Sherell Palmer, RN, Team Lead, Wake Med Hospital @ Your Home Program
Sherell has been a nurse for a total of 14 years, 5 years as a LPN and 9 years as a RN. She received her Associates degree in Nursing from Community College of Philadelphia in 2012. She is currently working on her Bachelors of Science, in nursing, at Wilmington University (Delaware) with plans to graduate in 2021. She started working with WakeMed Home Health in April 2020, and was recently promoted to Team Lead for the Hospital at your home program. Sherell has worked in multiple health settings including medical-surgical, long term care, hospice, inpatient rehabilitation for post-surgery patients as well as addiction treatment. She is very passionate about public health and educating the public on the management of acute and chronic medical conditions.

Sue Payne, MBA, RN, CHCE, Home Care Strategies Advisor, Corridor

Sue has 30 years of experience leading home care provider operations including home health, skilled care, and non-skilled private duty.  Her most recent role was Chief Clinical Officer and Vice President at Corridor. Her experience includes leadership of hospital based, SNF based and privately held home care companies. Sue has a BS in Nursing from Radford University and MBA from UTC.
In her current role at Corridor, Sue is a Home Care Strategies Advisor with an eye on industry trends. She presents nationally on clinical and operational topics that support home care providers success. Sue has presented nationally on topics such as value-based purchasing, payment model changes, early careerist mentoring, and preventing avoidable re-hospitalizations.

Steve Pellito, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Sandata Technologies
Steve Pellito is responsible for the Provider Sales and Marketing teams, including Sandata’s national go-to-market strategy, business development, marketing plans, and overall growth of the provider market. Steve has eighteen years of healthcare industry experience in various markets and client segments.
Steve started in the home healthcare industry in 2000 when he joined Maxim Healthcare Services, a large national provider of home health care, medical staffing, and wellness services. In his last role as National Director of Maxim Health Systems, Steve led sales, strategic partner relationships, and overall service delivery of a $40M+ business unit.

Michael Pepe, Director of Solutions Engineering, Synzi

Michael Pepe is a healthcare technology professional with over 13 years of experience in leading high performing teams, conducting clinical analyses and implementing innovative customized clinical information systems. Prior to joining Synzi, Michael was at CareCloud as the Manager of Implementations & Professional Services.  He has also served as an Implementation Leader at NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and BioReference Laboratories.

William G. (Tres) Pittman, MD, MBA, CPE, SFHM, FACP, EMD Hospital and Specialty Medicine, Raleigh Campus Department of Medicine Chair, Associate Program Director WakeMed Internal Medicine Residency, President of the Board of Transitions LifeCare
I strive to be a servant leader with an authentic style and inspiring energy.  I focus on the mission and vision of the organizations that I serve and strive to make strategic decisions that move forward those goals.  I have significant experience in non-profit board governance and leadership as President of the Board at Transitions Lifecare for the last several years. I also have significant leadership knowledge and skills in managing the medical staff both through both influence and management in my many roles at WakeMed. Finally, I have change management skills through my work with the WKCC accountable care organization (ACO) board. In that role, I have worked with our private practice partners to develop our ACO successfully through leadership changes, platform changes and have had significant financial success with shared savings programs with both private payors and Medicare.

As executive director of Hospital and Specialty Medicine at WakeMed, in a dyad relationship with the service line executive director, we manage the Hospital Medicine, Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep, Rheumatology, Gastroenterology, Transitional Health and Psychiatry divisions of WakeMed Physician practices. We manage over 150 physician and advanced practice providers at 4 locations in Wake County, NC.  In addition, I serve as the Associate Program Director for the WakeMed Internal Medicine Residency and Chair of the Department of Medicine at WakeMed Raleigh. 

I believe in connecting physicians with amazing educational opportunities in leadership and management as well as working with industry, payers, entrepreneurial organizations, hospitals and health systems to improve the health of our community. I also have an interest in telemedicine and have co-led our health system to start an acute care at home care model, WakeMed Hospital @Your Home.   We started this program in May 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and have served over 100 patients, reducing patient census in the hospital and serving patients cost effectively and safely while they recover in their home.

