Julia Adams-Scheurich, Owner, Oak City Government Relations, AHHC Contract Lobbyist

GENERAL SESSION: State of the State

Julia Adams-Scheurich is the Owner and Director of Government Relations at Oak City Government Relations, LLC. She was most recently the Director of Government Relations for The Arc of North Carolina for the past 10 years as well as a contract lobbyist for many interests before the NC General Assembly; and she is ranked as one of the most influential lobbyists in North Carolina by the nonpartisan North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research. Julia began her career in policy and advocacy working to promote inclusion in the arts in North Carolina. Her career spans both campaign work as a member of the field staff for Erskine Bowles in 2004 and lobbying on policy issues in the field of education, health care, housing, social justice policy for people with disabilities, ethics reform and voting rights.

Edo Banach, JD, President and CEO, National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization

GENERAL SESSION: Leadership in the Time of COVID-19

Edo Banach, JD, is the president and CEO of National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, the nation’s oldest and largest, non-profit leadership organization working on behalf of hospice and palliative care providers and professionals.
Prior to joining NHPCO, Mr. Banach was a partner in the firm of Gallagher, Evelius & Jones in Baltimore, Maryland. Previously, he served as the Deputy Director of the Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Before his leadership role at CMS, he served as Associate General Counsel at the Visiting Nurse Service of New York.
Mr. Banach holds a B.A. from Binghamton University and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Before attending law school, Banach worked for the New York City Department of Homeless Services and Mayor's Office of Operations. Additional professional experience includes time as General Counsel at the Medicare Rights Center.
He was born in Israel, raised in New York City, and currently resides in Maryland with his wife and two children.


Melanie Bunn, MS, RN, GNP, Dementia Training Specialist, Dementia Alliance of NC


Melanie Bunn is a nurse, teacher, trainer, speaker, coach, consultant, support group facilitator, researcher, mom, daughter and sister. She combines these roles with a love of travel and a fear of boredom to create a way of supporting herself and her family while improving the lives of people with living with dementia, their families, and other care partners. She is associated with Dementia Alliance of North Carolina (formerly known as Alzheimer’s North Carolina), Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care, Bunn Consulting, and Duke University School of Nursing. 

Melanie received her undergraduate degree in nursing from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, her Master’s Degree in Family Health Nursing from Clemson University and a Post-Master’s Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Certificate from Duke University. 

She is a skilled and experienced advanced practice nurse and nurse educator, conducting over 200 presentations and trainings annually to health professionals, community organizations, first responders, families and others. She was part of the award winning Accepting the Challenge DVD with Teepa Snow. Her research participation has focused on improving care of older people, especially those with cognitive impairment, through improving the education of inter-professional teams and families. She has volunteered as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator for over 25 years. 

In 2014, she was awarded the Dr. Ewald W. Busse Award by the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services Department of Health and Human Services for her contributions to improving the care of older adults with dementia and their families. In 2012, she received the Potter’s Hand award for similar contributions. In 2001, she was named Educator of the Year by the Eastern North Carolina Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. The North Carolina Nurses Association named her Gerontological Nurse of the Year in 1995. 


Ken Burgess, Partner, Poyner Spruill, LLP


Ken advises providers on legal issues arising in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living communities, hospice, home health and other spheres of health care. He also represents ancillary providers (pharmacy, DME, therapy, etc.). He advises on Certificate of Need, Medicare/Medicaid enrollment and licensure issues, appeals of quality of care issues, and transactional matters. Ken is a frequent national lecturer and author of industry manuals, national trade journal magazine articles and similar training tools and is primary author and editor of Poyner Spruill’s international award winning newsletter, Shorts on Long Term Care.

Prior to joining Poyner Spruill, Ken was the Senior Director of Legal Services and Facility Operations of the American Health Care Association from 1993 to 1997. Ken also served as the North Carolina Health Care Facilities Associations’ General Counsel from 1991 to 1993.


