The Future Leaders Awards program is brought to you in partnership with Homecare Homebase. The program is designed to recognize up-and-coming industry members who are shaping the next decade of home health, hospice care, senior housing, skilled nursing and behavioral health. To see this year’s Future Leaders, visit https://futureleaders.agingmedia.com/.
Hannah Pearson, vice president of account management and client success for Homecare Homebase, has been named a 2023 Future Leader by Home Health Care News.
To become a Future Leader, an individual is nominated by their peers. The candidate must be a high-performing employee who is 40-years-old or younger, a passionate worker who knows how to put vision into action, and an advocate for seniors, and the committed professionals who ensure their well-being.
Pearson sat down with HHCN to talk about what drew her to the home health industry – and the need for the U.S. health care system to improve at delivering the “right care at the right time in the right setting.”
HHCN: What drew you to this industry?
Pearson: Since I was 14 years old, I have known I would spend my career in health care. While I was in graduate school, I wanted to find a job in health care technology, as I knew that technology would play an increasingly important role in the delivery of care. The right doors opened up for me at Homecare Homebase.
Once I completed my graduate degrees, I couldn’t leave. My heart wouldn’t let me. The mission of the home-based space, of Homecare Homebase, and everyone’s passion for what they did sucked me right in. As I personally witnessed members of my family utilize their home health and hospice benefits, it reiterated for me that what we do, what I do – every single day – it matters. Homecare Homebase is one of my life’s true loves, and seeing technology and people enable our mission of empowering exceptional care fuels my fire every single day.
What’s your biggest lesson learned since starting to work in this industry?
My biggest lesson started as a surprise – that home-based benefits are underutilized, underappreciated and, quite simply, misunderstood by so many people. Caregivers in the home-based space believe deeply in what they do; it’s a cost effective means for providing quality care exactly where people want to be – comfortably in their homes.
I’ve been shocked by how many both inside and outside of health care know nothing about home health. Every single chance I get, I try to educate those I encounter on the value of home-based care.
If you could change one thing with an eye toward the future of the home health industry, what would it be?
In so many ways, health care is broken. One of those ways is how segmented each vertical and care delivery model is.
Everyone out there is fighting for their lives in the health care space, working hard to preserve their place and financial reimbursement, and this segmented view is significantly more costly with often less-than-ideal outcomes for patients. If health care could be shifted to consider the continuum, to provide the right care at the right time in the right setting – if we were able to work together, across verticals to achieve this – it would be transformed.
Through this more holistic lens of providing care, I believe that home-based care would get the attention and support it deserves. Homecare Homebase has recently cast a vision of HCHB One, and I’m excited to see how this vision can positively impact health care’s brokenness.
What do you foresee as being different about the home health industry looking ahead to 2024?
It’s no secret that in D.C., they are trying to determine how to allocate funds to health care programming. These allocations will greatly impact providers, and the home-based care space will have to evolve in order to absorb rate cuts.
I would expect mergers and acquisitions to increase, and any provider that can more effectively operate at scale will face better odds at survival. Most home-based organizations operate with a branch-specific mindset; we will see many organizations begin to transition to centralization in order to better scale, and automation will become even more important, even critical, in our space.
Nursing shortages aren’t going away, either, and providers will continue to iterate on how to do more with less. These challenges, though, will be the breeding ground for innovation.
In a word, how would you describe the future of home health care?
Promising. I’ve already told you just how passionate people in the home-based space are about what they do every single day.
With this passion, innovation and the great need of home-based care for our ever-growing aging population, our industry is positioned to be a major, major player in the future of health care.
If you could give advice to yourself looking back to your first day in the industry, what would it be and why?
Don’t be intimidated by the problem, whatever the problem may be. Pick a place to start and simply do that – start. So much is learned in the journey, almost everything is iterated upon. And be courageous – it’s worth it.
To learn more about the Future Leaders program, visit https://futureleaders.agingmedia.com/.