The Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties officially changed its name last Tuesday to the University of Vermont Health Network Home Health and Hospice.

The two organizations have been officially affiliated since January, but they unveiled the signs bearing the new name October 9.

Judy Peterson, CEO and president of the UVM Health Network Home Health and Hospice, said talks about collaboration arose during a lunch with John Brumsted, the president and CEO of UVM Health Network and CEO of UVM Medical Center, a few years ago, where both realized an affiliation might be a good idea.

“It was very early on that we recognized that our mission is just really well-aligned,” Peterson said. “Both organizations recognized that if we want to participate in health care reform … then we need to work as one.”

Judy Peterson, president and CEO of UVM Health Network Home Health and Hospice, garners applause as she announces the name change of the Visiting Nurses Association to the UVM Health Network Home Health and Hospice. The VNA and UVM Health Network have been affiliated since January 1, but officially rebranded last week. (Amanda Brooks | Essex Reporter)

 

Brumsted echoed Peterson’s desire for collaboration.

“From that early conversation, my thoughts were, can we do this better together than separately, this being taking really good care of our community,” Brumsted said.

Doing more to take better care of the community is a major factor in the new collaboration, both Peterson and Brumsted agreed.

Clinical manager Martha Brown introduced some new, innovative programs the UVM Home Health and Hospice Center is working on at the unveiling, including a “longitudinal care” program that provides home health care to those previously ineligible for the services.

A telemonitoring program that allows physicians to follow up with patients in their homes with telephone calls and other forms of technology will be piloted soon, Brown said. Home health nurses will also be available several days a week at Hinesburg Family Medicine as part of the collaboration.

The new programs will expand home health services for the community, due to increased resources and ideas borne out of the affiliation.

“We all agree that home is the best place to heal and home is where people want to be,” Peterson said.

(Amanda Brooks | Essex Reporter)

 

In addition to sharing staff and collaborating on innovative programs, the UVM Health Network will have a seat on the Home Health and Hospice board of directors and vice versa, explained Kellie Parks, the UVM Health Network Home Health and Hospice communications director.

This collaboration will help better the care the organization can provide to the community, Brumstead explained.

“We’ve moved to a degree of collaboration between hospital, doctors, providers, VNA, where we really come together at one table to make decisions,” Brumsted said. “We really moved from wanting to work together … to a mutually-felt imperative to work together.”

Excitement was palpable last week at the sign unveiling.

“We’re just at the beginning, and the future is incredibly bright,” Brumsted said.