The Top 5 Things I Learned at the NPA Annual Conference
Care3 had the honor of attending and sponsoring the 2018 National PACE Association Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon last week. This convening of 700+ people dedicated to helping seniors live in their homes while receiving outstanding medical care revealed several keys to success and the future of PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly).
For the second consecutive year, Care3 sponsored the keynote address. National PACE Association President & CEO, Shawn Bloom, called Care3 “a fitting sponsor” for the keynote in his introduction of Kim Campbell, wife of Music Hall of Fame artist Glen Campbell. Kim delivered a stirring speech chronicling her life with Glen and her role as a caregiver during his battle with Alzheimer’s. As CEO of Care3, I had the privilege of spending time with Kim prior to and after her talk and experienced firsthand the warmth and dedication she is putting into CareLiving.org, her lifestyle blog focused on helping people caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s.
The Top 5 Things I Learned at the NPA Annual Conference
While both exhibiting and attending sessions, I had the opportunity to talk to and hear from more than 20% of all attendees personally. Here are The Top 5 Things I Learned at the NPA Annual Conference.
5. New PACE programs are coming!
There has never been a question about the need for PACE programs. I met with multiple new program leaders looking to have their first centers open in 2019. We can certainly expect this trend to accelerate with the new relaxed regulatory environment for PACE nationally. State Associations like CalPACE and NC PACE will play a major role in program growth as well. And with the NPA providing tailwinds with its PACE 2.0 initiative targeting 200,000 participants by 2028, the environment is right for PACE to expand.
4. PACE has a “blind spot.”
During the conference I met with representatives from 31 PACE programs and one theme was crystal clear—it is difficult to know what is happening with participants once they leave the center. Any car, no matter how luxurious, has a “blind spot” that can’t be seen by the driver simply looking into the mirrors. The driver must turn their head to see if another vehicle is in this space. PACE’s blind spot is what happens outside of the center. Many programs recognize the need to “turn their heads” and put effort into getting clarity into what happens outside of the center. Knowing what happens outside of the center is critical to avoiding emergency visits and hospitalizations and many programs are taking steps to increase their visibility. “Clarity” is the third “C” in the Care3 C3 approach.
3. Gifts don’t always come wrapped with a bow.
Kim Campbell gave a powerful keynote about her life with Glen Campbell and his experience with Alzheimer’s. Her “Pepto” story made it clear that the gifts we receive aren’t always wrapped with a bow. Glen wanted Kim to recognize that he remembered her birthday and made a gesture that Kim wasn’t able to grasp in the moment. She regrets not recognizing the gift when it was given. I learned that we have to pay attention to our loved ones and how they express themselves because sometimes, the smallest items can be the largest gifts.
2. PACE is “radical.”
Adam Burrows, MD, Medical Director Uphams Elder Service Plan/PACE in Boston and new NPA Board Chair declared during his remarks that PACE is “radical and transformative.” I have to admit, I was surprised, but when he laid out his five reasons, he made perfect sense. Here’s the re-cap of the five reasons PACE is radical:
PACE is concierge care for the disadvantaged. That is an amazing way to think about PACE. The PACE model brings participants access to specialists who help them stay in their homes and maintain health and quality of life. PACE truly is concierge care.
PACE is steadfast through end of life. PACE clearly is a companion with participants as they continue living in their homes with dignity and independence.
PACE serves Communities. By all means this is true as PACE coordinates care and recreation in the community for participants even outside of the center.
PACE address Social Determinants of Health. I would say this is most important because PACE particularly serves those who typically could not get access to high quality care. This clearly aligns with the Care3 mission to bring healthcare equality to everyone.
PACE operates in Non-hierarchical teams. All IDTs are empowered to fill responsibilities for a participant’s care. “Collaboration" is the key to success which is why it is also the second “C” in Care3’s C3 approach.
And the top learning I had from the NPA conference is…
1. Communications between staff, participants, and family mean everything.
I attended multiple sessions at the conference and saw several poster presentations. The theme that kept reverberating was how important communications were, whether between IDT members, participants, or their families. Having a strong relationship with open communications can improve satisfaction and impact outcomes. Isn’t that what PACE is about?
One of the most striking sessions I attended was an Interactive Roundtable led by Justine Medina of AltaMed PACE. In her session not only did she share frameworks she uses to ensure clear communications between staff and engagement with participants and families, but several people told stories about how simple conversations made a huge difference in how a participant experienced the center and how the family interacted with staff. As the leader of a communications technology platform, facilitating connection is critically important. That’s why “Connection” is the first “C” in the Care3 C3 approach.
The focus on communications at the conference re-doubles my commitment to make Care3 the best technology platform for PACE programs to engage staff and participant families. We believe everything in healthcare can improve with better conversations and are committed to using our platform to make it easier for your programs to connect and collaborate, while reducing the “blind spot” by illuminating what happens outside of the center with your participants.
David S. Williams
CEO and Co-Founder
Connection. Collaboration. Clarity.