Serving the Home and Community Care Needs of Rhode Islanders Since 1908

1908 – The Visiting Nurse and Anti-Tuberculosis Association of Pawtuxet Valley, Rhode Island is organized by a group of West Warwick women who want to do something for the betterment of the residents of the community.

1909 - 1,413 visiting nurses worked on behalf of 566 associations across the country. Trained nurses were sent into schools and homes of the poor to teach skills for healthy living. The role of the public health nurse was to teach concepts of disease, personal responsibility for health and the methods of treatment arising from recent advances in medical science and public health.

1910 – The East Greenwich Nurse and Anti-Tuberculosis Association is founded to stamp out tuberculosis, give aid to the needy, provide visits to the sick and instructions to young mothers. Approximately 75 percent of the patients receive free visits.

1912 – The US Children's Bureau was created and its first task was to study the causes of infant and maternal mortality. This is the same year that Rhode Island nurses became subject to licensure.

1914 – The Warwick Health League was founded by a group of men who saw the need to promote and improve general health conditions in the town of Warwick, Rhode Island.

1918 – Spanish influenza killed 2,500 Rhode Island residents and visiting nurses provided care for those that became seriously ill.

1919 – Home health visits are reimbursed at 60 cents with an extra 25 cents for maternity visits.

1920s - Home-based nursing care reached a turning point. Hospital-based care was being sought by medical, surgical and obstetrical patients of all economic classes and private duty nurses followed them into the institutional setting. Although it still existed as an option, home care became increasingly marginal to the hospital-based system that came to dominate American health care.

1930s – Major public health concern with the costs of care were signaled by the activity of the Committee on the Costs of Medical Care nationally.

1940s – Hospitals were threatened by the inability to meet rising charges. Under this stimulus, the “Blue Cross” hospital insurance plans blossomed all across the country.

1950s – Public Health nurses continued to provide services in the home with the primary focus on infant welfare and maternal infant services as well as preschool health services. Viewed as part of the public health commitment, visits are made to the chronically ill and financed by local communities or towns.

1964 – There are 27 Visiting Nurse Associations in Rhode Island; six receive their main financial support from towns.

1965 – Two important titles are added to the Social Security Act under Title XVII, “Health Insurance for the Aged” or Medicare, a national federally sponsored health insurance for the aged. Title XIX, “Grants to the States for Medical Assistance Programs” was created, known as Medicaid. The starting salary for home health nurses is $4000 with a maximum of $5000 and the Pawtuxet Valley VNA and East Greenwich Anti-Tuberculosis Association drop the “Anti-Tuberculosis” from their name because the incidence of the disease had decreased substantially.

1968 – The East Greenwich Association contracted with the Warwick Health League for supervision and the two agencies merge to become Kent County East.

1971 – Pawtuxet Valley VNA and Kent County East VNA consolidate to become Kent County Visiting Nurse Association and for a short time, maintain two offices, one on West Shore Road in Warwick and the other on Factory Street in West Warwick, before moving the total operation to Factory Street.

1970’s – Kent County VNA expands its health promotion programs to include health screening and education programs to the senior centers and elderly housing complexes. A 24 hour answering service is instituted to better meet the needs of patients.

1972 – A formal Maternal Child Health Coordination Program is instituted at Kent Hospital.

1978 – Kent County Visiting Nurse Association receives its initial accreditation from the CHAP Program of the National League for Nursing.

1979 – Kent Country Visiting Nurse Association builds a 22,000 square foot building on land leased from Kent Hospital at 51 Health Lane while a measles epidemic breaks out in Rhode Island. Kent County Visiting Nurse Association immunizes thousands of children, with over 900 immunizations given out in West Warwick.

1980's – Kent County VNA Hospice program is founded and the first patients and their families receive visits.

1990 – Kent County VNA is awarded the statewide Maternal Child Health Coordinator contract from the State of Rhode Island.

1996 – Kent County VNA undergoes its first Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations survey and receives Accreditation with Commendation, the highest recognition an agency can receive from this prestigious accrediting body.

1997 – Congress passes the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 that called for implementation of a prospective payment system for home care by October 1, 1999.

1998 – An interim payment system is implemented per the Balanced Budget Act of 1998 with per patient reimbursement capitation set. The industry effects of the interim payment system are devastating as over 2,000 agencies close nationwide. Kent County VNA is forced to reduce the size of its work force, including nurses and home health aides in response to the dramatic financial cuts. This occurred against the backdrop of Kent Country VNA taking an active role in vaccinating hundreds of thousands of Rhode Island children against meningitis after a few reported cases.

1999 – Kent County VNA joins the Care New England Health System and changes its name to VNA of Care New England.

2000 – HealthTouch, Inc., a private-duty home health organization is purchased by VNA of Care New England.

2001 – A record breaking 20,000 plus influenza vaccines are provided by VNA of Care New England at community based clinics throughout Rhode Island.

2002 – Kent Hospital Home Care, the oldest community-based home care agency in Rhode Island integrates into the VNA of Care New England. Over 650 patients and their families are now visited each day.

2003 – Rhode Island and the entire country are devastated as 100 individuals lose their lives in the tragic Station Nightclub fire. VNA of Care New England meets its community responsibility by developing and implementing a specialized burn program to treat survivors who were recovering at home.

2004 – As the need for home and community based care continues to grow, a record setting 47,556 Rhode Islanders were touched by a VNA of Care New England employee.

2005 – Implementation of technology swirled at VNA of Care New England. Telehealth is implemented, a way that patients can remain at home and monitor various chronic conditions while communicating vital information back to VNA of Care New England through their phone line. Electronic medical records for all patients are in full swing.

2006 - The recognition that the elderly want to remain at home and changing family demographics that spread families throughout our country and in some instances the world, prompts the continued expansion and offerings of the Care Management program at HealthTouch.

2007 – Since the late 1980s, VNA of Care New England consistently demonstrated a strong philosophical and operational commitment to family-driven models of care. In 2007, the economics of the times and limited state and federal funding dictated that the provision of family and maternal child health services would no longer be provided by VNA of Care New England. This arduous decision was necessary to ensure overall organizational solvency.

2008 – A leader in the provision of adult home health and hospice services, VNA of Care New England celebrated A Century of Caring.

2009 – VNA of Care New England continues its commitment to expanding patient services and introduces the first in-home pulmonary rehabilitation program in Rhode Island.

2010 - A rare April flood paralyzed Rhode Island, however, VNA of Care New England staff found a way to see patients in need and provide continuity of much needed services.

2011 - At the end of 2011, the VNA of Care New England Board of Directors was dissolved and a new era of governance was established with a consolidated Care New England Board.

2012 - New telemonitoring equipment was leased that encourages patient activation and self-management, important in the effective and successful management of patients with one or more chronic conditions. A generous gift from Mrs. Suzanne Gilstein allows for over 600 patients to receive the benefits of this state-of-the-art technology each year.

2013 - The VNA of Care New England enters its 105th year of providing home and community based care across Rhode Island. Nemo, the Blizzard of 2013 struck New England in February. True to its mission to serve those in need, staff traveled through treacherous conditions to ensure that patients were safe and able to successfully weather the historic storm.