2018 Keynote Speakers

Allison Massari has been hailed by audiences worldwide as “life-changing,” “riveting,” “extraordinary,” “bold,” and “deeply moving.” Her message of courage, kindness, and resilience resonates with participants long after an event has finished. Listed as one of the Top 10 Best Speakers for “motivation” and “personal development” in the United States by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Allison has been featured on ABC, NBC, and FOX networks. Her client list includes: GE Healthcare IT, Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, Eli Lilly and Co., Allscripts, Fresenius, HIMSS/CHIME, Teva Pharmaceutical, Siemens Medical, and CVS.

Allison has dedicated her career to catapulting individuals and organizations toward total success, mastery, and fulfillment. As an international keynote speaker, executive coach, and interdisciplinary artist, Allison provides an exceptional blend of business acuity, clarity, creative perspective, and real understanding. Her highly effective methods have enabled her to form bonds as a trusted confidante to CEOs, executives, and entrepreneurs. Having triumphed over two traumatic accidents, one where she was severely burned on over 50% of her body, Allison captures the hearts of audiences, demonstrating how to move forward with speed and grace. Prepare to be taken on a journey.


Judi Kulus, MSN, MAT, RN, NHA, RAC-MT, DNS-CT, QCP, has been a certified AANAC RAC-CT master teacher since 2004 and currently serves as the vice president of curriculum development for AANAC and AADNS, where she oversees and coordinates the associations’ certification and educational content. Judi’s career began as a nursing home administrator in 1987. She holds a Master’s degree in Nursing with a focus on informatics and a Master’s degree in Education. She has been a registered nurse since 2000. For the past 30 years, Judi has focused much of her work on supporting facilities in managing the RAI process, MDS coding, and nursing system quality improvement. She has served as an operations manager, case mix & quality assurance consultant, as well as crisis control administrator, for a variety of organizations including facilities in multiple states.


2018 Additional Speakers

Barbara A. Bates, RN, MSN, RAC-CT, DNS-MT, QCP-MT, has 42 years’ experience in gero-psychiatry and LTC nursing, holding management, and administration positions at the Rochester Psychiatric Center as well as the director of nursing position at a NYS Veterans Home. Mrs. Bates has a Master’s of Science degree in Nursing, specializing in Nursing Education, is certified in MDS 3.0, and is a master teacher for DNS and QAPI through AANAC’s sister organization, AADNS. Barbara currently provides educational programming in MDS, CAAs and care plans, PRI, and QAPI for SUNY Albany School for Public Health statewide and MDS Consultants, Inc., and has spoken nationally for Health Information Network, AANAC/AADNS, and Pioneer Network. Barbara is currently involved as a facilitator in Customer Satisfaction Training grants in various LTC facilities in the state of New York. She was also a facilitator for the Gold STAMP program to reduce pressure ulcers in NYS and the implementation of medical director/attending physician guidelines. She previously was the senior educator for the Foundation of LTC, providing instruction in exceptional care planning, which focused on streamlining care plans and enhancing resident centered care. She is currently the Chair of the DNS-EAP committee for AADNS and volunteers for the NYS Surrogate Decision Making Committee, a Governor-appointed position.


Jane Belt, MS, RN, RAC-MT, QCP, is a curriculum development specialist for AANAC. Having been involved in long-term care for more than 40 years, she has served as a gerontological clinical specialist, director of nursing, and nurse consultant. She has a Master’s in Nursing and is a master teacher for AANAC. Prior to joining AANAC, she was a principal at Plante Moran specializing in senior care operational consulting, certification compliance, reimbursement, corporate compliance, education and quality assurance/performance improvement.


Rosanna L. Benbow has been in long-term care for 20 years. Rosie has spent time in roles such as certified nurses aid, medical records to MDS coordinator, director of nursing, case mix auditor, MDS consultant, and managed care specialist.

Rosie is a registered nurse, and is certified as a resident assessment coordinator and director of nursing services through AANAC/AADNS. She is also a Certified INTERACT Champion. She is seasoned in teaching accurate assessment in accordance with CMS RAI User’s Manual guidelines, managing Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement for up to 20 skilled nursing facilities in Indiana and Florida, and coordinating Managed Care relations and contracts. She is currently providing MDS training, MDS Interim Services, and MDS Consultation through Leading Transitions Post Acute Care Consultation and Staffing


Julie Bilyeu is the director of BKD’s long-term care billing services, which includes Medicare billing outsourcing, aged accounts receivable recovery, billing training and consulting services such as billing and operations reviews.

