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Gillihan named CEO of Vanderbilt Home Care Services

May. 11, 2017, 10:20 AM

Kerry Gillihan, MHA, D.Sc., has been named president and CEO of Vanderbilt Home Care Services (VHCS), the home health care services of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC).

Kerry Gillihan, MHA, D.Sc.

He has managed and developed hospitals and health care systems, both acute and post-acute, in rural and urban settings within Kentucky since 1979.

VHCS has been a leading provider of home health operations since 1985, and it’s an area that’s fast growing with 275 full-time equivalent employees who last year drove more than 718,000 miles to see more than 35,000 patients. The VUMC home health team is made up of nurses and physical, occupational and speech therapists, companions and patient care attendants.

“The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that home care will be the fastest growing industry in this country over the next 10 years,” Gillihan said, referring to statistics published in 2015.
“Not just in health care. The fastest growing industry, period,” he said. In fact, the Bureau projects a yearly growth of about 5 percent over the next 10 years.

“There’s been a huge shift in post-acute demand stimulated by the Affordable Care Act, and there’s pressure to get patients out of the hospital and into alternative health care settings as fast as possible,” he said. And along with that, patients are sicker when they are sent home from the hospital, especially those coming from a large academic medical center like Vanderbilt.”

Most of the patients served have been discharged from VUMC and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and need further care. A Vanderbilt physician writes an order for home health care when the patient is discharged from the hospital or clinic. Of all the Vanderbilt patient discharges that go to other post-acute care settings, the home care operation receives the clear majority.

“The best thing about home health care is that people can receive care in the comfort of their own home, which is where they want to be,” Gillihan said. “It’s also the least expensive setting for care and it keeps people out of the hospital and from returning to the hospital as a readmission for the same reasons.”

In many home care settings, patients are being sent home with more technology in place such as home monitoring, he said.

“Patients are connected to devices at home, and when their blood pressure or oxygen saturation spikes or falls, an alert is sent to the patient’s doctor or nurse, and home health is called. Future plans call for Vanderbilt Home Care to implement such telehealth technologies. These technologies, which improve each year, are useful in managing health and lowering the cost of health care.

“Many private, for-profit home health care companies won’t take patients as sick as the ones seen by VHCS,” Gillihan said.

The home care service currently covers Davidson County and six surrounding counties (Cheatham, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, Wilson).

In March VHCS had more than 800 active patients.

“After conducting a national search and reviewing many candidates, Kerry was a standout and we are super excited to have him on our team,” said Laura Beth Brown, vice president of Vanderbilt Health Services and president of VHCS.

Gillihan and his wife, Pamela, a registered nurse, live in Franklin, Tennessee. They have one daughter and two grandsons.

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