Regional Digest

The Visiting Nurse Association of Central Massachusetts (VNAMA; Worcester, MA) will merge with another non-profit home healthcare agency, VNA Care Network of Waltham, effective Jan. 1. The Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported that the combined agency will have the largest service area of all visiting nurse organizations in the state, serving more than 200 communities in five counties in eastern and central Massachusetts. The area has a population of more than 3.5 million, the Telegram & Gazette reported. The agencies said the merger will allow them to share clinical expertise, better respond to community health needs, and increase access to a broad range of specialty programs. In addition to home care and wellness programs, the combined agencies operate three of the four hospice residences in Massachusetts, including Coes Pond (Worcester), Chilton House (Cambridge), and the Stanley R. Tippett Home (Needham).

A new regulation in Maine from the Bureau of Elder and Adult Services, which is meant to reserve the state’s home care funds for those who need them the most, denies state-funded care to those who receive home care funded by Medicaid. The regulation is causing trouble for some in the state who need the funding from the state, but also rely on home care services paid for by Medicaid, reported the Associated Press. The bureau says it is not fair to have someone on a state-funded program who has access to some other funding source, when there are people on a waiting list for state-funded services. "They’re taking up a spot for someone who doesn’t have that option," the bureau said.