Meet Deborah Vermillion: Home Care CEO Aims to Keep Seniors at Home as Long as Possible

Friday, March 13th, 2015
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

Deborah Vermillion, RN, MSHCA, CSA, CDE, President/Owner of ComForcare Homecare, a non-medical home care business.

This month we provide an inside look at a healthcare case manager, the choices she made on the road to success and the challenges ahead.

HIN: Tell us a little about yourself and your credentials.

(Deborah Vermillion) I have been in the healthcare workforce for 36 years. I am a registered nurse. I have a master’s degree in health care administration. I am a certified senior advisor. I am also certified in diabetic education.

What was your first job out of college and how did you get into case management?

My first job out of college was in an intensive care unit (ICU)/coronary care unit (CCU) at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh as a staff nurse. After four years as a staff nurse and supervisor, I entered medical sales in the home care equipment and infusion industry. During that time it was very important to manage discharge planning as it related to the items we were providing. That was the beginning of my entry into case management.

Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road?

I always knew that I wanted to be a nurse. My nursing education has led to continued growth and career development, and has been the springboard to all that I have achieved.

In brief, describe your organization.

I own a non-medical home care business. We provide activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) care to seniors in their homes. Our goal is to keep seniors at home for as long as possible. Because I am a nurse we also provide private duty nursing services. We will be expanding this product line through accreditation this year.

What are two or three important concepts or rules that you follow in case management?

  • Follow all cases through to completion.
  • Pay attention to all client details in order to avoid any unforeseen issues.
  • Understand that we are working in their environment, not an institutional environment. Adjust our approach to achieve the best results without being overly invasive.

What is the single most successful thing that your organization is doing now?

Because of our care for each of our clients we have been able to keep readmission rates to a minimum. When we last measured we were at five percent.

Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2015?

We need to continue to pay attention to details. We have instituted a more robust quality management program that we hope will bring a stronger platform to our already complete care.

What is the most satisfying thing about being a case manager?

Being able to keep the client at home, aging in place up to their death.

What is the greatest challenge in case management and how are you working to overcome this challenge?

Communication between the various organizations that care for the client in the home. I constantly have to chase the Medicare agencies to ask for cross communication; most of the time they do not call back and obviously do not feel the importance in communicating to support continuity of care.

What is the single most effective workflow, process, tool or form you are using in case management today?

We have a Dementia Wise Training program that certifies our caregivers in dementia care. It is 8.5 hours of training. It has truly raised the bar of care for our clients with dementia, and it makes care much easier for caregivers as well.

Where did you grow up?

Pittsburgh, PA

What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?

University of Pittsburgh. Graduation day stands out. It was a very difficult five-year program and I was extremely proud and happy when I made it through.

Are you married? Do you have children?

I have been happily married for 28 years and I am the proud parent of two great sons — ages 24 and 27.
Yes and yes.

What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?

Snow skiing. I learned at the age of 22. I have improved every year and have become a relatively good intermediate skiier.

Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?

American Sniper.

Do you have any additional comments about case management or the industry in general?

I believe that the case management industry needs to employ the very best. They need to be given full knowledge so that they can advise their clients of all their options as accurately as possible.

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