My clinical interest is in hospital medicine and acute care at home programs.  I am active on the medical staff at all WakeMed locations in Wake county and practice as an inpatient hospitalist and attending physician at WakeMed Raleigh campus working with residents and medical students. I manage patients with a variety of presenting problems from hip fractures, acute stroke, myocardial infarctions and a variety of infections, including Covid-19.

Specialties: Hospital medicine, Internal Medicine, ABIM certified
Interests: graduate and undergraduate medical education, physician leadership, hospice care, and accountable care organization development, hospital at home

Amber J. Popek, CPA, Partner, BKD’s National Health Care Group
Amber is a member of BKD National Health Care Group and provides an array of audit and consulting services to home care, hospice, long-term care and other health care clients nationwide, including many with private equity ownership.  Her experience includes leading audits, reviews and compilation engagements as well as providing other consulting services, such as financial due diligence, budgeting, cost reporting and other various special projects for home care and hospice providers.  Amber also oversees the accounting outsourcing services for BKD’s Southern Missouri home care and hospice team. She is a regular contributor to BKD Thoughtware® publications and is involved in training and recruiting new associates. Amber is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and Missouri Society of CPAs.  She is a member of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), NAHC’s Home Care & Hospice Financial Managers Association (HHFMA) and serves on the Young Professionals and Women in Leadership committees of the HHFMA.  She also is a member of Missouri Alliance for Home Care. She is a member of the board of directors for the Springfield, Missouri, chapter of Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance and is a former member of the Board of Commissioners for the Public Housing Authority for the City of Springfield, Missouri. Amber is a 2005 magna cum laude graduate of Missouri State University, Springfield, with a B.S. degree in accounting and a 2006 graduate with an M.Acc. degree.

Dave Richard, Deputy Secretary for Medicaid, Division of Health Benefits, NC DHHS
Dave Richard is the Deputy Secretary, NC Medicaid, where he leads North Carolina’s $14 billion Medicaid and NC Health Choice programs for the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Richard’s vision for Medicaid is to ensure a sustainable, person-centered and innovative Medicaid program for more than two million North Carolinians who use Medicaid. As the programs undergo transformation to even better fit the needs of state and its residents, he is committed to the fundamental goal of improving the health and well-being of all residents. Richard believes the right way to achieve success is to work closely with stakeholders in all aspects of Medicaid. 

Prior to leading Medicaid, Richard was the Deputy Secretary for DHHS Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Services and the State Operated Healthcare Facilities divisions. He joined DHHS in May 2013 as the Director of the Division of Mental Health, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services. Richard joined DHHS after leading The Arc of North Carolina, an advocacy and service organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as its Executive Director for 24 years. 
Richard has a bachelor’s degree in education from Louisiana State University.

Jessica Rockne, Senior Product Manager, MatrixCare by ResMed, formerly Brightree Home Health & Hospice
Jessica Rockne is a Senior Product Manager with MatrixCare, a Home Health, Hospice and Palliative Care EMR. She has been in the post-acute healthcare industry for over 13 years first as a Business Director of a home health and hospice organization and on the software side of the house as an Implementation Project Manager and Senior Product Manager. Jessica's experience working with hundreds of organizations all over the country gives her a unique perspective into the challenges organizations face with increased regulatory oversight, changes to the reimbursement landscape, and impact of the public health emergency. Over the past year, Jessica's focus has been on researching and implementing solutions for Palliative Care into the MatrixCare product.

Mark Sharp, CPA, Partner, BKD’s National Health Care Group
Mark is a Partner with BKD’s National Health Care Group and serves as the firm-wide leader of BKD’s Center of Excellence for Home Care and Hospice Services.  He has more than 25 years of experience assisting home care and hospice providers with strategic planning, financial management, audits, accounting, cost reports, operating budgets, agency start-up and mergers and acquisitions.  As a nationally recognized home care consultant, Mark serves on the board for the National Association for Home Care & Hospice and is the immediate past chair of the Home Care and Hospice Financial Managers Association’s Advisory Board.  He frequently presents workshops on various home care and hospice topics at national, regional, and state home care conferences.  He has authored many industry articles and is regularly quoted in industry periodicals such as Eli’s Home Care Week, Hospital Home Health, and Home Health Line.

