Long time El Paso home care provider to close its doors, employees and patients on edge

KDBC
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 11:48pm

Big changes to the nation's healthcare industry have one long time El Paso business calling it quits - the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) is closing its doors after more than 45 years in business.

"It was not a pretty day here yesterday. It's been very tough," said Joe Wardy, CEO and President of the VNA.

"Hearing that VNA is closing it's doors, being as large as they are and established as they are, is a little scary," said Jennifer Mansion with Home Instead.

Some 850 VNA providers will be out of work and more than 800 patients will need care.

But Wardy says the organization aims to help employees find new jobs and patients find new providers by the end of this year.

"Make sure that they know the options that are available to them, and so that there is no rush to do anything, and that we transition them properly. Most employees will be pulled into other companies," he said.

Home Instead is one of several health care companies that has approached the VNA offering help. They want to take in both VNA employees and patients in hopes that the provider-patient bond will not be broken.

"We're certainly established enough and large enough that we can do all this in a short time frame, and in large numbers so that everybody continues on smoothly without any disruption in their services," said Mansion.

The VNA pointed to changes in the healthcare industry and the Affordable Healthcare Act as one of the reasons why they couldn't make enough money to survive - competitors agreed the changes make operations more tricky.

"There are changes coming and it is going to take a little bit of strategy on everybody's part to figure out how to stay afloat and what to do to stay in business, and to keep everybody cared for," said Mansion.

The VNA says their employees will be paid in full before the company closes its doors and they've been given 60 days notice, as required by law.

They expect to completely shut the company down by March 2014.

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