What is a Visiting Nurse Association?

Providing Care in the Home Since the 1880s

A Visiting Nurse Association is known by several names – VNA, Visiting Nurse Agency or Home Healthcare Agency/Association.

The history of VNAs dates back to the 1880s in New York where free nursing care was provided to the sickest and poorest who otherwise would not have access to health care. The influx of immigrants to the Northeast spurred several other VNAs to emerge and address the increased prevalence of illness and infectious diseases, such as polio and small pox.

The pioneer of American public health nursing is Lillian D. Wald, a nurse, social worker, and advocate for women and children, who established the Henry Street Settlement in New York City.

Today, VNAs fall into two categories: for-profit and nonprofit. The Visiting Nurse Association of America represents nonprofit VNAs. Guided by their charitable missions, nonprofit VNAs care for nearly 4 million people annually , offering quality of life and independence to all Americans through comprehensive home health care..

VNAs provide home health care for patients of all ages, and are the educators of disease prevention and health promotion. As patients spend less time in the hospital and the American population continues to age, the demand for home health care has been steadily increasing. To meet demands, VNAs’ expertly trained clinical staff use the latest technology available to deliver comprehensive quality care. 

With their long history of providing quality care, nonprofit VNAs are recognized as an important community resource and are governed by voluntary boards of directors. This community-based board ensures that the VNA addresses the specific healthcare needs of their locale.

Medicare, Medicaid, most third party payers, and tax-deductible charitable contributions reimburse VNA services.