Wed, 02 Sep 2015 16:46:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Press Hit: VNA Homecare Featured in CenterState CEO Newsletter Wed, 02 Sep 2015 16:19:17 +0000

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VNA Foundation of Central New York Sponsors Free CPR/AED/First Aid Certification for Area Children Wed, 26 Aug 2015 11:59:33 +0000 Pediatric CPR Class 12_1The VNA Foundation of Central New York held a CPR/First Aid certification course on Wednesday, August 19 for children ages 9 to 16 at the VNA Homecare offices in Syracuse.

A total of 22 children attended and obtained their certificates for CPR (adult /child and infant), Automated External Defibrillators (AED), and First Aid. The course was taught by VNA Homecare’s Carol Korcz, LPN, Pediatric Special Services Coordinator, Certified CPR/First Aid Instructor; and David Shalala, a Paramedic from Rural Metro.

The day included formal certification training, a tour of a Rural Metro ambulance, complimentary lunch provided by the VNA Foundation, and a visit from Skippy’s Ice Cream truck presented by Hearth Management, LLC.

The VNA Foundation of Central New York is one of two foundations that are a division of VNA Homecare, a full-service home health care agency committed to making a profound difference in the lives of its patients by providing expert, high-quality care where they want it most – at home.

The VNA Foundation of Central New York exists to support and promote the provision of pediatric home health care services to children throughout Central New York. It also serves to foster the education and development of professional and paraprofessional home health care practitioners, ensuring the availability of qualified caregivers into the future.

To learn more about the VNA Foundation, please call 477-9301 or email

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Press Hit: VNA Homecare Employee Featured on Mon, 10 Aug 2015 17:02:11 +0000

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Press Hit: VNA Homecare Featured in August 2015 Edition of HealthCare Provider Mon, 10 Aug 2015 16:59:08 +0000

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Visiting Nurse Association of Central New York Earns 4 Star Rating From Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Mon, 03 Aug 2015 13:27:27 +0000 The Visiting Nurse Association of Central New York, a division of VNA Homecare, has received an exceptional four star quality rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in recognition of the superior quality of home health care the agency provides.  The rating is based on process and outcome measures tracked by CMS and will be listed on the Home Health Compare tool at beginning in October.

According to CMS, each participating Home Health Agency (HHA) receives a quarterly Quality of Patient Care Star Rating encompassing its relative performance on nine of the 29 quality measures already posted on Home Health Compare, including: timely initiation of care; drug education; influenza immunization; improvement in ambulation; improvement in bed transferring; improvement in bathing; improvement in pain interfering with activity; improvement in shortness of breath; and acute care hospitalization.

The measures are calculated using information from patient assessments performed by the HHA and from Medicare claims submitted by the HHA. When calculating patient outcomes, statistical models are used to adjust for differences in the types of patients served by different agencies.

The Visiting Nurse Association of Central New York’s four star rating places the agency in the top 80th percentile of home health care agencies in the nation. Of the 9,359 Medicare-certified agencies rated this quarter, just 26.3 percent received four or more stars.

“The Visiting Nurse Association of Central New York is proud that our commitment to providing exceptional patient-centered care has been recognized by CMS, particularly because these ratings rely on feedback from our patients,” said Kate Rolf, President and Chief Executive Officer of VNA Homecare. “Patient experience is an integral part of the nation’s ongoing health care conversation, and these ratings help patients navigate complex choices about where to receive their care.”

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VNA Homecare Appoints New Corporate Compliance Officer Thu, 23 Jul 2015 12:40:27 +0000 Dawn Richey, Corporate Compliance Officer

VNA Homecare is pleased to announce the appointment of Dawn Richey as Corporate Compliance Officer.

Richey brings more than 15 years of progressive compliance preparedness to VNA Homecare. She previously served as the Manager of Emergency Preparedness at Crouse Hospital. While there, she was responsible for compliance activities including adherence to JCAHO and DNV standards for emergency management and worked in conjunction with other hospitals and preparedness partners to ensure compliance with the National Preparedness Goals. She also served as a Quality Improvement Analyst at Crouse, where she ensured compliance with OSHA, environment of care/life safety and emergency management standards.