She has more than 14 years of health care industry experience, focusing on the long-term care revenue cycle. Her areas of expertise include billing software consulting, accounts receivable recovery, and billing assessments. She also serves as a resource for complex revenue cycle issues. 

Julie routinely speaks to national and state industry associations and conducts webinars and training presentations regarding a variety of billing-related topics.


Tracy Burger Montag, BSN, RN, RAC-CT. With over 20 years of clinical experience in long-term care; Tracy has extensive expertise in the Resident Assessment Instrument (RAI) process, staff training, reimbursement systems, compliance, and operational performance analysis. Her in-depth knowledge is concentrated in state and federal regulations, operations, and reimbursement. Prior to joining RKL, Tracy held various positions in the long-term care field since 1990.

Tracy has participated as an instructor/speaker on healthcare topics at various seminars and conventions for state and national level healthcare organizations. She has worked as an independent contractor for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) participating in educational videos titled: “MDS 3.0 and the Interdisciplinary Team” and “The MDS 3.0 and Facility Leadership.”


Scott Heichel, RN, RAC-MT, DNS-CT, CIC, is the director of clinical reimbursement for LeaderStat. He brings almost 25 years of healthcare experience and is recognized for his expertise in the RAI process and clinical reimbursement. Scott’s consulting work includes performing Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement reviews and educational programs for skilled nursing facilities and multi-facility operators. Scott has experience in and has testified as an expert witness in a large Medicare dispute case. Scott is a member of AANAC’s Expert Advisory Panel, works as a master teacher through AANAC for their RAC-CT MDS certification courses, and sits on the board as the vice president of OANAC (Ohio Association of Nurse Assessment Coordinators).


Stephanie Kessler, RAC-CT, is a partner in RKL’s Senior Living Services Consulting Group. With over 25 years of clinical experience in long-term care, Stephanie has extensive expertise in the areas of post-acute care operations. Her in-depth knowledge is concentrated in state and federal regulations, operations, compliance and reimbursement. Prior to joining RKL, Stephanie worked at a regional accounting firm and was a manager with KPMG. Prior to consulting, Stephanie held various nursing positions in the post-acute care field.

Additionally, Stephanie has participated as an instructor/speaker on health care topics at various seminars and conferences for national and state level health care associations as well as to all staff levels of post-acute care providers.


Maureen McCarthy, RN, BS, RAC-MT, QCP-MT, is the president of Celtic Consulting, LLC, and the CEO and founder of Care Transitions, LLP. She has been a registered nurse for 30 years with experience as an MDS coordinator, director of nursing, rehab director, and a Medicare biller. She is a recognized leader and expert in clinical reimbursement in the skilled nursing facility environment.

McCarthy is dually certified in both the resident assessment process and QAPI by the nationally recognized organizations, AANAC and AADNS, holds master teacher status in both, and serves on the AANAC Expert Advisory Panel.

Maureen and her associates at Celtic Consulting regularly provide education and training on reimbursement, regulatory compliance, quality improvement, preferred provider networks and ICD-10 coding for SNFs, state affiliates and provider organizations. 


Mark McDavid, OTR, RAC-CT, has built a strong reputation as an experienced leader in skilled rehabilitation therapy services. Through his years of work, Mark developed a dynamic approach to therapy operations for both in-house and contract service companies. Prior to launching his own business, Mark was hired to manage all clinical staff and programs for a 25-year-old contract therapy provider; during Mark’s tenure as vice president, this company experienced its most profitable and successful years to date. Now as the owner of Seagrove Rehab Partners, Mark works to enhance therapy-related operations and Medicare compliance in a wide variety of settings, including long-term care and rehab agencies.

Mark is an occupational therapy graduate from the University of South Alabama who went on to complete the Resident Assessment Coordinator--Certified (RAC-CT) certification from the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordination (AANAC). His knowledge and its application to business strategies has earned national recognition within professional organizations, including appointment to AANAC’s Expert Advisory Panel and election as a board member-at-large for the National Association of Rehabilitation Providers and Agencies (NARA). He also speaks nationally as a sought-after source in regards to regulatory compliance, MDS, MPPR, manual medical review, functional status coding, and documentation.


