Saint Vincent Hospital, part of Allegheny Health Network, Millcreek Community Hospital and The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Erie County, both part of LECOM Health, today announced the signing of a Letter of Intent (LOI) to consolidate home health and hospice services for residents of Erie, Crawford and Warren Counties into a single, strong provider.
Under the terms of the LOI, the parties will combine the resources of Regional Home Health and Hospice (RHHH) with those of The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Erie County. RHHH is jointly owned by Saint Vincent, Millcreek Community Hospital, and Corry Memorial Hospital, which is also part of LECOM Health. The transaction is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of 2017, subject to regulatory approval. As part of the transaction, Saint Vincent will obtain a membership interest in the VNA.
“We look forward to the great synergy of resources that will take place as a result of this combined endeavor, bringing an enhanced level of care and service to those who rely on us for their home health and hospice needs,” said James Lin, DO, Director of the LECOM Institute for Successful Aging. “Our primary focus is assuring that the experience of our patients and the quality of their care continues to be exceptional in every way.”
The VNA of Erie County is one of the oldest home health providers in the country, delivering services in the community since 1906. RHHH was formed in 2003.
“This exciting development for our region unites the resources, expertise and proud traditions of two outstanding organizations to provide more effective and efficient home health and hospice services to the community,” said Saint Vincent President Christopher Clark, DO, MHA. “We have collaborated with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), the academic partner of LECOM Health, in many ways over the years to improve the quality of health care in Erie, and we expect to further advance that mission for patients requiring home health and hospice care as a result of this new partnership.”
In addition to Saint Vincent serving as a clinical campus for LECOM medical students and residents, the organizations have collaborated in a number of joint ventures in the market over the past decade, including Associated Clinical Laboratories, Vantage Health Group and the Regional Heart Network.
According to Dr. Clark, most RHHH employees and all of its current patients will have the opportunity to transition to the VNA.
RHHH cares for more than 4,500 patients annually, providing a variety of home health and hospice services, including skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy and personal care assistance. The VNA provides a similar array of clinical services and currently cares for approximately 3,200 patients annually.
Dr. Lin also stressed that Saint Vincent and LECOM Health are committed to implementing the integration of the programs with minimal disruption to patients.
RHHH and the VNA of Erie County will notify patients about the transaction once it is finalized, including any steps patients should take to transition their care with the VNA of Erie County or another home health or hospice provider of their choice. RHHH patients who choose the VNA will be transferred over the course of several weeks once the agreement is finalized and regulatory approvals are secured.
Both RHHH and the VNA have contracts with all commercial insurance carriers as well as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and are licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Those with questions in the meantime are encouraged to call Tessa Ryker, Director of the VNA of Erie County. Tessa can be reached at (814) 454-2831.