VNAHG’s New CEO Breaks Down Overlooked Challenges In Home Health Care

In search for its next CEO, the Visiting Nurse Association Health Group (VNAHG) was looking for a strong, up-and-coming health care leader. But the company was also looking to fill the shoes of Dr. Steve Landers, meaning they’d need to find a strong advocate voice with a passion for the home health industry and the patients it serves.

With Christopher Rinn, VNAHG believes they have all of those things. His time there will officially begin in early August.

“We are in the people business, we are in the care business,” Rinn told Home Health Care News. “In order to be in that business, you have to be really in tune with your relationships. Building those is critically important – across the continuum, across the spectrum, internally and externally.”


The Holmdel, New Jersey-based VNAHG is an independent and nonprofit provider of home-based health services in New Jersey and Ohio. Its 2,500 employees deliver home health, hospice, palliative and personal care services to 150,000 individuals.

Landers announced in May that he would be leaving VNAHG after more than a decade at the helm. He is headed to Hebrew SeniorLife, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated senior living provider that is also a research and educational organization.

On Rinn’s end, he has served as the CEO for VNA of Central Jersey Community Health Centers (CHS), the acting commissioner for the New Jersey Department of Health and the executive director of emergency medical services and government affairs for Jersey City Medical Center.


His next role will not be an easy one. VNAHG grew significantly under Landers’ watch. Now he is trying to keep up that growth trajectory while navigating an increasingly tough payment environment in home health care.

“I’m in an organization that is the future of health care and the future of medicine,” Rinn said. “Being in a position in the organization to help it grow, to help shape its future, to help support the teams and the communities that we serve is an unbelievable opportunity.”

Despite the payment environment, that’s what Rinn believes is the opportunity: to lead an organization that has operated in the home and community for over 100 years at a time when more care is being decentralized out of brick-and-mortar facilities.

But there are plenty of challenges. Even before the payment environment, Rinn believes the focus needs to be on ensuring VNAHG has a steady workforce.

“Coming out of a pandemic, our workers are tired and still dealing with some of the impact from it,” Rinn said. “We need to find out what a good new normal is. We have the ability to work from home, remotely, with telemedicine. There’s a lot of changes that are all happening at the same time as our workforce is getting back on its feet.”

While the workforce is still fatigued coming out of a pandemic, the average patient in home health care is also looking different.

Patients discharged to home health care are more complex than they were five years ago, for instance. That’s another challenge Rinn thinks VNAHG needs to adjust to sooner rather than later.

“As hospitals discharge more complex patients to the home, home care needs to continue to innovate,” he said. “[Providers] need to continue to invest in technology and in performance to get good outcomes in a cost-effective way for those very complex patients that really need care. I think that’s a challenge for us to do so in a payment system that isn’t necessarily reimbursing us as it should.”

Last week, a month before Rinn was set to officially take over VNAHG, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) came out with its proposed payment rule for home health care.

That included a 2.2% proposed cut to payments.

While Rinn bemoaned potential cuts, he also worried about what these proposals do the workforce’s collective psyche.

“Our health care workers read about these proposed cuts, and I’m concerned about what goes through their minds,” he said. “They have enough challenges. Cuts – and what that means for them – should be the least of their worries. So, even if a a proposed reduction is followed by a lesser one [in the final rule], it is very concerning and poses a whole new host of challenges.”

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