Cindy Campbell MHA Healthcare Informatics, BSN, RN, COQS, CHHCM, Director Operational Consulting

WellSky Advisory and Outsourced Services


Cindy Campbell directs Operational Consulting for WellSky Advisory and Outsourced Services (formerly Fazzi Associates). A nationally recognized thought leader, management consultant, educator and speaker, Cindy works to improve quality and value for providers of home health, hospice, palliative and private duty care throughout the United States. Cindy leads a team of executives who partner with agencies, helping guide better financial and clinical outcomes and increasing clinician, patient and family satisfaction. As advancing levels of healthcare come home, Cindy is committed to leveraging innovative technology and its integration into clinical modeling and day to day operations. Value-driven, Cindy never forgets the core of why we do what we do; expanding the impact of effective, person-centered care delivery where we live – the home. An industry advocate, Cindy has served as a Board Member of the National Association for Homecare & Hospice, Chair of the Pediatric Homecare & Hospice Association of America, member of the Executive Committee of the American Telemedicine Association’s Homecare and Remote Monitoring Special Interest Group and Advisory Committee Member for Healthcare Unbound. Cindy holds an MHA in Healthcare Informatics from Capella University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Wendy Chavez, MSN, RN, Director, The Advocacy Center, Thrive Skilled Pediatric Care


Wendy Phillips Chavez, MSN, RN is the director of The Advocacy Center with Thrive Skilled Pediatric Care.  Wendy has an experienced record of advocacy in NC for both the adult and pediatric population.  She now oversees national advocacy for Thrive and works to form coalitions with industry leaders and develop a grass roots approach to advocacy to involve patients, staff, and families.


Tiffany Christensen, Vice President of Experience Innovation, The Beryl Institute


Tiffany Christensen approaches her work from the perspective of a life-long patient and a professional patient advocate. Christensen is a nationally recognized public speaker and the author of three books exploring advocacy, end of life planning and partnership strategies in healthcare. Tiffany is also a TeamSTEPPS Master Trainer, a Respecting Choices Advance Care Planning Instructor, an APPEAL certificate recipient, and the co-creator of her own workshop series for developing and advancing Patient Advisory Programs.
Tiffany served as a patient advocate at Duke Hospital working primarily in the area of Oncology. She also worked as the Program Coordinator for Duke Medicine’s Patient Advisory Council Expansion Program. After leaving Duke, Tiffany became a Patient and Family Engagement Specialist at the North Carolina Hospital Association focusing on advancing the role of the PFA, Experience Based Co-Design and TeamSTEPPS for Patients.
Today, Tiffany is the Vice President of Experience Innovation at The Beryl Institute. Tiffany specializes in dynamic, meaningful keynote presentations which serve as a bridge between the professional and patient experience. Tiffany possess a rare perspective—one that is deeply grounded in compassion for both sides of the bed—and uses that perspective to help audiences reshape their understanding of “the practice of experience.” 


Nicole Clagett, Co-Founder, Guiding Lights Caregiver Support Center;

Director, Caregiver Support, Transitions LifeCare;

Co-Host, Edge of Aging Podcast


As a member of the long-term care community for over 20 years, Nicole has witnessed the impact (socially, emotionally, and economically) that caregiving has on families.  Nicole is the Co-Founder of Guiding Lights Caregiver Support Center, a charity that focuses in providing information, referral, education and support to family caregivers.  Guiding Lights has been proudly serving the community for 10 years.  She is also the Director of Caregiver Support for Transitions LifeCare. In addition, Nicole works with various media outlets through broadcast journalism by using her voice and expertise to educate by raising the base knowledge of the community as a whole is a gift that Nicole is so grateful to have been given. The use of media empowers the community to know what options exist to support them in their caregiving roles.  Nicole Co-Host’s the Edge of Aging podcast which served to be the impetus for the creation of SPRX Talks.

Nicole’s perspective on what it is like to be both a professional and personal caregiver (having cared for her grandfather and a friend) serves as a constant reminder of why she gets up every day to continue to do the work that she does to serve our community.


