Expect new faces, same goal at AAHomecare

Friday, March 29, 2013

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – There’s a changing of the guards in the works at AAHomecare, but it won’t slow down the association’s efforts, leaders say.

AAHomecare and President/CEO Tyler Wilson have mutually agreed that he will leave the association in September, when his contract expires. Other recent departures: Walt Gorski, vice president of government affairs; Michael Reinemer, vice president of communications and policy; and Stacey Harms, manager of government affairs. The departures come at a time when AAHomecare is on the front lines fighting competitive bidding and audits.

“We’re going to keep focused on getting the job done,” said John Shirvinsky, an immediate past chairman. “You can’t be distracted by things like this.”

AAHomecare has already started the process to find Wilson’s replacement. Leaders expect him or her to be in place and up to speed long before September. The association is also working to replace Gorski, now a consultant. In the meantime, his counterpart, Jay Witter, who leads the association’s lobbying activities, will keep the association active in regulatory matters.

The timing of the departures, especially of Wilson and Gorski, AAHomecare’s most public faces, is coincidental, leaders say.

“The two are completely unrelated,” said Joel Marx, chairman. “Walt leaving was unexpected and he will be missed. But we have a lot of support behind us. Attorney Asela Cuervo has indicated that she can spend more time with the association, and she’s one of the most talented people in regulatory matters.”

While AAHomecare, under Wilson’s leadership, has been unable to slay the industry’s biggest foe—competitive bidding—leaders say the association is far better off than it was six years ago.

“When Tyler came in, we had no financial strength, no ability to spend money,” Marx said. “The investments that we made last year alone to fight competitive bidding were in the seven figures.”

AAHomecare may have a new leader soon, but the association will remain laser focused on replacing competitive bidding with a market-pricing program (MPP), leaders say.

“Any time there is a change in senior management, work and communication styles will be unique to each leader, but the priorities are likely to change very little,” said Robert Steedley, incoming chairman. “We have a strong commitment to continue efforts with MPP, as well as addressing other problems.”