As VNA Homecare’s Corporate Compliance Officer, Richey will oversee the Corporate Compliance Program and its subsidiaries, develop and present educational programs to promote a culture of ethics and compliance from all employees, provide a channel of communication to receive and direct compliance issues for investigation and resolution, and confer with necessary legal consultants to resolve difficult compliance issues.

Richey earned her Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry and Forensic Science from SUNY Oswego. She is also Certified Professional Compliance Officer Prepared and certified to teach countless safety related courses.

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Press Hit: VNA Homecare Employee & Patient Featured in Madison County Courier Wed, 22 Jul 2015 19:38:49 +0000

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VNA Homecare Announces Winners of Dream Vacation Fundraising Raffle Wed, 22 Jul 2015 12:23:37 +0000 VNA Homecare Dream Vacation Fundraising Raffle WinnersVNA Homecare is pleased to announce the winners of the Dream Vacation Fundraising Raffle. Maria Giannino, associate director of patient services, won the “Autumn in the Berkshires” vacation, while Brooke Schaeffer, VNA Homecare Options provider relations representative, won the “Disney World Stay and Play” package.

Peter Viavattene, a member of VNA Homecare’s Eldercare Social Day Program, had the honor of pulling the two winning raffle tickets during a recent employee Ice Cream Social, another fundraiser for the system’s ongoing Capital Campaign.

“Pulling the tickets made Peter’s day,” said Amy Davis, director of the Eldercare Social Day Program. “VNA Homecare Options even gave him a shirt to wear for the occasion, which made it all the more special.”

More than 50 employees turned out for the event on the front lawn of the system’s headquarters in Syracuse, erupting in applause as Viavattene chose the winning tickets. Giannino and Schaeffer were presented with gift baskets that included their winnings and posed for pictures with Viavattene.

Giannino will enjoy a one week stay at Vacation Village in the Berkshires; a $500 Enterprise Rent-a-Car gift certificate; a $50 Café Adam gift certificate; a $100 dinner for two at the Cranwell Resort and Spa; and two, one-day passes to the Norman Rockwell Museum.

Schaeffer is headed for Disney World, where she’ll enjoy a one week stay at the Liki Tiki Village Resort in Orlando; a $500 Enterprise Rent-a-Car gift certificate; four Disney Park Hopper Passes; and a $100 Delmonico’s Italian Steakhouse gift certificate for the restaurant in Orlando.

At its culmination, the Dream Vacation Fundraising Raffle raised more than $3,600 toward VNA Homecare’s Capital Campaign. An additional $200 was raised by the Ice Cream Social.

VNA Homecare would like to extend its sincerest appreciation to Byrne Dairy, Café Adam, Cranwell Resort and Spa, Delmonico’s Italian Steakhouse, Disney World, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, The Norman Rockwell Museum and Dr. Gilbert and Mrs. Philomena Lawrence for their generous donations to this initiative. Heartfelt thanks also go out the many employees and community members who purchased tickets.

Photo Caption:  VNA Homecare employees Deanna Castle (left) and Maria Giannino (middle) pose with Eldercare Social Day Program member Peter Viavattene. Castle accepted the “Disney World Stay & Play” prize package on behalf of her sister, Brooke Schaeffer, also an employee. Giannino won the “Autumn in the Berkshires” package.

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VNA Homecare Employee Accompanies Patient on Honor Flight Tue, 07 Jul 2015 16:26:18 +0000 VNA Homecare Employee Accompanies Patient on Honor Flight

Bittersweet.  That’s the word 90-year-old VNA Homecare patient James Hall uses to describe his recent trip to Washington D.C. as a member of Honor Flight Syracuse’s fifth mission.

A veteran of World War II, Hall was one of 81 military veterans invited to participate in the all-expenses-paid trip to our Nation’s Capitol.  Accompanying him for this once-in-a-lifetime experience was VNA Homecare Physical Therapist Timothy Lavallee, himself a veteran of the Air National Guard.

Like so many of the staff at VNA Homecare, Lavallee takes a personal approach to the care he provides to Hall and his other patients.  He believes the success of caring for someone at home goes beyond clinical care and extends to the patient’s emotional, social and mental wellbeing.

“It’s about caring for the whole person,” he explains, “not just the patient.”

