Vero Beach: (772) 494-6161
Melbourne: (321) 805-3848

Our History

Marion Oeschsner saw a need in Indian River County for a home healthcare agency committed to delivering quality care in patient’s homes, so she organized a group of dedicated volunteers to form a VNA. That group of volunteers, now known as the VNA’s founders, included Celeta Arden, Helen Brackins, George Kuhn, Ann Marie McCrystal, John Moore, Barbara Morrison, Marion Oechsner and William Terry. They chose to make the home care agency a VNA because of the non-profit status VNA companies hold, and they wanted to set the standard that the organization would serve all those in the community regardless of their financial standing. In 1975, the VNA was fully established and made 80 home visits in its first month of operation. The staff consisted of one nurse director and one home health aide, and together they cared for patients discharged from the hospital requiring home care.

In its over 40 years since its inception, the VNA has grown and expanded tremendously. It has increased its services to include hospice and private duty nursing, making it the only local home care agency able to provide a continuum of care for its patients. It expanded its home healthcare service line into Brevard County, and it built the VNA Hospice House, a state-of-the art facility that offers 24/7 hospice care for its residents and families affected from a terminal illness. The VNA also created many community wellness initiatives such as its Shoo the Flu vaccination program, free blood pressure and blood sugar clinics and the VNA’s “Health Care on Wheels” mobile health clinic.

The VNA has a long-standing history with our community, and since 1975, it has grown to be one of largest employers and healthcare providers in Indian River County. However, even with its incredible growth, it has never lost sight in what the founders wanted its purpose to be: a community-minded organization that cares for all.

 

1974

  • In August, Marion Oechsner, William E. Terry, Barbara Morrison, RN, and George Kuhn discuss the possibility of establishing a Visiting Nurse Association in Vero Beach
  • William E. Terry was elected VNA’s first chairman

1975

  • VNA is chartered as a nonprofit home health agency by a group of volunteers who later become the first Board of Directors
  • 80 home visits made during first month of operation

1976

  • Medicare provider number issued
  • Staff includes two nurses, one home health aide, a physical therapist and a secretary
  • Travel Adventure Series established as fund-raising event
  • 1,605 patient visits

1977

  • Rapid growth mandates need for two additional nurses
  • Blood pressure screenings and other community services initiated

1978

  • VNA exceeds 7,000 patient visits

1979

  • Staff increases to 24

1980

  • Memorial/Endowment Fund established

1981

  • Medicare direct billing via computer

1982

  • VNA joins forces with Hospice of the Treasure Coast to provide care for patients with terminal illnesses

1985

  • Staff increases to 30
  • Memorials and contributions total $15,000

1986

  • 37 VNA Hospice patients served
  • Human Services building groundbreaking

1987

  • After six moves in 11 years, the agency relocates to its headquarters on the grounds of IRC Hospital District

1988

  • More than 2,000 volunteer hours donated by 53 volunteers

1989

  • Staff increases to 150

1990

  • 15th anniversary

1991

  • First Golf-A-Thon raises $25,000

1992

  • In its first year of service, VNA Health Care on Wheels mobile unit treats more than 1,400 south Florida patients in need following Hurricane Andrew

1993

  • VNA Hospice serves more than 300 patients and families
  • 75,000 home visits

1994

  • 3,000-plus immunizations administered to Indian River County residents via “Shoo the Flu” campaign

1995

  • Camp Chrysalis children bereavement camp first session
  • VNA Hospice Thrift Avenue opens

1996

  • VNA Hospice House campaign launched

1998

  • Fourth Annual Women’s Health Expo reaches more than 1,000 women with health screenings
  • VNA Hospice incorporates the term ‘palliative care’ into its description of services
  • VNA Hospice House groundbreaking

1999

  • 82,990 home visits

2000

  • 10th Golf-A-Thon raises $103,000
  • VNA Space Coast office opens
  • Inaugural Treasure Coast Wine Auction raises $123,000 for VNA & Hospice Foundation
  • Staff increases to 338
  • VNA Hospice House opens
  • More than 300 volunteers contribute 25,538 hours

2001

  • VNA Space Coast office receives Medicare certification
  • Volunteer program increases by 26 percent, a $415,388 value
  • Dr. Richard Cunningham’s role expanded to VNA Medical Director
  • Point-of-care conversion; 60 laptop computer devices used in the field
  • Hospice House serves 156 patients

2002

  • VNA collaborates with local nonprofit agencies to create Women & Philanthropy program
  • Space Coast office serves 304 patients

2003

  • L.W. Pierce Family Foundation donates $1 million to VNA Hospice House Endowment Campaign
  • VNA initiates Healthcare Workforce Roundtable with local health care representatives
  • More than 350 volunteers donate 28,379 hours

2004

  • Indian River County Hospital District purchases new, state-of-the-art Health Care on Wheels mobile unit
  • Rehabilitation therapy program expanded to include physical, occupational and speech language pathology
  • VNA Health Care on Wheels mobile unit treats hundreds of Indian River and Charlotte county patients in need following hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne
  • VNA clinical and office staff work more than 4,000 hours at special needs shelter during hurricanes Frances and Jeanne

2005

  • VNA of the Treasure Coast celebrates its 30th anniversary
  • New model of care developed including cardiac, orthopedic/wound, and diabetes/urology teams
  • Approximately 5,600 patients receive care on VNA Mobile Unit

2006

  • VNA introduces a new brand identity “Comprehensive Healthcare. We’re There.” to the community
  • VNA Hidden Treasures resale boutique opens at new Vero “Miracle Mile” location
  • 16th Annual VNA Golf-A-Thon raises $168,000 for charitable home health and hospice care.

2007

  • VNA opens Sebastian office
  • VNA launches in-home telemonitoring initiative
  • Over 99,000 visits made
  • VNA Hospice serves 975 patients
  • More than 16,000 flu and pneumonia shots provided
  • Companion program re-branded as “Friends with Wheels”
  • 17th annual Golf-A-Thon raises more than $195,000
  • Mobile Unit services expanded to seven days per week, including new location in Wabasso; nealy 6,000 patient visits

2009

  • VNA Implements HomecareHomebase Electronic Medical Records System
  • VNA named one of Indian River County’s best places to work

2010

  • Joyce Baldrica named President & CEO of VNA
  • VNA Celebrates 35th Anniversary
  • 10th Anniversary of Hospice House Opening
  • 1st “Hustle for Home Health & Hospice” 3.5-mile Walk/Run Held
  • VNA named one of Indian River County’s best places to work

2011

  • Next-generation Cardiocom telehealth equipment procured
  • VNA launches Homesight program for patients living with low vision challenges
  • VNA named one of Indian River County’s best places to work

2012

  • Hidden Treasures Sebastian grand opening
  • VNA named one of Indian River County’s best places to work for 4th year in a row