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About Us / History

History


1918: The U.S. faces an influenza pandemic that results in millions of deaths-more than 32,000 in Illinois alone. Locally, doctors cannot keep up with demand for their services. So a group of 9 men and 9 women form an organization to address the pressing health care needs in the Fox Valley community. Their mission: To change how health care is delivered by bringing services to those most vulnerable.

With a staff of 3 nurses, the Aurora Child Welfare Clinic Association cares for 3 patients in the first month. By the second month, their caseload triples to 9 patients, including those with TB and influenza, from mothers and babies to the frail elderly.

1919:
To more accurately reflect it focus and clientele, the growing organization changes its name to The Public Health Association.

1930s: Syphilis is the most prominent public health issue in the U.S. By 1937, Surgeon General Thomas Parran estimates that 10 percent of all adults in the U.S. will be infected with syphilis during their lifetimes. The small, grassroots organization of volunteer nurses in Aurora is the first local group to respond to the syphilis epidemic, administering newly available antibiotics to the sick. By the end of the 1940s, syphilis has all but disappeared.

1940s: The Public Health Association begins providing nursing care in the parochial schools, offering immunization clinics and making preventive medical care accessible to children.

1950s: The Public Health Association becomes The Visiting Nurse Association. Skilled health care, enhanced mother baby care, and more immunization programs are added. 1960s: The Visiting Nurse Association becomes the first agency in Illinois to receive Medicare home health certification.

1960s:A VNA nurse was making a home visit to each new baby in Aurora at this time. VNA became the first agency in Illinois to receive certification as a Medicare Home Health Agency.

1970s & 1980s: VNA adds more than 30 new programs and services in response to the community's health care needs. In 1986, the Elgin Visiting Nurse Association becomes part of VNA. This prompts a name change to The Visiting Nurse Association of Fox Valley to reflect the organization's larger service area.

1991: VNA achieves accreditation through the Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP). As VNA celebrates its 75th anniversary, the hospice program is added. The home health program expands to include mental health services.

1996: Aurora experiences a devastating flood. VNA responds to this community crisis by providing more than 3,300 tetanus shots in 3 days.

1998: VNA celebrates its 80th anniversary. The Disease Management program is introduced.

April 1, 2002: VNA is granted status as a Federally Qualified Health Center, which dramatically changes the way the organization provides care. VNA Health Center is able to offer complete primary care, first in Aurora and soon after in Elgin. The need for these services is tremendous and VNA's service volumes continue to grow steadily as the need for its health care services grows tremendously, both within and outside the Fox Valley area.

August 1, 2011: The Visiting Nurse Association of Fox Valley becomes VNA Health Care, a name that more accurately describes its expanded focus and mission.

2012: VNA expands rapidly to keep up with growing demand for services. In May, ground is broken for a new health center in Elgin. In August, VNA launches the Mobile Health Clinic, a fully equipped medical office in a van. In October, VNA and Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital transition Bolingbrook Women’s Health practice to VNA, and opens a health center at 350 Schmale Road in Carol Stream. In November, VNA opens a health center at 229 E. Grand Avenue in Bensenville. The new 20,000 square foot, 24-exam room health center at 801 Villa Street in Elgin also opens in November. The Healthy Families program expands to northern Kane County.

2013: VNA adds primary care services with 7-day-a-week access to the Bolingbrook site. The Bensenville health center moves to a larger location at 28 N. York Road in Bensenville. VNA Dental Clinic moves to 400 N. Highland Avenue, thanks to an Aurora Community Development Block Grant and other funding. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) features  VNA on its website for exceeding quality standards across nine quality measures. VNA builds a new health center at 1400 Indian Avenue in Aurora and opens on November 21, 2013. No federal funds are received to pay for the expansion. VNA raises more than $750,000 in local grants and donations to support the new facility. VNA is awarded $1.2 million in grants to hire 50 Navigators to provide free assistance with Health Insurance Marketplace and Medicaid enrollment.

2014:  VNA ranked among the top 25% of Federally Qualified Health Centers in Illinois, based on patient outcome quality measures as reported by the Health Resource and Services Administration. By the end of the calendar year, VNA served over 65,000 patients across all programs and became the third largest FQHC in Illinois, as measured by number of medical patients.

 

VNA led a successful Affordable Care Act enrollment effort in year one (ending March 31, 2014). VNA Navigators completed 115,693 consumer assists in year one. During the final week of open enrollment, VNA Navigators completed more applications per Navigator than all other Illinois grantees during the same time period.

 

VNA opened its ninth clinic at a temporary location in Romeoville, with plans to build a 22 exam room clinic slated to open in late 2015. A Vision Clinic and optical shop opened at Highland Avenue in Aurora, in partnership with Spectrios Institute for Low Vision. VNA Dental Clinic expanded to full-time hours at Highland Avenue in Aurora. VNA launched the Step by Step Diabetes© Care program.

 

VNA’s Healthy Families program celebrated its 20th anniversary.

2015:
January - Lions Club International Foundation supports the VNA Vision Clinic with a $200,000 grant. The grant is managed by the local chapter Lions Club District 1J to support the purchase of equipment, finishing the clinic construction and providing outreach.
April - Step by Step Diabetes classes started using the new Healthy Lifestyle  & Wellness Kitchen at Highland Ave. in Aurora
July - Groundbreaking for permanent site in Romeoville at 160 N. Independence Blvd., near Romeoville High School.
August- VNA receives $650,000 per year operating grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to establish a new health center in Joliet.

Looking Ahead: What's in store for VNA in the 21st century? Only time will tell. But we can look to the past to predict if there is an unmet community health care need VNA will work tirelessly to help meet that need. If there is a health emergency, VNA will respond with speed and compassion. Guided by the mission to provide access to quality healthcare for all, VNA will be there for those who need us most.




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