The Boards of Directors of Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County (VNHFC) and Waveny LifeCare Network (WLN) are pleased to announce that they have entered into an exclusive letter of intent to combine home care and hospice operations to better serve patients in Fairfield County and beyond. The organizations intend to enter into a formal Affiliation Agreement by year end 2020, subject to final due diligence, regulatory approvals and final board approvals. The parties propose for VNHFC to initially become a wholly-owned subsidiary of WLN, but plan to explore the opportunity of formally merging operations with WLN’s affiliate, Waveny Home Healthcare, at a later date. The transaction is subject to review and approval by several governmental agencies, including Connecticut’s Department of Public Health, and separate approvals will be sought if the parties determine to formally merge.
Now based in Wilton, Connecticut, VNHFC was founded over 100 years ago and grew to become one of the most enduring home and hospice care organizations in the state. WLN, founded 45 years ago in New Canaan, has grown into a full continuum of care service provider in post-acute care, memory care, short-term rehabilitation, home care, and retirement living. VNHFC would expand Waveny LifeCare Network’s continuum of services in home healthcare, and would add hospice care, school nursing programs, public health nursing, and New Canaan’s Locust Avenue thrift shop.
Both organizations share a common commitment to provide compassionate, high-quality, clinical excellence through services and resources that meet and exceed the needs of residents throughout Fairfield County and to enhance their health, well-being, independence, and dignity in a rapidly changing healthcare environment.
These two independent non-profit organizations’ strategic goals led each to identify mission-driven synergies. They are taking this step to ensure their stakeholders that they will continue to deliver the highest healthcare value to their communities, enrich the client experience, while enhancing the scope of services provided. A focus on quality of care and clinical excellence will assure a bright and successful future.
The combination of VNHFC and WLN brings together a complementary set of services filling in gaps in resources with little overlap in the services that both organizations provide. “We believe that, combined, the two organizations will better meet the growing healthcare needs and preferences for residents throughout Fairfield County,” said Kathleen A. Corbet, Chairman of Waveny LifeCare Network. “We are delighted to be moving forward to bring together two of the best-known organizations for compassionate excellence in healthcare services in Fairfield County.”
The President and CEO of Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Fairfield, Sharon Bradley, RN, DNP, MSN, will continue to serve as the Administrator of VNHFC until any merger plans have been finalized and will join the WLN Board, as will other members of the current VNHFC Board. Russell R. Barksdale, Jr., MPA/MHA, FACHE will continue to serve as President and CEO of Waveny LifeCare Network, the parent company, and all of its divisions and subsidiaries.
ABOUT WAVENY LIFECARE NETWORK
Waveny LifeCare Network is a nonprofit organization that provides a comprehensive continuum of healthcare to serve the changing needs of older adults from all areas. Waveny offers independent living at The Inn, memory/dementia assisted living and respite care at The Village, and skilled nursing, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation Services at Waveny Care Center. It also includes the Brown Geriatric Evaluation Clinic, and an array of community-based services through Waveny Home Healthcare. For more information, call 203.594.5200 or visit www.www.waveny.org.
ABOUT VISITING NURSE & HOSPICE OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY
Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County is a non-profit agency that provides professional nursing and support services, senior care management, physical rehabilitation, health education, community wellness programs and compassionate hospice care for adults and children in the heart of Fairfield County. For more information, call 203.762.8958 or visit www.visitingnurse.net.
Frequently Asked Questions
On October 21, 2020 the Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County (“Visiting Nurse”) and Waveny LifeCare Network (“Waveny”) executed a mutually exclusive Letter of Intent (LOI) for the Visiting Nurse to join Waveny with their intent to merge with Waveny Home HealthCare Inc. at a later date. The transaction is subject to review and approval by several governmental agencies, including Connecticut’s Department of Public Health, and separate approvals will be sought if the parties determine to formally merge.
The following are answers to questions that you might have to what this means to you, our communities, clients and patients, and our organizations.
1. Why would the two organizations join together now?
These two non-profit organizations have an unwavering history of continuously striving to provide the highest quality of care to the communities that they serve. In this time of great uncertainty, comprehensiveness and diversity of programs and services, high quality cost-effective operations, coupled with the ability to quickly adjust to the needs of their stakeholders is becoming more and more critical.
Those strategic goals led each to identify mission-driven synergies to ensure stakeholders that they will provide the highest healthcare value to their communities and further enhance their services, thereby assuring a bright and successful future. Each organization has always sought to be the best-of-the-best in their areas of expertise through their mission to provide compassionate, high quality clinical excellence for their clients, patients, residents, and community.
They also recognize that their most valuable resource is without question their clinical staff and their professionalism, compassion, and caring nature. Joining forces in this time of market uncertainty allows the organizations to diversify and expand the services they provide over a wider geographic area, strengthen resource allocation to capitalize on key growth areas, increase efficiencies, decrease non-patient related indirect costs, and provide more educational and development opportunities for their team of caregivers—the foundation for continuous quality enhancements.
