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A message from Diane Leclair, Chair, Board of Directors, VNA Care 

It is with mixed feelings that I, on behalf of the VNA Care and Atrius Health Board of Directors, announce that Mary Ann O’Connor, our President & CEO, will be retiring in January 2018. While we wish her good health and happiness in the next chapter of her life, we will certainly miss her visionary leadership, passion and dedication to our staff and mission.

During Mary Ann’s tenure, and because of her leadership, VNA Care has been transformed into the strong, well-positioned organization we are today. 

Shortly after coming on-board, Mary Ann led the merger and acquisition team to acquire UMass Memorial Home Care & Hospice, ensuring uninterrupted access to home care services to the residents of Central Massachusetts. Parallel to this initiative, Mary Ann led the effort of an innovative partnership with the Commonwealth’s largest independent physician group, Atrius Health. By combining home health and hospice and palliative care with the medical practice, we have been able to make significant progress towards achieving our collective goal of providing the right care with kindness and compassion every day for every person we serve with the vision of transforming care to improve lives. 

Shortly thereafter, Mary Ann began conversations with VNA of Boston and VNA Hospice Care of a potential merger. She is passionate about protecting the ideal of independent, community-based visiting nurse associations, and by combining the abilities of all organizations; we were better positioned in continuing to care for our community long into the future. Just recently, Mary Ann has been one of the primary drivers in the exploration and implementation of Medically Home, an innovative program that has the potential of transforming the way in which care is delivered nationwide. 

While constantly looking outward for opportunities to further advance the organization, Mary Ann never lost focus on what was happening in her own house. Over the past several years, VNA Care has been acknowledged as a HomeCare Elite agency as well as Best of Central MA for top of industry quality outcomes and financial measurements. VNA Care has also achieved industry leading low readmission rates for telehealth patients receiving home health care services. 

When asked about her thoughts over the past several years, Mary Ann shared, “It has been a true honor to work with and on behalf VNA Care. I have so enjoyed the important work we have done together. We have been diligent in our quest to enhance the capability of home care and hospice for our patients and families, our community, and our provider partners, which has put us on the forefront as innovators in Massachusetts. VNA Care is now the largest non-hospital affiliated home health, palliative and hospice provider in New England! On any given day, we are now caring for approximately 7,500 patients in more than 200 communities throughout Eastern and Central Massachusetts.” She went on to say, “The work that we have done together is now recognized by many of our important partners as highly effective in the goal to keep our patients and families out of the hospital and emergency room and in our ability to safely deliver quality care in the home. I wish to thank each and every one of you for all the support you have given me during my time with you. I will always remember it as filled with purpose and fulfillment.” 

VNA Care is in a strong position during this period of unprecedented change in the health care arena. As Mary Ann has said many times, “Health care is Moving Home.” VNA Care’s strategy of designing our approach to care as a “pre-acute” as opposed to “post-acute” will continue to shape our work and guide our future. We are fortunate to have an influential, knowledgeable Board of Directors, a stellar senior team, as well as highly effective clinical, operational, financial, and technological management teams; and equally important, committed, well-trained and caring employees. 
 
Atrius Health President & CEO, Dr. Steven Strongwater, shared that “Mary Ann has provided a kind of visionary leadership to VNA Care that is rare to come by. VNA Care is now well positioned for long-term success, irrespective of future reimbursement changes which might challenge other organizations. Mary Ann is the glue that has brought together and aligned many VNAs and Atrius Health. Her clarity of vision, passion, dedication to the mission of the VNA Care and extraordinary hard work has set a high bar for us all.” He went on to say, “From the first day I arrived at Atrius Health, it was clear that Mary Ann is a visionary. She and I both believe that a strong partnership between home care and the medical practice would offer us the ability to dramatically change the way care is provided. In my opinion, we have made extraordinary progress in a short period of time.”

While we will all miss Mary Ann’s extraordinary leadership, we must look towards our future to ensure our great work continues. The Board of Directors has engaged the services of Witt Kieffer, a health care executive search firm specializing in home care and hospice, to conduct the search for Mary Ann’s successor.

Please join me in extending Mary Ann our congratulations and best wishes, and our appreciation for her years of impeccable service.

Sincerely,

Diane L. Leclair, CPA
Chair, Board of Directors
VNA Care
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