Southcoast Health System announces consolidated Southcoast VNA
Southcoast Visiting Nurse Association to consolidate region’s top home health and hospice agencies; will expand services across Southeastern Massachusetts and East Bay, Rhode Island
FAIRHAVEN, Mass. — Southcoast Health System today announced it will be consolidating its home health and hospice agencies to form Southcoast Visiting Nurse Association, which will be known in the community as Southcoast VNA.
Southcoast VNA will bring together the staff, services and volunteers of the region’s two top home health and hospice agencies, Visiting Nurse Association of Southeastern Massachusetts, currently located in Fall River and serving the greater regions of Fall River, Taunton and East Bay, Rhode Island, and Southcoast Home Care, Hospice & Palliative Care & Infusion, located in Fairhaven and serving the greater regions of New Bedford and Wareham. Though both agencies are part of Southcoast Health System, they have functioned separately since the merger in 1996.
“Bringing together our two home health and hospice services strengthens our ability to improve access of care for patients at all levels of our system by combining our resources and staff,” said Keith A. Hovan, President of Southcoast Health System & President & CEO of Southcoast Hospitals Group. “The new Southcoast VNA will ensure that patients receive highly-coordinated home health and hospice services no matter where they live in Southeastern Massachusetts or East Bay, Rhode Island, and will be delivered by the same skilled and compassionate caregivers who have provided that care for decades.”
Hovan also said the breadth of services offered and the regional expanse makes Southcoast VNA one of the largest home health and hospice agencies in New England, noting its ability to continue to serve the region as a highly efficient, low-cost provider.
Sharon Jones, President & CEO of Southcoast VNA, who currently holds the dual positions of CEO of the Visiting Nurse Association of Southeastern Massachusetts and Vice President of Southcoast Home Care, Hospice & Palliative Care & Infusion said that the new Southcoast VNA “will allow us to better serve our communities by offering seamless, integrated home health and hospice services throughout the entire South Coast region.”
“Both programs have exceptional health care professionals with strong community roots and a long history of caring for our local communities and together we will be able to expand services and build on that success,” she said.
The new Southcoast VNA will significantly expand existing home health and hospice services as well as support the development of new programs designed to meet the growing home health care needs of the entire area. The Hospice & Palliative Care Program will offer specialized care for individuals with terminal and life-threatening illnesses. Expanded services will include inpatient palliative care, enhanced bereavement support for children and adults and community education and support programs. It will be the only provider of pediatric palliative care in Southeastern Massachusetts.
Southcoast VNA is also establishing a much-needed Behavioral Health Program to complement traditional treatment of mental illnesses and help to decrease the utilization of inpatient and facility based care. Designed to serve as a bridge between the hospital and the community mental health system, Southcoast VNA’s new Behavioral Health Program will use a multidisciplinary approach to care for individuals with emotional and mental health problems and psychiatric illnesses.
Southcoast VNA’s main office will be located at the South Coast Business Center at 200 Mill Road in Fairhaven with additional offices in Fall River, Raynham and Little Compton, Rhode Island. The consolidation will bring together some 400 employees from the two agencies.
“The majority of our employees travel throughout the region caring for our patients,” Jones said. “Our new office in Fairhaven will offer more space with ample parking and easy access to Interstate 195 for our staff and for those who visit our office.”
Demand for home care services is growing
Demand for home care services has been growing steadily over the last several years, Jones said.
“Many people prefer to recuperate in the comfort of their own homes, which in turn promotes healing, quality of life and can be more cost effective,” Jones said. “As the largest provider in the region, we will offer greater connectivity with our hospitals, physicians and other community resources to provide integrated care that greatly benefits our patients with a focus on prevention, disease management and coordination of care.”
Southcoast VNA will offer the most complete and comprehensive range of quality home health and hospice services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Services will be tailored to the specific needs of every patient and include skilled nursing, rehabilitation therapies (physical, occupational and speech/language), medical social work, chronic disease management, home health aides, dietician/nutrition services and behavioral health services.
Specialty services will include specialized wound management, infusion therapy, certified diabetic educators and in-home telemonitoring.
The Hospice & Palliative Care Program will offer supportive care, including bereavement, spiritual and chaplain services in addition to skilled nursing, physician services and counseling. A palliative inpatient program will be available for those needing acute symptom management and the program will be the only pediatric palliative care provider in Southeastern Massachusetts.
“By uniting into one region-wide provider we will be able to maintain a high level of uniform, consistent high-quality care to a broader community, offer cost-effective services and respond to anticipated changes related to the ever changing health care environment,” Hovan said.
Jones said the transition from the current organizations to the new Southcoast VNA will be seamless for patients and providers. Southcoast VNA will be communicating directly with patients, families and area health care providers on the changes and any new contact information over the next few months.
For any questions related to the upcoming consolidation, please contact Joyce Brennan, Director of Marketing & Public Relations for Southcoast Health System, at 508-961-5270, or Joanne Gregory, Director of Community Affairs for VNA of Southeastern Massachusetts, at 774-627-1966.
About Southcoast Health System & Southcoast Hospitals Group
Southcoast Health System is a community based health delivery system with multiple access points, offering an integrated continuum of health services throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and East Bay, Rhode Island. It includes the three hospitals that make up Southcoast Hospitals Group — Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford and Tobey Hospital in Wareham.
Southcoast provides advanced clinical services, such as open heart surgery, angioplasty and heart rhythm services, comprehensive cancer care, neurosurgery, weight loss surgery, orthopedic surgery and advanced imaging services. Southcoast is a not-for-profit charitable organization that depends on the support of the community to provide services.
More information is available online at www.southcoast.org. Connect to Southcoast at www.southcoast.org/connect/