Toni Cutson, MD, Medical Director, Hospice and Palliative Medicine Services, Durham VA Medical Center


Dr. Toni Cutson has served as the Director of Hospice and Palliative Care for the Durham Healthcare System since 2003.  She attended medical school at Virginia Commonwealth University and completed Family Medicine Residency there. She was faculty in Family Medicine at Bowman Gray School of Medicine for several years and then came to Durham where she completed her Masters in Biometry at Duke and the Geriatrics Fellowship.  She was at University of Michigan for a few years 1996-1998 but came back to NC where she is now boarded in Family Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine and Geriatrics; served as Medical Director for Duke Homecare and Hospice for 10 years concurrently with growing the program at the Durham VA;  and published in areas of geriatrics as well as palliative care.


Lee Dobson, Area, Director, Government Affairs, BAYADA Home Health Care


With BAYADA since 2009, Lee Dobson works with state and national associations, legislators, state and federal government agencies, state licensure agencies, and Medicare, Medicaid, and private duty offices to help children and adults with disabilities and seniors get the home care services they need. She also works to preserve the jobs of the dedicated nurses and home health aides who care for them. Ms. Dobson is an experienced health care executive with more than 25 years in home care quality improvement, program development, and regulatory and government affairs. Prior to joining BAYADA, she spent five years at Palmetto Government Benefits Administrators, five years as the director of regulatory affairs with the Association for Home & Hospice Care of North Carolina, and five years with the Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence as the program director for home health and long-term care quality initiatives. She was elected to the Association for Home & Hospice Care of North Carolina’s Board of Directors, 2015 and is serving her second term. Ms. Dobson has a master’s degree in public administration with a focus on health administration from Troy State University. She is fluent in Spanish and received an international accreditation as a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ). 


William “Bill” A. Dombi, President, National Association for Home Care & Hospice

GENERAL SESSION: Leadership in the Time of COVID-19

Bill Dombi is the President of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice. He previously served as the Vice President for Law at NAHC. As a key part of his responsibilities, Bill specializes in legal, legislative, and regulatory advocacy on behalf of patients and providers of home health and hospice care. With nearly 40 years of experience in health care law and policy, Bill Dombi has been involved in virtually all legislative and regulatory efforts affecting home care and hospice since 1975, including the expansion of the Medicare home health benefit in 1980, the formation of the hospice benefit in 1983, the institution on Medicare PPS for home health in 2000, and the national health care reform legislation in 2010. With litigation, Dombi was lead counsel in the landmark lawsuit that reformed the Medicare home health services benefit, challenges to HMO home care cutbacks for high-tech home care patients, lawsuits against Medicaid programs for inadequate payment rates, along with current lawsuits challenging the Medicare home health face-to-face encounter rule and the Department of labor changes to the overtime rules under the Fair labor Standards Act.

In addition to litigation, Bill offers extensive community and professional educational services through lectures, publications, teleconferences, and videos. He is the Editor and lead author of Home Care & Hospice Law: A Handbook for Executives, the only comprehensive legal treatise on the topic. His lectures include market trends in home care, compliance, risk management, patient rights, fraud and abuse, health care reimbursement, legislative and regulatory reforms, and legal issues in telehealth services.


Melody Foster, BSN, RN, Performance Improvement Coordinator, Transitions LifeCare


Melody Foster is the Performance Improvement Coordinator at Transitions LifeCare in Raleigh North Carolina.  She leads improvement projects based on analysis of data by assessing, measuring, and designing current processes, to assure compliance with hospice industries standards of care.  Along with her nursing career, Melody has 12+ years experience in Quality Improvement, utilizing IHI’s Model of Improvement, as well as Six Sigma LEAN principles.   She has an extensive work history with non-profits, including serving as the first Clinic Director for the Raleigh Rescue Mission.  

Melody is an animal lover with two rescues and four chickens.  She loves to ride her motorcycle and listen to bluegrass.


