Alexandria, Va. After serving three years as the public face of the Ameri-can Association for Homecare, Tom Connaughton March 21 announced he will resign
by Brook Raflo
April 1, 2003

Alexandria, Va. After serving three years as the public
face of the Ameri-can Association for Homecare, Tom Connaughton
March 21 announced he will resign as president of the association,
effective mid June, 2003.

“This decision is indeed a bitter sweet one,”
Connaughton told HomeCare. “I have loved working with
this industry and with my staff, and I believe very strongly in the
importance of this industry. However, an opportunity has arisen in
a company that I have represented in the past, and, at this time in
my career, it's something that I want to do.”

In his new position — at the helm of a medical
manufacturer's Washington office — Connaughton likely will
not address home care issues, he said. Cook Group, based in
Bloomingon, Ind., makes devices for the critical care setting,
including hernia- and burn-repair products, antibiotic catheters,
and diagnostic and interventional devices for everything from
angioplasty to neurosurgery. Nonetheless, “I always will be
available for advice and counsel for anybody in the home care
industry,” Connaughton said.

When asked what challenges his leaving could pose for
AAHomecare, Connaughton insisted the transition to a new
association president would be a smooth one. “I truly am
confident there are people out there who are a lot better than I,
and we'll find someone very good,” he said. “Whenever
there is change, there are some uncertainties, and I'm sorry that
my leaving represents that to the association, but I do not think
that any one person is ever indispensable.”

Despite having led a successful lobbying campaign on Capitol
Hill to stave off competitive bidding — a campaign that
included the creation of a coalition of consumer-advocacy
organizations and trade associations — Connaughton counts
hiring and keeping a competent staff as his best achievement.
“We brought in and kept a terrific staff here, and I'm
proudest of that,” he said. “This staff has been able
to build a new association that has become a fixture in the
industry and a major player in Washington.”

AAHomecare's executive committee is planning its search strategy
to fill the president's position, but the committee has not yet
focused on any individuals, Connaughton explained.

However, “the organization is strong, and we are confident
of finding a capable replacement to build on Tom's excellent
efforts,” said Steve Knoll, AAHomecare's chairman.

In other association news, Laura Fisher — formerly a
communications specialist at Edelman Public Relations, where her
main client was the American Health Care Association — has
joined AAHomecare as director of communications, effective March
31.

For breaking news, go to www.homecaremonday.com, the electronic news service
of the home medical equipment industry.