Jessie McGill, RN, RAC-MT is a curriculum development specialist for AANAC. Previously she worked as the director of clinical reimbursement for a large long-term care organization overseeing 17 clinical reimbursement consultants across 21 states, including nearly 300 living centers. She has more than 17 years of long-term care experience, including as restorative nurse, MDS coordinator, regional clinical reimbursement specialist, clinical reimbursement trainer, and director of clinical reimbursement. Jessie is passionate about developing the skills of nurse assessment coordinators, working in restorative nursing, and improving residents’ quality of life and care.


Carol Maher, RN-BC, RAC-CT, is a board-certified gerontological registered nurse with over 30 years’ long-term care experience. She has worked in long-term care in many roles, beginning as a nursing assistant and later becoming a charge nurse, nurse manager, and then RNAC. Most recently, she was the senior vice president of utilization services and director of reimbursement for large multi-facility organizations. She has worked as one of the Gold Standard Nurses for MDS 3.0, serving on the RAP workgroup to pave the way for the CAAs for MDS 3.0, and participating on a number of Technical Expert Panels related to MDS, Quality Measures, and care planning. Carol served as a member of the AANAC Board of Directors for nine years, stepping down in 2016. She is currently the director of education for Hansen Hunter.


Kris Mastrangelo, OTR/L, LNHA, MBA, is a nationally recognized speaker with more than 24 years of experience in the healthcare industry with a specialty in the post-acute care arena. An Occupational Therapist degree from Tufts University, followed by a Master's in Business Administration from Salem State University, coupled with a Nursing Home Administrator's License, affords Kris an in-depth perspective into the clinical, financial, and operational components critical for business success. Initially providing direct care as an occupational therapist, Kris became familiar with the Medicare, Medicaid, and HMO reimbursement systems.

Her position evolved into the facility level and multi-facility management of rehabilitation programs, to vice president of operations for a national consulting company, to vice president of reimbursement.

Kris currently owns and operates Harmony Healthcare International (HHI), which she founded in 2001.


Nikki Poropat RN, MSN, RAC-CT, DNS-CT, is fortunate to hold the MDS executive position at North Mountain Medical & Rehabilitation, a high acuity 5-star skilled nursing facility in Phoenix, Arizona. She has worked in nursing for 11 years, and holds a Master's in Nursing with a specialty in Nursing Leadership and Management. She is passionate about all aspects of the skilled nursing facility environment, including quality improvement, data management, and team building.


Sherri Robbins, RN, CLNC, RAC-CT. A member of BKD National Health Care Group, Sherri has more than 20 years of experience and focuses on long-term care. She provides clinical consulting for healthcare providers and educates providers about Medicare reimbursement strategies. Sherri has trained numerous skilled nursing facilities as well as swing bed and skilled nursing units about proper minimum data set completion to manage the Medicare program. She performs comprehensive follow-up reviews focused on patient-centered care and regulation compliance to help providers obtain appropriate Medicare reimbursement. Prior to joining BKD, Sherri had experience in various healthcare roles, including serving as a director of nursing and administrator in a skilled nursing facility.

She is a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant (CLNC®), Licensed Nursing Home Administrator, and Resident Assessment Coordinator--Certified (RAC-CT®). As a CLNC®, Sherri assists attorneys representing healthcare providers. She frequently presents to long-term care and senior living associations. Sherri is a 1992 graduate of the Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences of Southwest Baptist University in Springfield, Missouri, with a registered nurse (RN) certification, and a 1998 graduate of Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri, with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nursing.


John Sheridan, MHSA, FACHE, is the vice president of ABILITY Network. John’s experience uniquely demonstrates he is a strategic thinker who produces products that serve long-term care professionals in and across the US. He and a great clinical and information sciences team built eHealth Data Solutions starting in 2001 with CareWatch, in 2003 with RiskWatch, in 2009 with UBWatch, and with Ability Network in 2016, CareWatch PBJ. These “watch” products serve thousands of LTC professionals and centers throughout the care continuum. Prior to ABILITY, John has served as a founder of eHealth Data Solutions, as an employee/manager with the Ross Division of Abbott Labs, vice president for the Lutheran General Health System (now Advocate Health System), manager with Arthur Anderson, data analyst with Kaiser Permanente of Ohio, and for a decade, consultant with John Sheridan & Associates. He was raised and educated in Upstate New York and has a Bachelor’s of Science degree from St. John Fisher College and a Master’s degree from George Washington University.