Susan Fradenberg, Partner, Fox Rothschild, LLP


Susan has over 20 years' experience helping long-term care providers address regulatory, licensure, and legal questions pertinent to providing quality care and ensuring regulatory compliance. Negotiating with State and Federal entities and Attorney General Offices, Susan has helped clients successfully challenge federal penalties related to conditions of participation and compliance issues. Susan has also assisted clients with initial submissions of 855 applications and identifying the need for and assisting with the submissions of 855 change of information and change of ownership applications. Susan also advises on many day-to-day operational issues including preparing appropriate policies and procedures to address new state and federal regulations, valid and effective contractual arrangements, and addressing client and family member questions and concerns.


Ellen Fulp, PharmD, MSPC, BCGP, Director of Pharmacy Education, AvaCare


Ellen Fulp earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmaceutical Science and her Doctor of Pharmacy Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She completed her Master’s Degree in Palliative Care at the University of Colorado, as the only pharmacist member of the inaugural class. Ellen is Board Certified in Geriatric Pharmacy, specializing in safe, appropriate medication use in the elderly. Since 2013, she has been on staff at AvaCare, an independent hospice pharmacy benefits manager, providing clinical services to hospice and palliative care nurses from across the nation. In 2015, Ellen transitioned to the role of Clinical Education Coordinator for AvaCare.  She routinely provides consult regarding appropriate symptom management, regulatory issues and medication appropriateness at end-of-life. Her interests include pain management in the geriatric patient population, medication appropriateness, and expanding access to community based palliative care. 


Melinda Gaboury, CEO, Co-Founder, Healthcare Provider Solutions


Melinda A. Gaboury, with more than 29 years in home care, has over 18 years of executive speaking and educating experience, including extensive day-to-day interaction with home care and hospice professionals. She routinely conducts Home Care and Hospice Reimbursement Workshops and speaks at state association meetings throughout the country. Melinda has profound experience in Medicare PPS training, billing, collections, case-mix calculations, chart reviews, and due diligence. UPIC, RA, ADR & TPE appeals with all Medicare MACs have become the forefront of Melinda’s current impact on the industry. She is currently serving on the NAHC/HHFMA Advisory Board and is Associate Director on the Home Care Association of Florida Board of Directors. Melinda is also the author of the Home Health OASIS Guide to OASIS-D1.

Elizabeth Golding, DO, Medical Director, Cone Health Palliative Care Services


Bio coming soon


Jamie Grant, MSW, LCSW, Hospice & Palliative Care Coordinator, Durham VA Medical Center


Bio coming soon


Kimberly Gunter, BSN, MSN, RN, CDI-P, HCS-D, HCS-O

Director of Home Health/Documentation Improvement, Corridor


In her role as documentation improvement director at Corridor, Kimberly is responsible for full life cycle project management within the home healthcare and hospice landscapes. With over 15 years in home care, she passionately coaches and educates clinicians and auditors on current regulations and requirements. One of her main goals is to implement evidence-based practices that will assist agencies in improving productivity, reducing compliance risks, and improving revenue. Kimberly’s success in home care and hospice is in large part due to her ability to interface between clinical and business leaders to develop a plan that improves clinical outcomes, patient, caregiver, and employee satisfaction while meeting the financial goals of the organization. Kimberly received her B.S.N. degree from The University of Southern Mississippi and her M.S.N.  in December 2019 from Sacred Heart University and holds certifications in home health and hospice from The Board of Medical Specialty Coding & Compliance and AHIMA.  


Mark Hendrix, CEO and Founder of nTakt, Inc.


Mark Hendrix is CEO and Founder of nTakt, Inc. (@nTakthealthcare). Founded in 2003, nTakt focuses on uncomplicating healthcare and understands that no matter how game-changing the technology, desired results can only be achieved through a combination of simplified processes, meaningful technology, and hands-on training. nTakt supports a variety of healthcare settings including hospitals, physician practices, clinics, billing offices, and administrative areas.