Michael Simione, MBA, Director, SimiTree Healthcare Consulting
Michael is a Director with SimiTree Healthcare Consulting and has been an employee since 2011. Michael leads SimiTree's cost reporting team and has in-depth knowledge of both Medicare and Medicaid cost report regulatory requirements.  Simione prepares the more than 1,500 home health and hospice cost reports each year and is the industry leader in this space. In addition, Michael has wide-ranging experience in budgeting, strategic planning, , operational analytics, and benchmarking.
Michael’s extensive work with SimiTree Healthcare Consulting includes the development of comprehensive financial, clinical, staffing and marketing analysis tools to improve efficiencies and financial performance for various home health, hospice and private duty companies. In addition, Michael has in-depth experience providing interim management services, accounting, financial feasibility studies, competitor analysis, strategic planning and regulatory compliance assistance to both freestanding and hospital-affiliated organizations. 
As an active participant in his profession and community, Michael is a member of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, the Home Care and Hospice Financial Managers Association, the Young Home Care and Hospice Financial Managers Association and the Arizona Association for Home Care and has spoken at several national and local conferences on a wide-array of topics. 

Kathie Smith, BSN, RN, Vice President of Home Care and State Relations, AHHC of NC
Kathie Smith, RN, has been with the Association for Home and Hospice Care of NC since 2004 and graduated May 12, 2018 with her BSN from Barton College. Prior to her employment at the Association, she worked with the NC DHHS Division of Medical Assistance, the state Medicaid agency, in the Home Care Policy section. Kathie has extensive experience working with the Division of Health Service Regulation on Home Care licensing rules, laws and regulations as well as NC Medicaid policy and billing requirements. She provides technical assistance on a number of regulatory and operational issues to AHHC members. Kathie is certified in integrated chronic disease management, is a master training in Coaching Supervision and served on the North Carolina management team for the Personal and Home Care Aide State Training (PHCAST) grant which has developed Home Care Specialty training for NC home care aides. She also served on the NC Better Jobs Better Care partner team that developed the NC New Organizational Vision Award (NC NOVA), a workforce development program for direct care workers. Kathie is a frequent state and national speaker on topics related to Home Care Licensing rules, regulations, laws, and payer source policies. She is the Editor of 4 member newsletters including the In-Home Aide Partners in Quality Care newsletter with a national viewership. She is a member of the American Nurses Association, the North Carolina Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, and Alpha Chi National College Honor Society.

Apollo Stevens, DNP, RN, CHPCA, Director, UNC Hospice
Apollo Townsend Stevens DNP, RN, CHPCA has been a nurse for over 34 years and has experience in oncology, neurovascular, mental health, ambulatory care, education, and hospice nursing. Apollo has a passion for end of life care and is a Certified Hospice & Palliative Care Administrator. The provision of outstanding hospice services, within the context of patient-centered care, is the daily focus of Apollo’s work. The expertise of over 30 years’ progressive clinical experience, coupled with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa), is the foundation for her strong belief that “good” health care always has the potential to be made better. Apollo is the Director of UNC Hospice and her office is in Pittsboro, NC.