Amy Stewart, RN, DNS-MT, QCP-MT, RAC-MT, is a curriculum development specialist for AANAC’s sister organization, AADNS. Formerly, she was a legal nurse consultant for the law firm, Hall, Prangle, Schoonveld (HPS), in Chicago. She has 20 years of experience in the post-acute healthcare industry, with expertise in the areas of the Resident Assessment Instrument (RAI), clinical reimbursement, quality, and regulatory change. Prior to joining HPS, Amy was the division director of reimbursement for 18 skilled nursing facilities in the Chicagoland area, part of a larger hospital system that participated in CMS innovative payment models. Her previous roles include director of nursing, pharmacy quality consultant, wound care consultant, and MDS coordinator. Amy is a master teacher for the AADNS curriculum as well as the AANAC curriculum, and was a presenter at the 2014 and 2016 AANAC national conferences.


Colleen Toebe has a variety of professional experience, including critical care, long-term care, assisted living, and home care nursing practice. She has strong DON leadership, Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI) skills, and Interact training skills. As a nurse consultant, she has excelled in her performance in interim leadership roles both in long-term care and assisted living, as well as developing educational and mentoring programs for nursing staff throughout the continuum of care. Colleen’s passion is to promote excellence in long-term care through education, quality improvement, and facilitating change in the care of our aging society.


Eugenia J. White RN, MHA, RAC-CT, C-RNAC, IP-BC, ASSCO, C-NE, CDP, CQRMS, C-DON, DNS-CT, SWC. Since the age of 17, Eugenia has worked in long-term care. It has been and always will be her first love. She has made it her life mission to ensure that all people that work in long-term care have the training and education they need to ensure our elders have the best final days. Part of that mission is to always pursue her own continuing education while working in skilled nursing facilities so that she can share that information with her co-workers and staff. She recently decided to tackle the subject of Infection Control, as she knew that would be the next in a large and looming area that the long-term care industry will be working on improving over the next decade. She became Infection Prevention Board Certified (IP-BC) so that she could educate and train others in the industry.


Judy Wilhide Brandt, RN, BA, CPC, QCP, RAC-MT, DNS-CT, brings over 30 years of experience to the long-term care industry, with over 20 years in positions of increasing responsibility in nursing facilities as a nurse manager, executive, and consultant. She is very active in AANAC as past Chair of the Expert Advisory Panel, primary original author and master teacher of Medicare University, and master teacher for the RAC-CT program. She is the LeadingAge MDS expert, writing monthly articles and answering questions for LeadingAge members. She is the principal for Wilhide Consulting, Inc. and serves as an advisor, auditor, and trainer for multiple providers, from standalone communities to multistate chains across the country. Her services are in high demand as she can be counted on for accurate, current information in the ever-changing SNF regulatory landscape. She is a trusted advisor to government officials, LTC operators, MDS coordinators, regulatory bodies, and industry associations.


Linda Winston, RN, MSN, BS, RAC-CT, DNS-MT, QCP-MT, has been a nurse for over 30 years. Linda has a diverse background in the long-term care setting, including staff nurse, supervising nurse, nurse educator, nursing administrator, and for 16 years, director of nursing.

Her areas of expertise are current survey and certification process; quality assurance and performance improvement; resident assessment; clinical approaches, including the improvement and prevention of skin alterations and prevention of falls and root cause analysis; and implementation of systems.

Linda has a Master’s degree in Nursing with a focus on education, and works as a nurse consultant/educator with a focus on skilled nursing. She holds certifications from AADNS and AANAC. She is a master trainer for the American Association of Directors of Nursing Services certification programs, the Director of Nursing Services—Certified (DNS-CT) and QAPI Certified Professional (QCP).

Previously, as coach in the School of Public Health University of Albany’s GoldSTAMP Program, she has worked to improve the prevention and care of pressure ulcers across healthcare settings and has also worked as a per diem second nurse planner. She has experience with conducting mock surveys, mentoring and coaching, and building systems.

As an outstanding leader in implementing new systems as well as leading teams through change, Linda has been recognized with several awards, including Duquesne University’s Alumni Award; New York State’s Commissioner’s Award (as a team member); and she received recognition from the National Guard and Reserve as a Patriotic Employer, from the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Special thanks to our presenting sponsor: