AAHomecare CEO resigns

Sunday, February 12, 2006

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - AAHomecare CEO Kay Cox resigned last week after she and the association's executive board mutually agreed to part ways.

"The important thing is that we've decided mutually to move along in a different direction," said Mario LaCute, board treasurer. "She'll have the opportunity to pursue some other career options, and we're going to have the opportunity to pursue some other leadership."

AAHomecare hired Cox in June 2003 to replace Tom Connaughton, who left after his contract expired. Cox came to AAHomecare with more than 20 years' experience in the healthcare industry. She took over at a difficult time. The industry faced pending legislation that included numerous reimbursement cuts, mandatory accreditation and national competitive bidding. Despite industry lobbying efforts, that bill passed. Last month, Congress passed a deficit reduction bill that capped Medicare oxygen reimbursement.

AAHomecare's executive board expects to hire a replacement for Cox in four to six months, said Chairman Tom Ryan.

"Our expectation would be that the person we (hire) can move home care away from being a target for cuts and become more of an option for savings," LaCute said

Until a new CEO is hired, AAHomecare COO Sue Mairena will oversee the day-to-day activities, working closely with the executive committee of the board.

"We need to have an ambassador at the top and maybe not be so much of a government-relations type person," Ryan said. "We need someone who believes in home care and who can relay that message."

That message: Home care is cost effective, clinically efficacious and patient preferred. Whoever replaces Cox, the association's top priority will remain to further the regulatory and legislative interests of members, LaCute said.