Katie Wehri, Director, Home Care & Hospice Regulatory Affairs, NAHC
Ms. Wehri has over 25 years of experience in home health and hospice, holding several executive-level positions, with extensive and direct knowledge of industry operations, regulation, accreditation standards, interpretation and compliance, quality assessment, and performance improvement programming and compliance programs. She is the Director of Home Health and Hospice Regulatory Affairs for the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) and is educated with a bachelor's degree in health care administration and human resources from the Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

Audrey Whitacre, RN, MSN, Director of WakeMed Home Health
Audrey has been with WakeMed Home Health since 2017 as the Director of Home Health.  After Graduating from East Carolina University, she entered the United States Air Force Nurse Corp where she worked as the Cardiac Rehab nurse, Adult Critical Care Nurse, Clinical Administrator and Field Hospital nurse.  After leaving the Air Force, she remained as a Capt. in the USAF Reserves.  Audrey has been a Nursing Department Administrator at Kaiser Fontana and an ADN at Kaiser Oakland. Her Kaiser Oakland experience includes acting as the House Supervisor the day of the Oakland Firestorm.  After moving back to North Carolina, Audrey taught CCRN review courses, Emergency Preparedness presentations and began a new career as a PICU nurse and eventually a pediatric/adult Home Health nurse in the Raleigh area.  Caring for those who elect Home Health care has been a focus for Audrey for 24 years. 

Michelle White, DNP, RN, CNL, Director, Home and Transitional Care, Cone Health HomeCare Providers
GENERAL SESSION: Impacts of COVID-19 and the Opportunities Ahead for Home Care, Home Health & Hospice

Michelle White, DNP, RN, CNL:  Dr. Michelle White has worked within our industry for over 24 years.  During this time, Michelle has implemented various new home and community care programs ranging from in home aide services to community based syringe exchange.  Michelle has served in faculty roles at UNC Chapel Hill and Alamance Community College.  She has served as an educator for AHHC, was the author of PCHAST and the newest on-boarding model for new students and new graduates into home care and hospice.  Her years of experience clinically has helped to drive performance improvement projects and insight into the learning needs of staff have helped to create exceptional care models that yield exceptional outcomes.

Marketta Williams, BS, MS, CAVNC, Coordinator, Volunteer Services & We Honor Veterans, UNC Hospice
Marketta Williams is the Volunteer Coordinator at UNC Hospice and CEO/Owner of  Volunteer Solutions, LLC with a history of profitability in volunteer management, community relations, and program and project development. She has consulted with several organizations ranging from healthcare, education, seniors, and more.

She received a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management and a minor in Economics. She also obtained a Master's degree in  Human Relations and Business and a graduate certificate in Conflict Management and Resolutions. 
Marketta Williams has over 11+ years of experience in the volunteer management industry while being a Certified Administrator of Volunteers in North Carolina and a Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certified.  She is a confident professional with an infectious enthusiasm for recognizing excellence in individuals.

Matthew W. Wolfe, JD, MPP, Attorney, Partner, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein
GENERAL SESSION: State of the State Update from AHHC's Advocacy Team


Matt Wolfe is an attorney at Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Mr. Wolfe advises and represents national and regional health care providers on a wide spectrum of legal issues including licensure, Medicaid and Medicare enrollment, reimbursement issues, privacy, government investigations, prepayment and postpayment reviews, managed and accountable care organizations, and regulatory interpretation. He formulates comprehensive political and public relations strategies on a broad range of federal and state policies. Mr. Wolfe earned his law degree and Master of Public Policy degree from Duke University and obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester.  He has been named a North Carolina Super Lawyers Rising Star in Government Relations (2014), Health Care (2015), and Administrative Law (2016).  Mr. Wolfe serves as legal and legislative counsel to the Association. Matt Wolfe is an attorney at Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Mr. Wolfe advises and represents national and regional health care providers on a wide spectrum of legal issues including licensure, Medicaid and Medicare enrollment, reimbursement issues, privacy, government investigations, prepayment and postpayment reviews, managed and accountable care organizations, and regulatory interpretation. He formulates comprehensive political and public relations strategies on a broad range of federal and state policies. Mr. Wolfe earned his law degree and Master of Public Policy degree from Duke University and obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester.  He has been named a North Carolina Super Lawyers Rising Star in Government Relations (2014), Health Care (2015), and Administrative Law (2016).  Mr. Wolfe serves as legal and legislative counsel to the Association for Home & Hospice Care of North Carolina.