Borough and VNA South Central Connecticut Reach Agreement – 6/17/2014

The Borough of Naugatuck and the Visiting Nurse Association of South Central Connecticut, Inc. (“VNASCC”), are pleased to announce a partnership to continue the rich tradition of the Naugatuck Visiting Nurses Association (“NVNA”), and provide the highest quality, home health care services to the citizens of Naugatuck.  After months of discussions and negotiations with the parties, the Board of Mayor and Burgesses approved an agreement on Tuesday (6/17/2014), formalizing the arrangement.

VNASCC is a community-based, not-for-profit agency providing outstanding home health services to communities in South Central Connecticut.  Numerous Naugatuck citizens have already been served by VNASCC nurses in past years.  This past fall, Naugatuck resident and Naugatuck Education Foundation President Matthew Fortney was elected to the VNASCC board of directors and serves on its Finance Committee.

As many already know, the Borough has been working to transition the NVNA to another home health care provider for almost a year.  While this has been a difficult process for many local officials and employees, the economic challenges of operating a home health care agency as a municipal department have proven costly.  In addition to changes in federal and state health care laws, increased presence of large, for-profit providers has challenged the ability of municipal visiting nurses associations to compete in the marketplace.

VNASCC has a long history of incorporating local visiting nurses agencies into its organization.  Former VNAs in Milford, the lower Naugatuck Valley and East Haven were incorporated into VNASCC in years past, joining the original New Haven visiting nurses group.

Over the past few weeks, VNASCC has been meeting with NVNA staff to coordinate a smooth transition.  NVNA staff will inform all new and existing patients of the changes occurring, and the opportunity to transition their care to VNASCC.  The NVNA will continue to provide care for existing patients and solicit new patients up until August 15, 2014.   Effective October 1, 2014, VNASCC will assume the long legacy of the NVNA and occupy the current offices located at 600 Rubber Avenue.  VNASCC staff has already begun to increase its presence in the area and build relationships with the referral networks in Greater Waterbury and the Valley.

Feel free to check-out the VNA of South Central CT website at www.vnascc.org for more information about their skilled nursing and rehab home care services and specialty programs.

VNASCC intends to continue the practices of the NVNA by being an active participant in community events and outreach programs.  The Borough will contribute funds and in-kind assistance to VNASCC to maintain quality home health care services in Naugatuck, but at a substantially less cost to taxpayers.  We look forward to this new partnership and expanding the capacity of home health care services in the Borough.

Patients and/or referral sources with any questions are encouraged to contact the NVNA directly at 203-720-7095.

4 comments on this post.
  1. Kristin:

    I hope that everyone takes the time to look over the transition agreement made between the Borough and South Central VNA. Per the administration’s agreement, this agency will be using a MUNICIPAL building at NO COST, additionally the Borough will be “at sole responsibility” for the equipment, maintenance, utilities and insurance! I’m not quite sure why privatizing the NVNA makes sense when we will be assuming responsibility of the building being used by this private organization.

    To the patients of the NVNA: Remember that you have a choice in what agency provides services after your caretakers are no longer available!! Choose a local business that has good intentions for the Borough.

  2. PEG:

    Will VNA of SCC hire all the aides,therapists and nurses from Naugatuck? If so I think this will be a win for Naugatuck. They needed to become a bigger entity. They could not get insurance contracts they did not have computer systems. This will bring them up to date for everything as long as they keep the staff!

  3. Kristin:

    Peg-

    There is language in the agreement that states all staff will be terminated before SCC comes in and the agency can “offer” employment if they wish…so they will be starting from square one!

  4. Bob:

    Kristin:

    Another option, as some suggested, would have been for the Borough to completely separate itself from home health care services. We attempted to maintain a presence in the community through another, non-profit home health care provider. VNASCC does not generally operate satellite offices, but we felt it important maintain a local presence during the transition. We would have to incur costs to maintain the building whether or not it was occupied or not. The agreement allows both parties to re-analyze the arrangement relative to the building by June 20, 2015. The consideration in the agreement pales in comparison to the amount by which the Borough was subsidizing the NVNA.

    We reached agreements with all three bargaining units that represent the NVNA employees. Each has its own particulars, but all involve early retirements or severance agreements for the NVNA employees. Once again, there were some that thought those agreements were too generous and that we should have simply severed the employment relationship. Unfortunately there was no agency that was going to assume all NVNA employees under their existing employment structure. While you are correct in that VNASCC is not required to hire any existing NVNA staff, we are hopeful that there are some opportunities for existing employees.

    You can use the word “privatizing” if you wish, but finding another provider was a third solution as opposed to (i) continuing to subsidize a Borough department at a loss in a market where it was extremely difficult for a municipality to compete; or (ii) completely cutting-off funding for the NVNA and offer nothing to the employees who have served Naugatuck well over many years or the patients for whom they have cared.

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