AAHomecare hires new CEO

Sunday, August 27, 2006

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - After working six years on the O&P side of the DMEPOS equation, Tyler Wilson joined AAHomecare last week as the association's new president and CEO.

Wilson officially boards AAHomecare Sept. 18. He assumes the association's top post after working as the executive director of the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA) since 2000. He replaces Kay Cox, who resigned last winter.

"It's a larger industry, a bigger playing field--that had some allure," Wilson said last week. "This is a great opportunity to work with a lot of different companies in the home health and HME industry, but the association has to address some issues and that also attracted me."

As an O&P veteran, Wilson has lived on Medicare's frontline and has a clear handle on the industry's reimbursement challenges. Until he performs a "top-to-bottom review" of AAHomecare, Wilson said, he's not prepared to state specifically how he'll work to improve the association. However, in general, he plans to "make sure we are addressing the needs and providing services and benefits" that members find valuable. He also intends to strengthen the association's membership. He'll do that, in part, by "looking at areas where we can provide something that perhaps no one else can."

While the HME industry faces an image problem and the challenge of providing products and services in an environment of dwindling reimbursement, it also has a "good story to tell, and that makes the challenges easier to deal with," he said.

"To the extent that people can convalesce at home as opposed to an institution--that is very positive," he said. "There's been an ongoing discussion as to how you get your arms around the problems of Medicare and Medicaid. One way you don't is by making it impossible for people to provide the sorts of services and supplies that beneficiaries need."

In all, Wilson has worked in Washington for about 25 years. Prior to joining AOPA, he spent six years managing the membership division and government affairs department at the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). Earlier in his career, he served as an attorney for legislative and regulatory affairs in the domestic policy division of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. Wilson also worked as an attorney specializing in government relations and litigation at a Washington, D.C., law firm.

"He knows DMEPOS, he knows associations," said AAHomecare Chairman Tom Ryan. "We had well over a dozen candidates, narrowed that down to six, and it was unanimous that he was the one. He came to us as someone who has credibility, and that is the most important thing in Washington for our association. He thinks things through. He's his own person and not ego-driven. We need someone who can give credit to other people and rally the troops."

The search committee that chose Wilson included Invacare CEO Mal Mixon, Sunrise Medical CEO Mike Hammes and Apria CEO Larry Higby.

"I have been successful at AOPA over the last six years strengthening that association anyway you want to measure it," Wilson said. "Our financial picture is stronger today; membership is stronger; the service and benefits we deliver are stronger. I hope to transfer those skills and results to AAHomecare."