VNA History

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Putting Patients First Since 1910

For more than 100 years, VNA has served thousands of patients in the Rockford area through home medical equipment, older adult services, hospice care, and home health services. Throughout that time, our goal has remained simple, to provide the best possible care for patients in their homes, serving with compassion to give patients the dignity they deserve.

Over the years, we’ve hit several milestones. We invite you to browse through our history to see how we’ve grown over the years.

VNA Historical Timeline

  • 1910
    Mrs. W.R. Fringer and Mrs. Walter Forbes lay the foundation for VNA by sharing their vision of providing visiting nursing services and home care for sick and disabled patients.
  • 1912
    Miss Violet Jensen becomes first nurse hired by the VNA and conducts the first crippled children’s clinic.
  • 1928
    Rockford is hit by a tornado, damaging hundreds of buildings and injuring scores of people. VNA nurses were on the scene within 15 minutes.
  • 1945
    The nation’s polio epidemic leads to VNA nurses providing care in homes and hospitals in Rockford.
  • 1950s
    VNA nurses Well Baby Clinics are established to provide quality care for infants.
  • 1960s
    Medicare is established and VNA begins its Home Health Aide program.
  • 1970s
    VNA starts expanding its service area beyond Rockford.
  • 1980s
    New programs are established for Older Adult Care, Home Medical Equipment, Hospice, Private Duty and HMOs.
  • 1993
    VNA receives accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
  • 1997
    Rockford Health System merger occurs
  • 2000
    VNA celebrates 90 years of service to the Rockford area
  • 2006
    Denise Schrader is named Executive Director of VNA
  • 2008
    VNA’s Hospice program expands its service area and Telehealth monitoring is implemented.
  • 2009
    VNA’s Pay for Performance program is introduced and VNA Hospice begins offering General Inpatient hospice treatment.
  • 2010
    VNA celebrates 100 years of service, the Contemplative Care Team is introduced and the Accordable Care Act is signed into law, impacting healthcare for the next 10 years.
  • 2011
    VNA’s Elder Abuse Neglect and Exploitation prevention program celebrates 25 years
  • 2014
    In October, Rockford Health System announces a merger with Mercy Health System of Janesville, Wisconsin.
  • 2015
    The two merged health systems become known as Mercy Rockford Health System and VNA management assumes leadership role of Mercy Assisted Care.