2. How will this alliance benefit clients, patients, communities, and other healthcare providers?
The alliance is founded upon five principles: (1) to secure Visiting Nurse’s and Waveny’s joint ability to provide the full continuum of services to the community and expand those services as the needs of their communities change, (2) to use their clinical service expertise and philanthropic support to continue to provide services to the community especially when an individual’s ability to afford care wanes, (3) to enhance quality of care and health care technologies by leveraging the best-of-the-best performance platforms and expanding upon them, (4) to have a fully integrated network of 5-Star providers providing all services in the post-acute continuum; and, (5) to continue the pursuit of finding the most cost-effective means to provide that care.
3. When will the organizations officially join?
While the mutually exclusive Letter of Intent was signed on October 21, 2020, both organizational boards expect, following comprehensive due diligence period, for Visiting Nurse to join Waveny’s Network of providers by the end of this calendar year with the merger of the two home care providers merging soon thereafter. Leadership from both organizations will be involved in this process with equal representation from both organizations. Regulatory approvals will be required.
4. When did discussions and plans for this alliance first begin?
Initial discussions to join the organizations began in early 2019 with the meeting of their two Presidents and CEOs—Sharon Bradley and Russ Barksdale. Both approached the discussions seeking to continually improve client accessibility to all levels of care. Both organizations share a common mission to provide compassionate, high-quality, clinical excellence through services and resources that meet and exceed the needs of residents throughout Fairfield County and to enhance their health, well-being, independence and dignity.
These two non-profit organizations’ strategic goals led each to identify mission-driven synergies. They are taking this step to ensure their stakeholders that they will sustain the highest healthcare value to their communities and further enhance their services and quality assuring a bright and successful future.
5. What will the new organization be called?
Waveny LifeCare Network shall become the parent and sole member of all of the entities including Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield. For the near term, Visiting Nurse & Hospice will retain its well-recognized name. The vision of both organizations is a transition into one organization under one name. Equal representation from both organizations will be meeting to look at name recognition and marketability to determine the home care division’s name.
6. Will the organizations’ missions change?
The fundamental underpinning of our collective mission – to provide compassionate, high quality, clinical excellence to our community—will not change. We remain steadfast in the mission of Visiting Nurse’s more than 100 years and Waveny’s 45 years as non-profit organizations. We will continue to provide access to care to all those in need of essential care, regardless of an ability to pay for care. This past year, both organizations together provided over $5 million of charity, uncompensated, and undercompensated care. Together, the combined organizations’ ability to address this very real need in our community will be enhanced.
7. Where will the home care offices be located?
The home and hospice entities will eventually be combined at Visiting Nurse & Hospice existing office building on Danbury Road in Wilton, CT. The Waveny parent company will remain on 3 Farm Road in New Canaan, CT.
8. Will any programs be deleted or added?
None of the currently active programs provided by either organization will be removed or discontinued. Clinical care services provided to those in need will grow throughout an expanded geographical service area with new programs and services to meet the changing needs of residents in our communities. The home care organizations are deeply committed to advancing the quality metrics of the combined entities to a 5-Star CMS level and become the preferred provider of regional healthcare systems.
9. Will there be any jobs lost as a result of this alliance?
There will always be a place in the organization for highly effective, compassionate individuals. Additional professional and paraprofessionals will be needed to expand the service area, meet the needs of residents, and ensure maximum efficiencies to bring value to those we serve and to improve quality standards. To accomplish this, the organization must increasingly attract, hire, and retain the highest caliber of quality and compassionate team of caregivers available. While we are coming together to grow, we must also recognize that indirect, non-patient related expenditures must be managed with greater efficiencies.
10. What will be the organizational and management structure?
Six members of the current Visiting Nurse’s Board of Directors (including Ms. Bradley as ex officio) will be joining Waveny’s parent Board of Directors. Kathleen A. Corbet and Russ Barksdale will remain as the Chairman of the Board and as the Network’s President and CEO, respectively. Upon the closing of the final phase of the transaction, Carol McDonnell Smith will become the Vice President of the Home Care Division reporting to Mr. Barksdale. Sharon Bradley will be named the Executive in Residence, remain VNHFC’s licensed administrator of record, and report directly to Mrs. Smith and Mr. Barksdale through the transition and until her retirement at June 30, 2021. Upon her retirement, Ms. Bradley will join the Waveny parent Board as a full voting member. Visiting Nurse’s board members not joining the parent board will be invited to join board-designated subcommittees as advisors.
12. Will there be any disruption in services?
No. The organizations are committed to continuing the delivery of care currently provided. The Clinical Leadership team will be working closely to ensure the highest level of care continues and that additional services are provided to meet the changing needs of the residents and communities they serve.
# # #