Thursday, December 24, 2009

From an email to all VNA of Boston employees…


It’s quiet here in Charlestown and I have some quiet music playing in the background (Whitney Houston’s “Do You Hear What I Hear?”… what a voice!).  I thought I would take the opportunity to wish all of you a happy holiday week (Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year, etc.).

Word is breaking now that the US Senate has passed a comprehensive health reform bill this morning.  Though a lot of work remains to try to pull together a combined House and Senate package that is acceptable to all, this feels like a historic moment nevertheless.  And big questions remain, such as how can we pay for all this?  But I do believe that one of the true sparks for this effort comes from a desire to be a compassionate society.  Having working in a community health center and an acute care hospital, I know that we basically do provide services for all… but the services are disconnected and often based solely on urgency.  By offering preventive and basic primary care services to the currently uninsured, we improve people’s lives and, in the long run, make health care more affordable.  As you know, good chronic disease management improves health and cuts costs in ways that frantic visits to the ER never will.

As I’m continuing to meet all of you and to learn about the VNA of Boston, I now have begun to hear more from those who rely upon us.  And from those who entrust their patients to our care.  The true, original spark for the VNA of Boston itself was a desire to be a compassionate society.  We are motivated and inspired by our mission… which was born some 125 years ago on the waterfront of Boston and which is no less relevant or vital today.  No one contests the value of our mission and the role we play, but it’s evident that we can back that up too.  We back it up with state-of-the-art home care services, supporting technologies, and a staff and management team who work hard to make sure we live up to our storied heritage. 

I’ve been focusing over my first few months on our budget for next year, our strategic planning goals, and meeting as many of you as I possibly can.  I’m even starting to remember some of your names (but please be patient if I don’t remember all of them… there are a lot of you!).  We’re well positioned for the future.  But we’ll have some challenges too as we need to critically assess our technology platform in an evolving industry, make sure we’re ready for the changes that national health reform and local payment reform will bring, continue to focus hard on patient and customer satisfaction, and continue to concentrate on improving outcomes and managing our resources carefully.

Thank you for your part.  Whether you provide compassionate care in our patients’ homes (including on snowy days such as last weekend) or work behind the scenes making sure our systems run without a hitch, that our employees get accurate paychecks, report information out properly and on time to regulators, generate good information for managers to make decisions, smoothly process referrals and payments, or make sure our facilities are clean and efficient… you are an important part of the VNAB story, the VNAB mission.  We have a lot to be thankful for in 2009… I know I do.

Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy holiday season and a happy, healthy 2010.  Enjoy the next few days.



  1. I got a big smile reading your blog post this morning when I read the phrase "compassionate society." I had just recently been forwarded a paper from the Woman's Learning Partnership about moving toward a compassionate society: I always like when an important term like that keeps coming up in different contexts. It makes me pay attention. Your blog post is a nice reminder that there is something much more important beyond the political haggling about how to pay for health care: the political dialogue obscures a conversation about why we want to offer health care to all as a country. Doing so improves the lives of individuals and families and raises up the potential for all of our experiences. Thanks for the holiday message.

  2. Why is it that the roof on the VNA logo is misaligned? The chimney should be aligned with the left two squares. Better question: Why has it been this way since the rebranding and never corrected?

  3. I've been scanning the e-waves for VN blogs, found yours. Not too many out there it seems.
    Thanks for your perspective, and the encouragement (and links) to keep the fires lit under the seats of those making the big decisions.
    I found another perspective that seems to come from the other side of the desk, so to speak, @

  4. To Anonymous who said: "Why is it that the roof on the VNA logo is misaligned? The chimney should be aligned with the left two squares. Better question: Why has it been this way since the rebranding and never corrected?"

    When I first read your comment, I thought you were offering an opinion on the artistry of the logo itself and I know that we can all debate artistry forever. Obviously, it's subjective. But upon further review, I believe you are commenting on whether we are being consistent in the application of our selected logo. If that's the case, then I will certainly look into this. Thanks for pointing it out.