Class of 2021

Kristen Palumbo, BSN, RN, NE-BC

Chief Operating Officer
Nizhoni Health

At Nizhoni Health, we serve complex, high risk, behavioral health patients, who are at a high risk for re-hospitalization and increased ED usage and are currently inefficiently served by a fragmented care system. Studying different value-based care models at MHCDS has been instrumental in giving me the contextual knowledge that helps me think about tackling these system-level challenges.

Kristen, please tell us about yourself. 

I am the Chief Operating Officer of Nizhoni Health, a home health company that specializes in caring for complex, high risk, behavioral health patients at home. We are currently the largest home health organization in Massachusetts. I oversee 800 employees and all operations including clinical service delivery, revenue cycle, education and compliance.

Can you tell us why you decided to take the MHCDS program?

I decided to enroll in the MHCDS program because it is innovative and focused on value-based care. These qualities align nicely with Nizhoni Health’s mission to disrupt the traditional fee-for-service based system of home health. Our patients are highly at risk for re-hospitalizations and increased ED usage and are currently inefficiently served by a fragmented care system. Studying different value based care models at MHCDS has been instrumental in giving me the contextual knowledge that helps me think about tackling these system-level challenges.

What has been the best part of the program for you – so far?

The best part of the program for me is the people. My cohort at MHCDS is terrific! My classmates come from many diverse health care backgrounds. They are smart, impressive people and challenge me tremendously in a positive, supportive manner. The faculty is tremendous as well and it has been a wonderful experience.

Six months in, how have you used the skills/knowledge you have gained from the program? 

I have used the knowledge gained at MHCDS to help our CEO (also an MHCDS alumnus)  explore new partnerships with ACOs to create value-based models for the complex, behavioral health population. MHCDS has also helped me work with my organization to look at innovative ways to use traditional data aggregation tools such as Salesforce as a platform for collecting population health data and utilizing it to help guide better outcomes.

Is there anything else that you would tell a friend or colleague who was considering the MHCDS program?

Actually, I told a colleague today that if he is serious about leading a healthcare organization someday, he would be much better served by the MHCDS program than a traditional MBA program. The curriculum knowledge, connections and relationships gained by being part of the MHCDS program will serve you for many years to come.