From 2014 through 2018, he served as Director of Palliative Care Operations for Four Seasons Compassion for Life and a Project Director for the CMMI palliative care grant. The grant focused on standardization of palliative care processes, improving patient outcomes, and developing alternative Medicare reimbursement models. In addition to staffing their model with Nurse Practitioners, Physicians, Nurses, Social Workers, Chaplains, and an entire administrative team, his team enrolled and monitored quality and cost data on over 5500 patients during the 3-year grant period. LEAN concepts such as value stream mapping were used to optimize processes, reduce patient wait time, and provide the right care at the right time and in the right place. The team also developed risk stratification techniques to plan patient care, utilized new billing codes to improve profitability, implemented telehealth to provide care to under-served patients in rural areas, and integrated these new processes into an EMR. The grant took center-stage in making palliative care a sustainable model that allows providers to care for an aging population.


Vicki Hoak, Executive Director, Home Care Association of America

GENERAL SESSION: Leadership in the Time of COVID-19

Vicki joined HCAOA as Executive Director in November of 2019, following a stellar 19 years in charge of the Pennsylvania Homecare Association. As Executive Director, Vicki sets the Association’s strategic direction and leads the charge for the industry on a number of key professional and policy issues. Vicki holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Shippensburg University. She has been active in several professional and policy organizations on a volunteer basis.


Arif Kamal, MD, MBA, MHS, Medical Oncologist, Palliative Medicine Specialist,

Physician Quality and Outcomes Officer, Duke Cancer Institute

GENERAL SESSION: The State of the Physician Workforce

Dr. Arif Kamal is a Palliative Medicine Specialist as well as the Physician Quality and Outcomes Officer for Duke Cancer Institute (DCI). He has dual appointments in the Division of Medical Oncology and Section of Palliative Care at Duke University. As a board-certified palliative medicine physician and medical oncologist, Dr. Kamal studies the link between delivery of high-quality palliative care and improved patient, caregiver and health system outcomes.


Nandip Kothari, MBA, CEO, SMARTMD


Nandip is CEO of SMARTMD, a healthcare technology firm founded in 2008 focused on reducing the burden of documentation n clinicians. Nandip describes himself as a serial entrepreneur. Prior to SMARTMD, he founded two other tech firms in the manufacturing and retail sectors. He has also held senior positions with two large corporations: Tower Group, Inc. and Motorola, Inc. His experience ranges across application development, program management, marketing, strategy and operations. Over the course of his multi-faceted career, he has been responsible for producing, marketing and selling technology as well as buying and implementing it. Nandip received his Master of Business Administration Degree from the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management. He earned a bachelor's degree, with honors, in electrical engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He began his studies with artificial intelligence while at RPI.


Pam Kuras, LCSW, Certified Grief Counselor, Owner, Johnston Integrative Counseling


Pam Kuras, LCSW is a certified grief counselor and owner of Johnston Integrative Counseling in Benson, NC. Pam completed advanced training in Complicated Grief Therapy and provides individual grief therapy, grief support groups, and workshops for a variety of underserved populations, including professional and family caregivers. Pam also serves her community as a hospice and bereavement social worker and a registered yoga and meditation teacher. 


Cooper Linton, MHA, MBA, Associate Vice President, Duke HomeCare & Hospice


Cooper Linton has worked in the healthcare industry for over 20 years with a passionate focus on home and community-based care. His professional background includes strategic planning, healthcare operations, certificate of need, marketing, business development, and healthcare construction. His current role is a the associate vice president for Duke HomeCare, Hospice, and Home Infusion.

Mr. Linton holds a Masters in Healthcare Administration and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he also completed his Graduate Certificate in Gerontology. Cooper believes that his greatest “real world” education came through his role as a caregiver while he shared the care-journey of his parents. He co-founded Edge of Aging with Nicole Clagett. When not working, Cooper is happily busy as a husband, father, and an avid outdoorsman.

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