Guest Column: Diana Franchitto
Donna M. Gouveia
What’s the best way to care for patients and their families? Our two organizations have been working to answer that question for 140 years. Now, we’ll be doing it together. And the people who will benefit most will be the patients and their families who we serve every day.
Last year, Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island and Visiting Nurse Home Care, formerly Visiting Nurse Service of Greater Rhode Island, announced that we would join together, creating an affiliation that will allow us to expand and improve the excellent care we’ve been providing for years.
Our new nonprofit affiliation – Home Care & Hospice of New England – has the singular goal of ensuring that our patients receive the best possible care available to them.
Our organizations have been serving the people of the region for decades. VN Visiting Nurse Service is a community-based, home health service provider that has been working in our community since 1908.
HHCRI, founded in 1976, is the largest provider of hospice care in Rhode Island. Independently, we have worked hard to earn our reputations for quality care and innovative programs. But as the health care environment continues to evolve, we recognize that our capabilities and services must become even better, more efficient and easier for families to access.
Our new affiliation, the first of its kind in the region, will help achieve those goals by creating a new, stronger, patient-care network. This will improve coordination – and convenience – for home care, palliative care and hospice patients. It will also allow us to help keep patients out of the hospital so they can be cared for in their homes, where they prefer to be.
Over the past year, the R.I. Department of Health and Office of the Attorney General thoroughly reviewed our proposal. Their attorneys, policy experts, and staff pored over the details of the affiliation to make certain that our proposal would benefit the public’s health and safety, and that the rules of commerce and fair play in the marketplace would be observed.
Earlier this year we earned all the necessary approvals. Now, we’re ready to get to work.
Financially, the current pace of change in the health care field makes this the ideal time for two organizations of our size to pursue this path. The affiliation will strengthen our financial base, allowing us to achieve savings through a coordinated approach to vendors and contracting. We also anticipate that this will position us for growth – and new job opportunities at both organizations – while we work together to serve even more patients and families.
We view the new affiliation as a way to make progress toward our goal of providing expanded services for patients with complex medical needs, such as acute, chronic and terminal illnesses. By tapping into our combined areas of excellence, we’ll be offering better, more seamless care. When there are gaps in one organization’s services, our new affiliation will allow us to more readily address them and get our patients the immediate care they need and deserve.
As Rhode Island’s leader in palliative care, Home & Hospice Care will work with VNHC to help more patients receive that form of care in their own homes. At the same time, VNHC can rely on HHCRI to provide hospice care to patients when their treatment goals change from cure to comfort.
Providing excellent care for our patients and their families is what we do. By joining together as Home Care & Hospice of New England, our two organizations will be even more effective on behalf of our patients. Working together in the days and years ahead, we look forward to bringing more patients of the region the exceptional care at home they deserve. •
Diana Franchitto is president and CEO of Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island. Donna M. Gouveia is the president and CEO of Visiting Nurse Home Care.