Rhonda Combs, RN, MSN, BC, chief operations officer of the Christiana Care Visiting Nurse Association, is the 2013 recipient of the Administrative Manager of the Year award from the Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA).
The prestigious national honor recognizes several important initiatives that have improved the quality and value of care for patients at home by making care safer and more efficient.
In leading a statewide initiative to standardize the administration of chemotherapy at home, Combs reached out to Nicholas Petrelli, M.D., Bank of America-endowed medical director of the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center, for advice. Dr. Petrelli suggested the Delaware Cancer Consortium Quality Committee might provide the best conduit for reviewing practices. The consortium formed a task force and asked Combs to lead it. In that role, she achieved consensus from multiple treatment centers, infusion providers and pharmaceutical companies to standardize care.
“I am a nontraditional thinker who enjoys bringing together people who are excited about coming up with new ways to improve home care,” Combs says. “As home-care professionals, we are blessed to come to work to do something that is very important.”
Combs also initiated a physician collaborative model to establish better communication between doctors and home-care providers. Interacting with a designated nurse rather than several nurses reduces repetition, streamlines communication, and enhances care and patient satisfaction.
Lynn C. Jones, president of Christiana Care VNA and past chair of the VNAA board, says achieving the award is an exceptionally competitive process. Combs was honored at the VNAA’s annual meeting April 11 in Weston, Fla. The VNAA supports, promotes and advocates for community-based, nonprofit home health and hospice providers nationwide.
“Rhonda is a role model for what a leader should be,” Jones said. “She knows every facet of the organization inside and out and brings great creativity to ways we can improve care and enhance value for our patients.”