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November 24, 2008



Andy Carter, CEO of the Visiting Nurse Associations of America, says VNAA’s nimbleness as a “small, boutique association” with 165 not-for-profit agency members across the country allowed it to re-locate from Boston to DC less than a year after a board directive to be front and center for the impending healthcare debate before Congress.


Hired in April ’07, Andy found out just four months before the Jan. 2 move that only one of his 15 Boston staffers was willing to go, so he had to assemble a team from scratch. Andy says the foresight of the 15-member board to be financially ready for an expensive move was key for an association with a budget of only $4 M.  He recommends hiring good firms—he used Cushman and Wakefield as realtor, Association Strategies to recruit talent, and OTJ Architects to build-out the office space at 900 19th St., just off of K. The only thing he wishes he could have done differently was have a two-month overlap of core staff running simultaneously in Boston and DC, instead of just one month to ensure a better preservation of business relations.


Even though VNAs started over 100 years ago (VNAA formed in 1983), Andy thinks the idea of home healthcare and hospice care is a modern one that can save citizens and government money by providing preventive care and cutting down on hospital stays. Andy says VNAs are also important to local communities where they serve mostly Medicare patients, administering approximately 1.5 M flu shots a year. In order to get the VNAA message across to Congress, Andy decided he needed to better engage members—so he makes site visits, and he hired tech firm Pantheon to host and design VNAA’s new Web site, which helps members learn what services are available. He also started teleconferences with medical/healthcare practitioners to put member dollars to work; and he’s planning to launch a membership drive led by members. The first year goal is for members themselves to help recruit 12 additional VNAs and other nonprofit home-health agencies.


Andy says the corner of his office is shaped like the prow of a ship, which makes him feel like he is leading the association into the future. When not at that prow, Andy likes to SCUBA dive 80 feet under water to artificial reefs on sunken navy vessels. He says swimming along a 500-foot vessel “is like you’re flying along Fifth Avenue.” His next trip:  a week-long dive trip to Dutch Bonaire off the coast of Venezuela, where he’ll be joined by an old buddy from the Kennedy School at Harvard.

Cardinal Bank
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