HopeHealth Combines with Area VNA, Franklinite in Leadership Role

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The blending of two health care organizations in southern New England is coming together more than a year after it was initially announced. HopeHealth, which describes itself as Rhode Island's largest hospice, palliative and home health care provider, is bringing in Attleboro-based Community VNA {visiting nurse association], which serves the Franklin area.

The combination will be known as HopeHealth Community VNA and continue to serve southeastern Massachusetts residents while retaining its office in Attleboro. The affiliation increases the total number of patients served each day to more than 2,000, according to HopeHealth, and makes HopeHealth one of the region's largest nonprofit independent home health care, hospice and palliative care providers.

The organization also announced the Franklin resident, Amy Strong, DPT, has joined the senior leadership team at HopeHealth as vice president of home health services, overseeing the newly combined clinical operations.

“It’s very obvious why HopeHealth and Community VNA are coming together,” Strong said.

“They have overlapping geography, similar service lines, incredible quality records. Above all, there’s a deep commitment on the part of both organizations to their communities and their mission. As I’m stepping into this role, it’s a dream job because I couldn’t be more excited to work with either of these organizations.”

Strong most recently served as area vice president of operations for Caretenders/LHC Group for Massachusetts and Rhode Island. She began her career as a physical therapist working in Boston hospitals before joining the predecessor of HopeHealth Visiting Nurse in 2005.

Strong earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boston University and her doctorate from MGH Institute of Health Professions.

HopeHealth President & CEO Diana Franchitto noted that all employees transitioned over to HopeHealth Community VNA or to HopeHealth, the parent company. “HopeHealth Community VNA is continuing to care for their home care patients and hospice patients are being cared for by HopeHealth Hospice and Palliative Care,” she said. In short, there was no impact to patient care, she added.

Background on merger

In December, the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, following a preliminary review of the proposed acquisition, decided not to proceed with a full cost and market impact review of the deal.

HopeHealth had informed the HPC that it did not anticipate any impact as a result of the transaction on "reimbursement rates, care referral patterns, access to needed services and/or quality of care."

Former Community VNA CEO Reynold Spadoni will serve as chief strategy officer for HopeHealth. "As the health care industry continues to change around us, we have a responsibility to adapt so that we can continue to grow and thrive in the future," Spadoni said in a statement. "Community VNA knew that partnering with HopeHealth, an organization well known for its commitment to quality and exceptional service, would ensure we could stay focused on our 110-year-old mission of providing industry leading quality care to our community." HopeHealth, which is the major teaching affiliate for hospice and palliative care of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, has Rhode Island locations in Providence, Lincoln, Wakefield and Middletown, and in Massachusetts in Attleboro and Brockton.

Community VNA was founded in 1911 and serves Massachusetts patients in Attleboro, Dighton, Easton, Foxboro, Franklin, Mansfield, Norton, North Attleboro, Plainville, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Taunton and Wrentham.

[Reporting by Michael P. Norton, State House News Service, and Alan Earls, Franklin Observer]

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