WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — On May 18, community members joined the Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire (VNH) for the agency’s Breaking New Ground ceremony for its new 11,000-square-foot building nestled on the banks of the Connecticut River in White River Junction, Vermont.
“This is truly an exciting time for the agency. Our focus has been driven by provision of excellence in care and what is called “the triple aim,” which is: access, cost, and quality — value added service. This opportunity ensures consistency in the support we provide to our field staff and patients,” said Jeanne McLaughlin, president/CEO of VNH.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided the agency with a $2.8 million loan which allowed the purchase of the new space. A formal announcement was made by Vermont and New Hampshire USDA Rural Development this past Monday in regards to the loans awarded to essential community anchor organizations.
“Our loan with the USDA was received at a very low cost. However, with the proceeds from the capital request we held, we hope to defray expenses and take less from the loan,” McLaughlin said.
VNH will occupy 40 percent of the first floor and the entire second floor of the two story building. Advancements made in purchasing rather than leasing will not only provide the agency with efficiency, it’s also providing the agency with financial gain. Office space will be reduced by 17.5 percent and costs will fall by $85,000 per year.
“The new office has been designed with an open concept. There will be no walls, no barriers between staff, or staff with the outdoors. All offices will line the window frame of the building,” McLaughlin said.
VNH’s current headquarters are located in West Lebanon, N.H., with its second location in Wilder. The leasing costs for the two spaces mean the agency looks forward to lease terms coming to a close in December of this year.
“We are the last VNA [Visiting Nurse Association] that did not own its own building. With the new facility, we will have the capabilities to house approximately 50 administrative staff, 10 departments, and a state-of-the-art training room,” McLaughlin said.
Most of the agency’s 200+ staff members work away from the office, given home offices by their patients. However, the administrative staff has been divided in two for about two years.
“We felt that there wasn’t a better time to bring all employees together again in a space which will provide comfort for our staff, further funds, and opportunity for advancements in skills and research,” McLaughlin said.
VNH has been providing home health and hospice care services since 1907, serving more than 150 towns spanning over 4,000 square miles.
“We travel 1.6 million miles per year just in our field staff. Our goal is to keep people in their home, where they are acclimated,” McLaughlin said.
The additional funds saved each year through this transition can and will provide additional resources for the 5,000+ people receiving services by VNH each year.
“We’ve studied the needs of the community — this leap provides opportunity for us to be connected to the population and allows us to improve the population’s health,” McLaughlin said. “We support people in their homes, we are guests invited in per their request and terms.”
VNH is designated by the state of Vermont as a nonprofit home health care provider.
“This is what health care is coming back to, the home; it’s coming back to the communities. My belief is — you can’t get better access than care coming right to your home,” McLaughlin said.
The building is being developed by DEW Properties, LLC, and the construction manager is DEW Construction Corp., both of Williston, Vermont. VNH’s project manager is Jim Odorisio of Odorisio Project Services, LLC of Chittenden, Vermont and Clearly O. Buckley of Smith Buckley Architects of Burlington, Vermont is the registered architect for the project.
Completion for new the headquarters is set for this November.
Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire can be contacted at 888-300-8853. For further information, services, and providers visit www.vnhcare.org.