United Way Spotlight An agency which receives funding from United Way of Vermillion will be featured in this spotlight each week. The United Way of Vermillion Board of Directors wants you, the people of Vermillion, to know more about the agencies that receive United Way funding and the services which they provide to the Vermillion community.
This week's featured agency is the Visiting Nurses Association division of Sioux Valley Vermillion Home Care Services.
The mission of the Visiting Nurses Association is to provide intermittent home nursing care and therapeutic services to individuals and families in the Vermillion community regardless of the ability to pay. Home visits are made by registered nurses, home health aides, social workers, speech therapists, physical therapists and occupational therapists.
The funds which the Visiting Nurses Association receives from United Way of Vermillion are used to provide home visits to individuals and their families who cannot afford the cost of these visits and who are not covered by insurance programs. In 1999, 1,622 visits were made to individuals and families in the Vermillion area.
Home health visits allow Vermillion area residents to have shorter hospital stays, to remain in their homes longer, and help to keep residents active in their homes and communities. Some of the services offered by the visiting nurses are monitoring the patients' medications, blood pressure, and activity. Nurses change dressings, monitor healing of surgical incisions, offer suggestions for nutritional, appealing meals, and provide companionship for the patients during their visits in the home.
Individuals who need physical, occupational, or speech therapy, but who cannot leave their residence, are provided with those services in their home.
Social workers who visit in the home help both patients and family members deal with issues that arise regarding continued care, rehabilitation, and the need for on-going treatment. They also address the emotional needs of both patients and family members and provide information as to what services are available and where to access them. They also provide information as to what services may be reimbursed through private insurance and/or Medicare, Medicare supplements, and Medicaid.
Home care funding changes from year to year. In 1999 it was a year of decreased Medicare reimbursement which was an affect of the Balanced Budget Amendment and the Interim Payment System. As a result, patients who were admitted to hospitals were sicker and required longer visits by home health care nurses.
Beginning in October of this year, funding for home care will change once again, this time, hopefully, with a promise of increased reimbursement over the year of 1999. However, even if reimbursement for services increases from federal sources, the need for support by the Vermillion community through the United Way will still be very real.