Lavallee’s commitment to this method of caring was evidenced when he encouraged Hall to apply for the Honor Flight, an experience he knew Hall would find both enjoyable and cathartic.  He completed the application on Hall’s behalf last February, a process that included verifying Hall’s branch of service, rank, and years of active duty.  Within weeks, Hall received a letter informing him that he’d been chosen to participate in the Honor Flight scheduled for April 25, 2015.  The letter also stated that Hall would need to choose a Guardian to accompany him on the trip. Guardians play a significant role on every Honor Flight, ensuring that the veterans have a safe and memorable experience.  After discussing the trip with his wife, Hall decided there was no one he’d rather have serve as his Honor Flight Guardian than Lavallee.

“Tim has done so much for us,” states Hall’s wife, Madeline.  “He has truly become a member of our family, and we knew Jim would be safe and comfortable in his company.”

The local hub of the national Honor Flight Network, Honor Flight Syracuse is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for their sacrifices and service to our country.  Twice each year, groups of veterans are flown on private jets from Syracuse to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, where they’re greeted as celebrities; local fire fighters welcome them with a water canon salute, members of the airport ground crew wave American flags from their positions on either side of the runway, and throngs of civilians wait to shake the veterans’ hands and thank them for their service.  From the airport, the veterans are escorted to luxury motor coaches, which transport them to and from the various memorials they visit during their trip.

A man of few words, Hall relies on the photo album Lavallee created for him to relate his memories of the trip.  Flipping through the pages, he pauses at a photo of the World War II Memorial.  Tears fill his eyes as he points at one of the 4,048 gold stars adorning the Freedom Wall, each representing 100 Americans who died in the war.  On the facing page is a photo depicting the memorials to three of the five battles Hall participated in as a 20mm anti-aircraft gunner in the United States Navy.

“This trip brought back a lot of memories,” Hall relates, “both happy and sad. It was good to remember, and nice to know that our service has not been forgotten.”

Hall enlisted in the United States Navy in 1942.  At just 17 years old, he was too young to enlist without parental consent, so his mother accompanied him to the recruitment office, where the simple act of signing her name changed her son’s life forever.

Stationed on submarine chaser PC 1119 in the Pacific Theater, Hall participated in five major battles during the invasion of the Philippines.  He can recall each in great detail, including the rescue of the survivors of the sinking of the USS Gambier Bay.  As he relates, the PC 1119 arrived at the scene of the destruction to find several of the surviving servicemen thrashing wildly amongst the waves.

“They were being attacked by sharks,” he states. “The ocean was red with blood.”

Like the millions of men and women who served our country during the war, Hall has countless stories similar to this one.  Stories of pain and suffering, sacrifice and loss.  But also stories of incredible courage, unbroken faith and ultimate triumph.

For Hall, that moment of triumph came while aboard a troop transport ship heading for California.  Two of his brothers, both marines, had lost their lives in combat.  His mother, grieving the loss of her sons and fearful of losing Hall as well, had petitioned to have him recalled from service.  War weary and dejected, Hall could hardly believe it when the announcement was made; Japan had surrendered to the Allies.  The war was over.

Hall related this memory to Lavallee during the flight back to Syracuse, but his story was interrupted when Honor Flight volunteers announced Mail Call.  Each veteran was presented with a packet stuffed full of handwritten letters and cards from their friends, family and local school students.  Hall’s packet included letters from the students of Lavallee’s wife’s first grade class, as well as a letter from VNA Homecare President and CEO Kate Rolf that was signed by hundreds of the organization’s employees.

“It was incredibly moving” Lavallee recalls. “Save for the sound of shuffling papers, the plane was silent as the veterans read their letters.”

When the veterans returned to Syracuse, they once again received a hero’s welcome by a crowd of friends, family and well-wishers gathered at the airport. The “Welcome Home Ceremony” included bagpipe music, a veterans’ parade and remarks by local politicians and service members.

“I never expected anything like this in all my life,” Hall states. “When I came home from the war, I didn’t even get a honk of a horn, and then, 70 years later, I get a welcome that is just out of this world.”

Many of the mementos Hall received as a participant of the Honor Flight still sit on a table in his living room; a reminder of a very special day that a veteran returned home – again.

Photo Caption: World War II veteran and VNA Homecare patient James Hall (left) and VNA Homecare Physical Therapist Tim Lavallee pose for a photo beside the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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Chief Financial Officer June Castle Featured in HealthCare Provider Mon, 22 Jun 2015 14:49:23 +0000 SKM_554e15062209220_1

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