Setting Records, Making Contacts and
Changing Times Top List at #ACUU2015
Albany (6/10/2015) - There was more than one highlight at this year's ACUU (Aging Concerns Unite Us) conference. Everything from opening session keynote speaker, Ann Monroe, President of the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York, to the Sixties inspired celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act with a slideshow by the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) received high marks from conference attendees.
"Great opening," said Phil Shippers of ElderOne. "Ann Monroe was an excellent, engaging and entertaining speaker." Cindy Stout, with the Cortland Office for the Aging, agreed: "She's very engaging and an appropriate choice for the change that is currently happening."
Mike Romano, the Association on Aging in New York's Board President and Oneida County County Office for Aging & Continuing Care Director, opened the conference followed by remarks from NYSOFA Director Corinda Crossdale, who enjoyed Ann Monroe's presentation as much as everyone else and moved from the dais to a seat in the audience just to get a better view of Ann's accompanying PowerPoint. In her keynote presentation, Ann spoke about the changes that have arisen as a result of the Affordable Care Act and described two models of care – the social model and medical model – and the challenge of melding the two.
“We’re in a grand experiment,” she said, referring mostly to the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Plan program, which she is intimately involved with at the state level as co-chair of the oversight panel for DSRIP. “We’re really trying to bridge two very different historical models, very different focuses and very different reimbursement systems.”
Visit ACUU Handouts Page
The ACUU conference featured more than 30 workshops. If you missed one to attend another or just want to review the handouts, click here to visit our handouts page.
The 50th Anniversary of the Older Americans Act
The 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Older Americans Act included an engaging slideshow presentation from Greg Olsen, Executive Deputy Director of NYSOFA; remarks by Kathleen Otte, representing the Administration for Community Living; and a performance by the Schenectady Tapping Into The Arts Improv Group, courtesy of Schenectady County Dept. of Senior & LTC Services Manager Laurie Bacheldor.
Mary Ann Spanos, Director of the Chautauqua County Office for the Aging, introduced Mark Kissinger, Director of New York's Long Term Care Division of the Department of Healthy.
The slideshow celebrating milestones of the Older Americans Act, as well as New York's unique contributions, was compelling for the audience, and Greg Olsen, gave a stellar performance narrating.
"We're grateful to NYSOFA for creating the fabulous presentation produced by Greg Olsen, Reza Mizbani and Kelly Mateja and everyone involved," said Laura Cameron, Executive Director of the Association on Aging in New York.
"It was a fun way to close the conference and an interesting way to expand on the changes to the world following the passage of the Older Americans Act," said Kevin Monaghan, Orange County Office for the Aging.
"Well done," one reviewer wrote in a post conference evaluation. "Enjoyed the walk through the years," another wrote about the slideshow presentation.
The celebration was capped with a 50th Anniversary cake with sparklers and the ever-popular "Celebration" song by Kool and the Gang.
Collaboration is Key
The ACUU (Aging Concerns Unite Us) Conference that concluded on June 10 set a record for attendance this year – close to 500 attendees – and pulled in aging services professionals from every corner of the state, including Area Agency on Aging staff, human service agencies, behavioral health groups. Together they made up the ingredients for what Mark Kissinger, Long Term Care Director for New York State, promoted in his ACUU presentation – collaboration.
“Collaboration is the key to the whole thing,” when it comes to the core of long term care service moving from acute care service to long term care service, Kissinger said in his presentation, called “Putting the Pieces Together: Medicaid Redesign and Long Term Care.”
A new, popular Expanded In-home Services for the Elderly training track was added this year.
Once again this year, Kissinger filled the room at the Desmond Hotel in Albany, where the ACUU conference has been held for several years in a row. But that was true in many of the meeting rooms of the Albany-Shaker Road hotel. And the variety and caliber of workshops was noted by more than one person.
Workshops Receive Rave Reviews
One of the goals of the conference is to share best practices, and the goal was met with sessions like "NEW-trition: Retooling and Rebranding AAA Nutrition Programs" by Randy Hoak, Commissioner of the Erie County Department of Senior Services, with colleagues Richard Derwald and Nicole Kmicinski. One reviewer called it a "model of excellence for the rest of the AAAs."
"Very organized, excellent, best session so far! Go Randy!" another wrote.A second Erie County Department of Senior Services workshop, "Ready, Set, Home" also received high marks. One conference-goer couldn't point to one a-ah moment: "It was all excellent," they wrote. “There were so many great sessions that happened at the same time it was hard to pick,” said Beth van Bladel, Director of Capital Region Patient Advocacy, after the closing session.
Subjects ran the gamut from Medicaid Redesign to care transitions, retooling and rebranding nutrition programs empowering older adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, disaster planning, scam prevention and case management assessment.
During the two day event a new EISEP Case Management training track was introduced. During the closing session, Amy Haskins, Wayne County Department of Aging and Youth Coordinator of Aging Services, said she attended the COMPASS assessment session of the EISEP training covered during the morning session. It's so important, the COMPASS assessment, she said. “It drives your services, especially with the implementation of person centered planning."
ACUU's 50th Anniversary of the Older American's Act celebration featured the Schenectady Tapping Into The Arts Improv Group
The COMPASS assessment is used to determine need as well as ability to pay for services and becomes the vehicle for developing a care plan.
Wayne County’s subcontractor used to do the COMPASS assessments and the office for aging did the reassessment, but the reverse is happening now, and the goal is to bring both assessment and reassessment into the Wayne County Department of Aging and Youth.
The reason is because the office for aging has a good handle on what services are available to help residents “age in place,” said Penny Shockley, Director of the Wayne County Department for Aging and Youth and a member of the Association on Aging in NY Board of Directors.
A third EISEP session, Implementing Person-Centered Planning and Self Direction, by William Lane was also valuable, especially to case managers. "This was my favorite workshop! Most informative," one person wrote in the evaluation.
"Excellent review of information I already have but presented in a way that was easily understood. William (Lane) really knew his stuff – would go to his training again!" another exclaimed.
Next year's ACUU conference is scheduled to be held on June 7 and 8, 2016 at the Albany Desmond Hotel. The conference is supported by the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) and coordinated by the Association on Aging in New York.
The Association on Aging in New York represents the state’s 59 mostly county-based local offices for the aging established under the federal Older Americans Act to respond to the needs of Americans age 60 and over. The Association provides professional development and education that includes the annual Aging Concerns Unite Us (ACUU) conference, webinars, regional caregiver forums and a fall Leadership Institute. The Association works to strengthen and expand long term services and supports to individuals so they may age in place in the community. A core philosophy is to work in collaboration with other agencies.