VNA of RI set to close by end of 2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – One of Rhode Island’s oldest home care and hospice providers will close its doors by the end of 2017.

The Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care announced Wednesday that the Warwick-based Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) of Rhode Island is set to shut down by the end of the year.

Patients of the VNA will be notified of the change and transferred to the Visiting Nurse Home and Hospice in Portsmouth.

“Our concern is for our employees and for a safe transition of our patients,” said Jane Creamer, CEO of the VNA of RI. “We have been providing patients with exceptional, skilled clinical care in their homes for over a century and are continuing the tradition of caring by developing a transition plan that will provide the same level of care and employ most of our staff.”

Representative Patricia Serpa said this is only putting a bandaid on a much bigger issue. She says it’s time for lawmakers to take action and talk about the costs to help keep these services running.

“Everybody knows that by treating a patient in the home, it saves the state money because they’re not on the hospitals and they’re not at nursing homes,” Serpa said.

This is the second home-based healthcare company closing in Rhode Island, following the closure of Homefront Health Care in August.

“The loss of VNA of Rhode Island as a provider within our industry is the latest example of a series of unfortunate home care closures in which Governor Raimondo and the General Assembly have not remedied,” Executive Director of the RIPHC Nicholas Oliver said in a statement. “Ahead of the Rhode Island General Assembly’s special session last month, I warned that additional home care and hospice company closures are coming. Our elected officials need to take action to avoid more homebound patients being placed at risk for not receiving healthcare due to the elevated potential risk of subsequent home care company closures in Rhode Island.”

The VNA is not part of the RIPHC.

In an effort to ensure a smooth transition, the Department of Health will be overseeing the process, according to a statement from spokesperson Joseph Wendelken:

“The Department of Health has been working closely with the ownership of VNA of Rhode Island on their closure plan. This has meant working to ensure that all patients are safely transitioned to another home care agency. Our absolute priority is ensuring the smooth continuity of care for patients during this transition, which includes making sure that patients receive clear communication about what arrangements are being made for them. Of course, we were saddened to learn about this news, but we are doing everything we can to minimize the impact on patients.”