The Private Duty Home Care Advisory Board is made of some of the most experienced and talented leaders in the private duty community. Each of our Advisory board members is committed to the mission and vision of the organization and ensuring our members are well represented and receive the tools, support, and resources you need to provide the highest quality and caliber care and services to your clients and families.
In our reoccurring Advisory Board Profile series we invite you to get to know our advisory board members better through a short Q&A interview, and learn more about why they choose to dedicate their professional lives to the private duty home care community.
Last week, we introduced you to Kristen Wheeler Director of Private Duty Services from the Home Care Association of Florida. This week, we have the pleasure of sharing a little more with you about Mike Young SVP, Payer Relations and Government Relations, Aveanna Healthcare.
Tell me about how you would describe what you do to someone you just met.
I lead the Payer and Government Relations team at Aveanna Healthcare. We are responsible for negotiating appropriate reimbursement rates and advocating for our patients, families, caregivers and employees in the 27 states we currently serve. We deal with a complex mix of Medicaid, Medicare, MCOs, insurance, and other diverse payers across our business lines that include skilled nursing, therapy, medical solutions, support services, wellness, and more.
Tell me about how you ended up working in home care. How did your professional journey bring you to where you are today?
I started my home care career back in the mid-1980s. I started out in the home infusion therapy business, and then ended up in home health care and hospice. In 2020, I entered into the PDN world, where we take care of medically complex pediatric and adult patients. Coming from the world of geriatric home health and hospice, this seemed like a natural extension to continue my work in the home setting.
Why choose private duty home care? Why not something else, or some other part of home care?
This was a challenge to me, since I had never worked in this part of the home care industry. There are certainly other avenues to take from a career perspective, but once you see the difference you can make in a child’s life, you know that this is where you belong. To positively impact literally thousands of children, thousands of families, and thousands of caregivers is an extreme privilege. I can’t think of a more meaningful place to work.
What do you find to be the most rewarding about your job?
Having the opportunity to build the team from the start, and the fact that we are leaders in taking care of medically fragile children. We have quickly assembled a great team, and through our work, we are able to reach more key decisionmakers and let them know about our care, our investment in that care, and why it means so much.
As an industry, we are beginning to come together and become more organized about how we express the value of what we provide each day to our families. The best thing you can ask for in anything you do is to feel you have purpose, and to feel that your work has impact. We never have a day where our purpose or our impact is in question.
Conversely, what do you find to be most challenging?
It’s challenging to negotiate better rates with Payers so we can continue to invest in our clinicians and associates. Most of our business is reimbursed by Medicaid, and every state we serve faces budget pressures. Add in a global pandemic and a severe nursing shortage, and the difficulties multiply. There’s no doubt we have even greater challenges to overcome in 2020 and beyond, but one thing we have on our side is energy and conviction. There’s too much at stake not to fight with everything we have.
What Is your favorite memory working in private duty home care? Why?
Since I’m in my first year, it’s about learning everything related to this part of the home care industry. But I can tell you every time I hear a parent advocate for their child and their care, it reminds me of why I am here. It’s my job to stand with them and stand up for them to help bring them all the care they deserve.
What is the one thing that keeps you up at night professionally?
That with one stroke of a pen we can have our rates cut in a significant state that we do business in, putting us at risk of potentially having to leave a market and not be able to provide quality care to our patients. We have to help legislators across the country understand how high the stakes are that we all face if rates can’t keep up with the needs of a viable business.
What made you first get involved with Private Duty Home Care at NAHC?
The chance to reconnect with NAHC and Bill again, and to be part of an advocacy group dedicated to supporting Private Duty Nursing. While home health and hospice are more mature in their political and grass roots advocacy, PDN is still a maturing health setting. We have so much to gain by working together to bring our voice to the table, and NAHC and Private Duty Home Care at NAHC, provide the well-established and well-respected organization that we need to partner with if we are going to achieve success.
What would you say to someone considering becoming a Private Home Care at NAHC member?
You should jump at the opportunity to get to learn and discuss the key issues with your peers and build new acquaintances and friends. More than that, we are strongest when we work together. We share common ground as healthcare leaders and advocates for our care. The more participation we have, the stronger our collective voice becomes.
What would you say to someone who was considering a career in private duty home care?
You should absolutely pursue it. It’s a unique slice of home care and one in which the needs of the patients must be met and improved upon moving forward. Your help is desperately needed. Once you meet one patient and one family, you will understand what an enormous difference you can make here.
On behalf of everyone at the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, we thank Mike for his detailed and candid responses. We are honored to have him as a distinguished member of the PD Advisory Board and thank him for his dedication, commitment, and passion to the Private Duty home care community.