Emerging Health Leaders: Ann Mary Ferrie, M.P.H., Visiting Nurse Service of New York

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MHE Publication, MHE October 2021, Volume 3, Issue 10

Ann Mary Ferrie is one of 13 up-and-coming health leaders featured in this annual Managed Healthcare Executive series.

Ann Mary Ferrie, M.P.H., director of public policy and strategy at Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) in New York City

I grew up in Paramus, New Jersey. I completed my B.S. in biology and sociology at The College of New Jersey and then earned an M.P.H. from Columbia University.

At the Center for Health Care Strategies, a national nonprofit health policy resource center, I worked with state Medicaid agencies and health plans. I analyzed and advised them on innovative integrated care programs to improve care for Medicare-Medicaid (dually eligible) enrollees requiring long-term services and support. It was formative to work on new models across the country to address systemic fragmentation across Medicare and Medicaid for the highest-cost, highest-need cohort of either program.

At VNSNY, I advise on legislative, regulatory and strategic policy issues of interest to our organization. I also work with industry stakeholders within New York state and beyond to advocate for policy changes backed by VNSNY’s experience as an in-home healthcare provider and payer.

Who has had the greatest influence on your life?

My mother. She emigrated from India and has worked as a registered nurse for more than 30 years. She has never wavered in her commitment to caring, particularly when it came to
her family.

Why did you pursue a career in healthcare?

I was drawn to healthcare because of my mother’s profession. The intersection of my two fields of study, biology and sociology, led to my focus on public health. I’ve always been inspired to make the greatest impact and found that healthcare policy can lead to impactful population-level improvements to care. I’m driven to make healthcare more equitable, accessible and effective.

Which career accomplishment has given you the greatest satisfaction?

I worked with VNSNY to inform CMS’ direct contracting demonstration opportunity for Medicaid managed-care organizations to improve care for Medicare-Medicaid enrollees in original Medicare. The model is currently under CMS review and has been paused, but it was satisfying to see what was once an idea be announced as an innovative demonstration opportunity to improve coordination, leveraging existing managed-care models.

What has your organization’s role been in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines?

When vaccines first became available, VNSNY set up a clinic to vaccinate our frontline staff. We educated our staff throughout the pandemic and urged them to get vaccinated. In partnership with the NYC Homebound COVID-19 Vaccination Program, VNSNY also vaccinated homebound residents in their homes, prioritizing communities with low vaccination rates.

What would be the best way to reduce healthcare inequities in the U.S.?

Healthcare inequities have been driven by systemic societal issues that require multipronged, cross-sector approaches, so we need shared commitment and planning from healthcare, education, businesses and others. No more silos!

Name a book or article that everyone in healthcare should read.

A book by John Doerr titled “Measure What Matters: OKRs — The Simple Idea That Drives 10x Growth” describes how the goal-setting system of objectives and key results has helped tech giants achieve explosive growth. Although this approach began in the tech industry, it can help healthcare organizations tackle complex challenges with collaboration, focus and ambition to find solutions. I’m working with VNSNY to implement objectives and key results; I’m excited about how it will help the organization achieve great things!