In the middle of a busy 3-day conference, VNAA CEO Tracey Moorhead took time to speak with Home Care Technology Report editor Tim Rowan for a few minutes to unpack the meaning of her April 19 announcement of the formation of “ElevatingHOME,” a member-driven national association, which she will serve as President and CEO. Her answer to our first question cannot be expressed in writing as emphatically as it was stated.
HCTR: Now that your nearly two-year planning has come to fruition and Elevating Home has been introduced, the first question on everyone’s mind has to be what your vision is. You put attendees at today’s National Leadership Conference through an exercise to brainstorm their own vision but certainly you must have one of your own for what ElevatingHOME should become and what its initial activities should be.
Moorhead: “No, I don’t! It’s not about me. It’s about having a member-driven organization. From the first day the VNAA board talked about this in June, 2015, they talked about the term “member-value organization,” an organization that provides value to the members and is responsive to their needs, and that has been at the core of their mission to develop this organization. The way we are thinking of it now is that not only will it be member-driven, with all of the decisions coming from the members, but that it will be board-managed. The board will be the true leaders. The board will be making decisions.
It was the board that made a conscious decision that we did not want to launch ElevatingHOME with a fully formed strategic plan. If we had done that, it would have been complete anathema to what we were saying about being member-driven and board-managed. We want to engage people, to hear what potential members want to focus on. The first thing we want to do is listen to the industry, engage people, have them decide what to do first. [More details are provided in this article about the board of directors’-led strategic planning initiatives of Elevating Home, which Moorhead notes is exactly how initiatives at VNAA have been followed through with. She explains: “For the VNAA board, it was critical to have them driving this, to have them making those decisions, to have them in charge of every aspect of creating ElevatingHOME, and that is exactly the way we did it. We won’t be successful unless it is a collaborative effort.” She noes, too, that ElevatingHOME’s first member organization is the Council of State Association, which, she notes, ElevatingHOME will work closely with as allies. She says: “The board and I will continue to speak at their state meetings to get the word out and engage them in the process.” The prominence of the home as the center of healthcare is the position envisioned for ElevatingHOME.]
HCTR: So, you will be a coordinator as much as a CEO, implementing what they tell you to do.
Moorhead: Absolutely, and frankly that’s the way it has worked at VNAA. Our strategic planning initiatives, the management of our strategic plan, the management of our initiatives, have always been led by our board of directors. I think that, in order to ensure that your board is engaged, your board is supportive and that they are telling their colleagues about the value they find in this new organization, you have to understand why you’re doing something. For the VNAA board, it was critical to have them driving this, to have them making those decisions, to have them in charge of every aspect of creating ElevatingHOME, and that is exactly the way we did it. We won’t be successful unless it is a collaborative effort.
HCTR: How will you get started? You will have to build a membership base first.
Moorhead: Our first member organization is already with us. Having the Council of State Associations as our first member was critical to the board, so we were thrilled that they voted unanimously to join ElevatingHOMEand we will work closely with them as allies. The board and I will continue to speak at their state meetings to get the word out and engage them in the process.
HCTR: And that message is?
Moorhead: For me, the most important message is that we are taking an entirely different approach. We do not want to be a reactive industry organization; we want to be an industry organization that is envisioning a better position for Healthcare at Home. We want to talk about and develop a model for the home as the center of healthcare; the home in support of primary care; the home in support of the patient managing chronic illness; the home in coordination with the hospital.
We want to underscore the value of the home to all provider partners who diagnose and treat patients. We are not looking to usurp physicians or hospitals in any way; we are looking to demonstrate our value as a critical partner as opposed to an afterthought. We want to change the way they think about home-based care, and the services home health, hospice, palliative care can provide.
HCTR: How will you execute?
Moorhead: Following the messaging is the engagement part, which is deeply important and complementary. It starts with the development of a model through engagement with members in all 50 states. Bob Fazzi and the rest of the board have put together a Strategic Action Initiative, an engagement process over the next three months to invite leaders from agencies in all 50 states to provide input to us about how this model will look and work. We want to hear about case studies from innovative programs, pilots, other agency self-funded initiatives that have allowed them to change the way care is delivered in the home.
We are very excited about this. We strongly believe that engaging agencies in this way, working through state associations, will help demonstrate to them the value proposition. If we can take their small pilots that have proven value and blow them up into a bigger program and incorporate them into a broader model, they are going to see value; they are going to feel heard; they are going to be involved in the direction of a new organization.
HCTR: This is starting right away?
Moorhead: The goal is to have the strategic plan completed through that process by the beginning of October.
HCTR: Actually, the Council of States is the second member of ElevatingHOME, correct? The VNAA is the first member, with a few of its board members also serving on the new board. Are VNAA member agencies asking what their status will be under ElevatingHOME?
Moorhead: There will be a two-part strategic planning effort. Now that we have created ElevatingHOME to lead the industry, services such as education, advocacy and quality improvement training, which are applicable to both for-profit and non-profit agencies, hospices and palliative care providers, will move up to be services from ElevatingHOME. The VNAA, as a subsidiary, will provide services that are specific to the unique needs of non-profits. We have broadly defined those as training, leadership skills, and fundraising. During the startup, I will continue to hold the title of president and CEO of the VNAA for now.
HCTR: When you sketched out this idea at the Homecare 100 meeting in February, before the name “ElevatingHOME” was chosen, you said your research had turned up as many as 14 different national associations for home-based care providers. There are going to be questions about how you will relate to other organizations.
Moorhead: While 14 is certainly too many, there is no one organization that could serve every need. Many of these organization were formed out of agency frustration that their needs were not being met by any other national association. If ElevatingHOMEbecomes what we know it can become and meets those missing needs, perhaps not all 14 need to continue to exist. The ones that do continue, the ones with unique services for the needs of their unique members, we want to partner with them.
I know there are questions. “It’s another new organization. What does that mean? How is it going to impact me?” The only way to answer those questions is for ElevatingHOME to be a consistent, transparent leader for this industry, and by having folks on the founding board be the key messengers of that. Those are the folks who are going to be leading the charge to engage their colleagues in other organizations.
We will focus on individual agency membership and let agencies decide what associations to join. I believe every agency should join any state or national association that provides value. If that is one or three or seven, then they should be members of those organizations because every organization is not going to offer the same suite of services. For example, we are not going to be involved with private duty; we are not going to do state level services. We will help coordinate services, we will help states with advocacy but we will not try to provide every possible service. So I can see value in agencies wanting to be members of ElevatingHOME and another association but it is entirely up to them. We will endeavor to be the best value add for these agencies.
We have spoken with many other organizations, all that are willing to speak with us, about becoming part of ElevatingHOME. We are willing to talk with all of them about this. I have briefed all of them. We have been very transparent about what we are going to offer, our status, our purpose. I’m on some of their boards. As we understand some of the challenges these organizations have, we might be working closely together in both the short and long term. At the end of the day are we not stronger together?
©2017 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Tim Rowan’s Home Care Technology Report. homecaretechreport.com One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only. firstname.lastname@example.org