The VNA Board of Directors recently announced that Ann O’Heir, RN has been selected to serve as the new President and CEO of the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA).
“Ann has an impressive career spanning nearly 30 years in healthcare and healthcare administration,” said Steve Tomory, VNA Board President. We are confident Ann is the right person at the right time for us as we move forward with a focus on continuing to provide the highest quality of hospice care, as well as supportive services such as VNA Meals on Wheels and Companion Homemaker services,” he added.
O’Heir began her career as a staff nurse in 1987 and over the years has served as a director of operations, administrator, and executive director. Most recently, O’Heir served as the Vice President of Home and Community Based Services with the not for profit Providence at Home in Tinley Park, IL.
When asked what drew her to the VNA, O’Heir quickly responded, “Their reputation. I’ve always heard wonderful things about the VNA’s quality of care and compassion. When I learned the VNA had sold their home health care division and was focusing their efforts on hospice care, I knew it would be a great fit. I’ve had a passion for hospice for 25 years and was excited about the opportunity. And, I’ve worked both in for profit and not for profit organizations, and not for profit is simply the right environment for me.”
What has surprised O’Heir most about the VNA during her first few weeks has been the extent of the community’s support, both through donations and volunteer service. “I was amazed to learn the VNA has nearly 400 volunteers. And, especially during the holiday season, people just dropped by with donations to help support the organization. It’s heartwarming to see the community so engaged and supportive of the mission of the VNA.”
O’Heir acknowledges the VNA faces some challenges. Perhaps one of the most pressing is helping the community to better understand the sale of the VNA’s home health care division. “We want the community to know that we are a strong, vibrant organization and we continue to provide hospice care, as well as VNA Meals on Wheels, companion homemaker services, Lifeline and children’s grief support at the VNA Phoenix Center. The only real change at the VNA is that we no longer provide home health care and home therapies.” Additionally, O’Heir says increased competition from for profit hospice agencies moving into the community challenges the VNA to better educate the community about the benefits of VNA Hospice care.
Moving forward, O’Heir says the VNA has just recently begun a new Palliative Care consultation program, providing services to help patients and families face the complex physical, psychological, social and spiritual problems that often accompany an advanced illness. “The program will help patients and their families as they continue to receive treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation, while working with the VNA Palliative Care team to help manage pain and symptoms.” In addition, the VNA will launch a new look early this year, including a new logo and more informative website.
Born in Illinois, O’Heir has spent most of her adult life in Northwest Indiana. She and her husband Craig live in Lowell and have two daughters, Nikki and Hannah, who attend Valparaiso University.