Heather O’Sullivan, MS, AGNP, a clinical executive with more than 20 years of experience, has been named Mass General Brigham’s inaugural President of Home-Based Care. In this transformative role, Heather will be instrumental in expanding Mass General Brigham’s ability and capacity to shift care beyond traditional hospital settings to home-based care, with the goal of improving patient outcomes, increasing access, and lowering costs.
“Home Care was founded upon the belief that people recover better at home,” said Gregg S. Meyer, MD, MSc, President of Community Division and Executive Vice President of Value-Based Care, Mass General Brigham. “Heather is joining at a critical juncture for Mass General Brigham and the future of health care delivery. Due to the COVID pandemic and the evolving needs of our community, we have seen an accelerated demand for home hospital offerings. We are dedicated to placing patients at the center of everything we do, no matter where they are, and the future of health care is in the home.”
As President of Home-Based Care, Heather will work to evolve Mass General Brigham’s strategy on home-based care, while leading a team of more than 1,000 employees across skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, case management, social work, speech therapy, and home health. Heather will play a critical role in leveraging the broader abilities of Mass General Brigham to provide world-class care that is tailored specifically to meet the needs of patients from the comfort of their homes.
Shifting the site of care to lower cost sites is a critical element of Mass General Brigham’s strategy to reduce spending and meaningfully impact the cost growth trend. In addition to reductions in direct expenditures, scaling home-based care affords valuable benefits to patients through an improved patient experience, including the ability to be surrounded by family and friends and to be more active in the comfort of a home setting. Research shows that home-based care can provide more patient-centered and satisfying care, lower complication rates, reduce Emergency Department utilization, and lead to improved patient outcomes for patients who can safely be transitioned out of a hospital setting.
A randomized clinical trial demonstrated that home-based hospital care carries direct cost reductions of 38% when compared to equivalent care provided in the traditional hospital setting. Home-based care also results in fewer readmissions within 30 days when compared with facility-based hospitalization, one of several ways Mass General Brigham seeks to address the hospital capacity crisis. Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have been shifting the site of health care to the home for patients with acute medical conditions that can appropriately and safely be cared for in the home since 2016. To date, Mass General Brigham has provided home-based acute care for nearly 1,800 patients.
Most recently, Heather previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Innovation Officer at Kindred at Home, the nation’s largest provider of home care services. She has more than 20 years of experience guiding enterprise-wide transformation and innovation for various healthcare organizations emphasizing the consumer experience and clinical outcomes. Heather has also worked directly with patients, spending significant time as a nurse practitioner delivering post-acute and longitudinal care to skilled nursing facility residents and ultimately leading UnitedHealth Groups largest region of providers in New England.
Mass General Brigham is an integrated academic health care system, uniting great minds to solve the hardest problems in medicine for our communities and the world. Mass General Brigham connects a full continuum of care across a system of academic medical centers, community and specialty hospitals, a health insurance plan, physician networks, community health centers, home care, and long-term care services. Mass General Brigham is a nonprofit organization committed to patient care, research, teaching, and service to the community. In addition, Mass General Brigham is one of the nation’s leading biomedical research organizations with several Harvard Medical School teaching hospitals. For more information, please visit massgeneralbrigham.org.