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Non-Profit VNA Merger Expected To Be Seamless


Two visiting nurse associations in western Massachusetts are merging under one name and will be headquartered in Lee.

Effective April 1, Chicopee VNA and its home care affiliate, Great to be Home Care, will be incorporated into Porchlight VNA/Home Care, based in and originally known as Lee VNA. Porchlight CEO Holly Chaffee will retain her position with the expanded organization.

“Healthcare reform demands collaboration,” Chaffee said. “We started sharing a CFO last May. Judy [Cote] and I were talking and to try to be more fiscally prudent, we looked at what other services could we share. I said to Judy we could probably share all of our services.”

Chicopee’s CEO Judy Cote will become the COO of Porchlight.

“So it will increase our footprint and hopefully allow us to be more attractive to different physician groups, newly forming accountable care organizations and insurance companies,” said Cote.

All told, the new company will serve patients in more than 50 communities in Berkshire, Hampden and Hampshire counties. Cote says the only difference patients will see is the name change.

“Our patients are going to have the same caregivers and we are still going to be in the same building on Westover Road [in Chicopee],” Cote explained. “So very little should change for the patients or their care, if anything.”

Both organizations’ offices will remain open, and all of Chicopee’s 100 employees will join Porchlight’s 200 to operate under a combined $10.5 million annual budget.

“We really feel that it’s going to help bring some new educational resources to each organization,” Chaffee said. “When you put two staffs together that have high quality staff members, you have that much more talent to tap into. So we’re really excited about this.”

Lee VNA traces its roots back more than 100 years while Chicopee VNA has been serving its surrounding communities for more than 70 years. Both non-profits have achievedHomeCare Elite status by the National Research Corporation, a ranking determined by quality service and customer satisfaction. Chaffee says the merger was the right move for the groups and their respective patients.

“You’ve seen many acquisitions, mergers, collaborations and networks forming not only in home care, but in nursing homes, hospitals and throughout the continuum of healthcare,” said Chaffee.

Cote says the non-profits’ shared mission and attitudes will make for a seamless transition in the increasingly difficult financial realm of health care.

“I think its economies of scale and an opportunity to grow business in a very tight market,” Cote said. “You have to do everything you can to stay afloat, survive and thrive in this challenging healthcare market.”

Jim is WAMC’s Assistant News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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