursing with a major in Nursing Informatics and a focus on Homeland Security. She has served in advancing levels of hospice leadership within large, multi-site health systems both in the Midwest and on the eastern seaboard and has extensive expertise in regulatory, compliance, and operational issues. As the subject matter expert for WellSky, Ms. Morrison monitors the changing economic and regulatory changes that impact all areas of hospice.  She is a passionate advocate for patients and providers of palliative care and hospice.  Ms. Morrison holds a certificate in hospice compliance from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and is a Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse (CHPN) and an End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) trainer. Katherine serves on the National Association for Home Care and Hospice – Hospice Advisory Council and Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Council. She has provided education nationally to large and small organizations with high acclaim. An expert hospice and palliative care practitioner, effective educator and practical operator, Ms. Morrison brings high credibility to her efforts to advance hospice practice and patient/family advocacy across the country. 

Laurie Nelson

From a very young age, Laurie Nelson was drawn to taking care of the sick and wounded and dreamed of becoming a pediatrician. As time went on, her dreams led to a more balanced career choice in nursing.  
Laurie received her BSN from Wichita State University in 2001. Her first job out of nursing school was in a hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU). After two years of helping patients survive in the ICU, she made a dramatic career shift to hospice, where she found her love of supporting and empowering those who were taking their final journey out of this life.  
Today, Laurie is the Clinical Advisor at CareXM, where she’s worked for 12 years, helping providers integrate new technologies into their patient care processes, which improve both the patient and caregiver experience.  

Julie Roskamp

Julie Roskamp has been a Certified Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nurse for 30 years.  She has practiced in acute care, long term care and home health settings performing consultative visits on patients with wounds and ostomies, as well as preparing and presenting education programs for nursing staff.  She was the founder and president of Twin City Wound & Ostomy Associates, Inc., a private practice in Minneapolis offering consultative visits in home health, long term care and acute care until she joined the Wound Company Provider Group, Inc. leading the care delivery team across the US.  She was recently published in STAT highlighting the growing problem of wounds for hospice patients.  She is a current member of the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society and participates on a national level with Wound Ostomy Continence Certification Board for the PGP committee. 

Eric Scharber

Eric Scharber is an Executive Vice President at SimiTree, leading all talent acquisition and employee retention efforts for the Post-Acute and Behavioral healthcare industries. He oversees executive search, management, recruiting and interim leadership services, as well as advisory services related to workforce. After founding the firm in 2005, Eric led to become the top recruiting and executive search entity for the Post-Acute and Behavioral Health industry, serving clients across the U.S. and completing more than 3500 recruiting and interim leadership projects since inception. Eric is a regular speaker nationally on the topics of Employee Retention and Recruitment, Building Culture and Leadership Development.

Anita Smith

Director of Nurse Residency/Simulation and Manager of Clinical Curriculum at Empath Health in Florida. She has been a nurse for 34 years.  She received her associate degree in nursing from Lansing Community College in Michigan and her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Detroit-Mercy, also in Michigan.  She received her master’s degree in nursing education and administration from the University of Phoenix. In addition, to her current role at Empath Health she has been a nursing professor for 19 years, formerly at Lansing Community College in Michigan, and currently at St. Petersburg College in Florida.  Her passion for teaching comes through her excitement and enthusiasm as she mentors nursing students, educators, and colleagues to strive for excellence and best practice.  She has published two articles in the Journal of Trauma Nursing that displayed best practice standards and safety of trauma patients. 

Bernadette Smith

As Vice President of Marketing for IntellaTriage, Bernadette Smith spearheads marketing strategies and orchestrates marketing operations, driving impactful initiatives to support the industry. Bernadette leverages her multifaceted professional background to enhance education and thought leadership in hospice and home health across the country. She is currently chairperson of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice Womin in Leadership subcommittee and Philanthropy Council Vice Chair of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Having commenced her career in counseling, child development, and non-profit development, Bernadette has amassed nearly a decade of experience in the post-acute industry. Prior to her tenure at IntellaTriage, she steered marketing and communications at QIRT (now McBee Associates) and served as the managing director of the LTC100 Intelligence Group at Lincoln Healthcare Leadership.

Beyond her role at IntellaTriage, you can find Bernadette, a mother to four exceptional children, failing miserably to improve her marathon times and exceeding expectations in her goals of traveling with her husband, enjoying live music, and heading out on new adventures.

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