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History

The Visiting Nurse Association traces its beginnings to a single nurse who rode a bicycle to visit patients at their homes. Throughout its history, VNA leaders continually pushed to provide more to Washington - more nurses, more services, and greater geographic coverage, all while embracing the philosophy of "patient first," a philosophy that is still reflected in our current MedStar Health values.

The proposal to create a visiting nurse society was patterned after similar ventures in the late 19th century in more rapidly industrializing cities. The movement for home health started in England in 1875, when a member of Parliament, William Rathbone, organized nursing services to be provided in the homes of working-class Liverpool residents. Later, it spread to other industrial cities in England and then immigrated across the Atlantic to New York City. By the founding of the Instructive Visiting Nurse Society in 1900, only 20 such societies existed in the United States, employing about 130 visiting nurses.

The Visiting Nurse Association has weathered many storms in its over 100 years of existence, including a number of wars, the Great Depression, and financial and regulatory struggles as the ever-evolving models of medicine.

As the area it serves has grown, so has the VNA. What began in 1900 as a small venture sponsored by individual donations has expanded today to encompass numerous cities, hundreds of nurses and other health care specialists, offering services to thousands of residents in the greater Washington-Baltimore area. Today, the nurses and other health care professionals of the VNA bring the latest advances in home health care to their patients' doors.

Timeline

1900, April 16Instructive Visiting Nurse Society of Washington, DC was incorporated by Emily Tuckerman, Mary W.C. Bayard, and Dr. Anne A Wilson.
1904IVNS opens its office at 2001 I Street, NW
1909IVNS enters into an experimental relationship with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, showing that nursing care could be a cost-effective investment for insurance companies.
1913Budget grows almost five-fold to $21,000. One out of every seven visits was made to tuberculosis patients.
1919First public fundraising campaign reaches goal of $50,000
1923, October 15First branch office opens, serving Georgetown
1924, AprilSecond branch office opens, serving Brightwood, Takoma Park, Petworth, Park View, Mount Pleasant
1925Third branch office opens, serving Southwest Washington
1927IVNS has four cars in its fleet. Mrs. Calvin Coolidge presides over celebration of the 27th anniversary
1930Budget peaks at $139,772 before Great Depression
1932Eight cars in fleet, city divided into 70 districts
1951First physical therapist added to staff
1953Name changed to Visiting Nurse Association, pilot program initiated in Prince George's County to expand services to Maryland
1954Patients in Montgomery County included
1956Visiting nurse services begin to be covered under major medical insurance plans, starting with Group Hospitalization, Inc. of Washington, DC
1958Social worker added to staff
VNA signs contracts with Medicaid agencies in DC and Maryland
Mid 1960sVNA expands services in the home by introducing home health aides
1967Branch offices in Prince Georges and Montgomery County opened
1975First Lady Betty Ford hosted 75th Anniversary on the White House lawn
1987Merged with Medlantic Healthcare Group, Inc.
1998Merged with Helix Health, adding Baltimore area patients
1999Organization becomes MedStar Health
2011Central Maryland office named to national Homecare Elite List
2012Washington, D.C. office named to national Homecare Elite List
2013Merged with Southern Maryland Home Health, expanding coverage to Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary's Counties
2014Central Maryland and Washington, D.C. offices are both named to national Homecare Elite List
2015Washington, D.C. agency named to national Homecare Elite List
2016Central Maryland and Washington, D.C. offices are both named to national Homecare Elite List
MedStar VNA President Named VNAA Public Policy Advocate of the Year