Future Leader: Prince Villanueva, CEO, OPO Health

The Future Leaders Awards program is brought to you in partnership with PointClickCare. The program is designed to recognize up-and-coming industry members who are shaping the next decade of senior housing, skilled nursing, home health, and hospice care. To see this year’s Future Leaders, visit https://futureleaders.agingmedia.com/.

Prince Villanueva, CEO at the San Mateo, California-based OPO Health, has been named a 2022 Future Leader by Home Health Care News.

To become a Future Leader, an individual is nominated by their peers. The candidate must be a high-performing employee who is 40 years old or younger, a passionate worker who knows how to put vision into action, and an advocate for seniors and the committed professionals who ensure their well-being.

Villanueva sat down with HHCN to talk about key learnings from running a home-based care startup and how he sees the industry is evolving moving forward.

What drew you to this industry?

I have worked under many recognized home health, hospice and private-duty home care companies across the San Francisco Bay Area. I started my career working at Amedisys back in 2014 as an account executive. I was motivated to learn something new – to learn the benefits of home health care and how it can improve the well being of patients in their home. I quickly learned and fell in love with the industry. What truly drew me to home health care was my parents. They are getting older and they’ve expressed to me how important it is for them to remain independent in their home.

Fast forward to 2020, my partners and I founded OPO Health. A home health provider focused on quality, experience and respect. We know that home-based care will continue to be in high demand. We’re excited for the growth and our impact on moving the industry forward.

What’s your biggest lesson learned since starting to work in this industry?

I’ll share our biggest lesson learned since we started OPO.

Startups are hard in unexpected ways. Although my partners and I have experience in scaling companies, starting a company from the ground up can be challenging with common obstacles.

Be prepared – as much as possible – for the unexpected. We founded OPO in the middle of the pandemic. We didn’t know what to expect looking ahead. What keeps us motivated is our purpose. We are purpose driven. We are on a mission to translate this great idea to a multi-state brand.

If you could change one thing with an eye toward the future of home-based care, what would it be?

The need for home-based care will continue to be in high demand. The goal is to improve the overall patient experience at a much lower cost. That will include incorporating technology, outcomes-based programs, advanced training and techniques.

What do you foresee as being different about the home-based care industry looking ahead to 2023?

We’re going to see an increase in the use of tech-based health systems at home. Telehealth is here to stay and I am all for it. I am excited to see what tech leaders will develop in improving care at home in 2023 and beyond.

In a word, how would you describe the future of home-based care?

Evolving – home-based care is advancing through technology. Clinical and health leaders are constantly searching for better ways to help people through technology, advanced training and better medicine.

What quality must all future leaders possess?

My top three: empathy, respect and support.

If you could give advice to yourself looking back to your first day in the industry, what would it be and why?

“Be fearlessly authentic. Be confident. And always lead with passion.”

There is a lot that goes into delivering care at home. Sometimes we lose focus and become frustrated when a new idea doesn’t work. Not all ideas will translate into action, but it’s a start.

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