Medicaid Who’s Who Interview: Johnny Wilkinson

Johhny Wilkinson is CEO of Five Star Home Health Care.  Check out his LinkedIn profile HERE.

1. Which segment of the industry are you currently involved?

We are a full service home health agency, providing both personal care and skilled care to the Washington DC suburbs of Northern Virginia. We try to be the easiest for hospitals and Skilled Nursing Facilities to work with by being a one-stop-shop and being an in-network provider for every payer in the markets we serve.

2. How many years have you been in the Medicaid industry?

I started as a private duty personal care agency in 2006. We were very successful in private duty and our referral partners kept asking us to expand into Medicaid Waiver personal care services, which we completed in 2009. In 2012 we completed our vision of becoming a full service agency by providing Medicaid personal care and Medicaid/Medicare skilled services with a “whole-person” approach to care.

3. What is your focus/passion? (Industry related or not)

My personal passion and business focus are intertwined and optimistically big in scope…I believe we can have a world without Skilled Nursing Facilities or Assisted Living facilities. Seniors want to age in place – near family, friends and their pets. I firmly believe that it’s possible, even with memory care, but it requires a reimagined approach to senior care execution from providers, payment models that support a new approach to facility-less care delivery and technology/data standards the connects everything together. We have a LONG way to achieve my vision, but I’m in this for the long haul. 

4. What is the top item on your “bucket list?”

Traveling outside of North America has always been at the top. I would love to see Europe, Australia and South America. 

5. What do you enjoy doing most with your personal time?

I truly enjoy working on building my business and using time away from work to network with other business leaders and have quiet time to just think. I’m an entrepreneur at heart and for people like me that are lucky enough to do exactly what you want to do, there is no distinction between personal time and work time. It’s all living life to the fullest doing what you enjoy.

6. Who is your favorite historical figure and why?

Ted Turner inspired me to be an entrepreneur. He completely reimagined how news could be delivered by creating CNN. He was laughed at because of the monumental challenges in front of him to build CNN. It’s hard at the beginning of such a massive change in how people have done certain things for decades, and it’s always hard being first at anything big, but true entrepreneurs never give up. The vision pulls them and they cannot let go. I feel the same way about reimagining senior care without facilities.

7. What is your favorite junk food?

The strawberry shortcake at Cheesecake Factory is the best thing on the planet. There is no comparison. 

8. Of what accomplishment are you most proud?

I’m immensely proud of following in my father’s footsteps of building my own business like he did. Although we are in different industries, there is no comparison to seeing your success (and failures along the way) that go into building something from scratch. The accomplishments enabled by running my own business are the ability to hire, empower and develop great leaders. This business is comprised of the hundreds of people who work within it and share my vision. Nothing is more gratifying to me than seeing my team grow and succeed in building their own careers.

9. For what one thing do you wish you could get a mulligan?

In an industry undergoing as much change as healthcare and Medicaid programs, it’s hard to pick just one do-over. But I would have to say the leading do-over would be investing in HR earlier on in the rapid growth of the business. I underestimated the value of employee relations, defining long term career paths for people, training/development and the value HR talent brings in helping you hire for your weaknesses.

10. What are the top 1-3 issues that you think will be important in Medicaid during the next 6 months?

Medicaid has fully transitioned to managed care in Virginia. I firmly believe this is the right move for patients, providers and gives the best value to taxpayers. The per-month, per-member capitated payment model of how the managed care companies are paid, coupled with performance benchmarking required by the state, forces these companies to think creatively about how to deliver better care outcomes, with good patient satisfaction and at a lower cost. Although managed care doesn’t yet fully understand the potential of home care and home health to achieve those goals, I’m bullish on the potential to help them navigate it, realize mutual success and grow my business to new heights in the process. I also see significant potential to infuse physician house calls into my one-stop-shop business model and have a triple win for integrated senior care delivery: Preventative care, primary care and post-acute care.


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