Vineyard Nursing opens on Nantucket and plans new office here

The Vineyard Nursing Association (VNA), doing business as the Nantucket Visiting Nurses Association, began providing home health care services on Nantucket, effective May 2.

Nantucket residents and visitors have been without a certified home health care agency that is Medicare approved and has the ability to accept most third-party insurance, according to a press release.

The VNA announced in February that it would begin providing home health care services on Nantucket not long after Nantucket Cottage Hospital ended its home health care and visiting nurse program on December 31.

And, the VNA announced this week that it has agreed to buy 29 Breakdown Lane in Vineyard Haven from Julie Robinson.

The building will be VNA’s permanent home, with space enough to expand to meet projected demand for home health care services. The Vineyard is expected to see a 20 percent increase in the population of people who are 65 and older by the year 2020, according to a press statement from VNA, which also has undertaken to provide home care services on Nantucket.

“We are thrilled that we will finally have a permanent home,” Bob Tonti, the nursing company’s chief executive, said. “Fluctuations in rental costs and the growth of our agency dictate the need for a more fiscally sound and long-term solution to our office needs.”

The VNA had earlier announced a plan to buy the office building where they are currently housed, at 15 Merchant’s Court in Vineyard Haven. But, according to the press statement, the property at Breakdown Lane became available at approximately one-half the cost of the Merchant’s Court building. The new site also offers VNA space that is adequate, with the option to expand, if needed. Donors to the fundraising campaign to buy a new headquarters have been notified of the change of planned acquisitions.

“When made aware of the potential new site, I could not ignore the economic reality of an almost fifty percent savings for the VNA. I have a fiduciary responsibility to our board and our donors to spend money wisely. Changing to the new site was not a difficult decision for the VNA,” Mr. Tonti said.

The Vineyard Nursing Association is the only certified home health care organization on Martha’s Vineyard and now also on Nantucket. The agency provides skilled nursing, physical and occupational therapy and personal care for more than 1,500 people each year.

Nantucket Cottage Hospital provided the VNA with a grant to help offset starting costs. All intake, scheduling, billing and other back office functions are handled by the VNA office on Martha’s Vineyard.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to open a Nantucket Office,” Mr. Tonti said on February 15. “Living on an Island can make health care decisions complicated. We know that recuperation after surgery or illness is safer in the home, and home health care services are critical to that recovery.”

The Nantucket VNA team is led by clinical supervisor and nurse Linda Hook. The patient care team includes skilled nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists and home health aides. The VNA offices are located in the Nantucket Cottage Hospital.

The campaign to raise funds to secure a permanent home for the VNA launched last summer. For information about contributing call Amy Houghton at (508) 696-5607. For more information about services at Nantucket, call 508-825-8300 or go to www.nantucketvna.org.