LeadingAge Magazine · May-June 2019 • Volume 09 • Number 03

Collective Influence, Advocacy, and Expertise

May 20, 2019 | by Gene Mitchell

Leaders of the Visiting Nurse Associations of America and its parent, ElevatingHOME, explain the benefits of affiliation with LeadingAge.

“As nonprofits, our members share a mission-centered approach, especially in caring for older adults. We have so much in common, and we have a chance to be part of a dynamic organization that has a longstanding commitment to shaping the future of services and supports for people with chronic conditions as they age.”

So says Kate Rolf, president & CEO of Nascentia Health, Syracuse, NY. Rolf is also chair of the Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA), and the “we” she is referring to is VNAA and LeadingAge.

As was announced in February, LeadingAge has entered into an agreement, with intent to affiliate, with VNAA and its parent organization, ElevatingHOME.

VNAA was founded in 1983; ElevatingHOME was created in 2017, according to Heather Corbin, ElevatingHOME’s director of member relations. All VNAA members, who are nonprofit, became ElevatingHOME members at that time. Today, says Corbin, there are 52 ElevatingHOME members that are providers, and about 75 overall.

“ElevatingHOME was developed as a collaborative, a way to convene VNAA and other organizations that might be interested in care sector to move forward and work together,” says Rolf. “[ElevatingHOME] was meant as a convener to help us move forward without the limitations of membership to just nonprofit organizations.”

Corbin adds that most members are home health and hospice providers; some do private duty or infusion services. “It’s a bit more segmented than it once was. The [members] have to find a way to branch out the services they provide, but the primary focus is hospice, home health, and palliative care.”

Rolf’s organization, Nascentia Health, is a long-time LeadingAge member, as are a number of other ElevatingHOME-member organizations.

Next Steps to Affiliation

The process of affiliation is proceeding, but ElevatingHOME’s bylaws require its members to vote on the affiliation. The vote has not been scheduled but will likely occur this fall, “hopefully in time for the LeadingAge Annual Meeting,” Rolf says. In the meantime, 2 ElevatingHOME staff are now working out of the LeadingAge offices in Washington, DC.

The boards of the two organizations have been connected as well during the process. Two LeadingAge board members now sit on both the LeadingAge and ElevatingHOME boards: Chair-Elect Carol Silver Elliott, president and CEO of Jewish Home Family in New Jersey, and Terri Cunliffe, president and CEO of Illinois-based Covenant Living Communities & Services. In return, 2 ElevatingHOME board members now sit on both boards as well: Rolf and Joseph Scopelliti, president & CEO of the Pennsylvania-based VNA Health System. Scopelliti is also chair of ElevatingHOME.

Benefits to Both Memberships

“This represents an excellent opportunity for both organizations,” says Scopelliti. “From our home health/hospice perspective, it gives us access to the depth and breadth of services LeadingAge has available. From the LeadingAge perspective, it gives access to additional home health expertise. Instead of [us all] existing in silos, you achieve some way to look at the patient as a whole, so it seems natural that this ought to be a trend in trade associations as well.

“It brings a tremendous opportunity for influence, education, research, and advocacy that both organizations can jointly present.”

ElevatingHOME members, says Rolf, “will still see the high-quality and person-centered service and support we provide, but this makes us stronger together because we’ll have the combined expertise, more solid resources for research, policy, and advocacy. As nonprofits, our members share a mission-centered approach, especially in caring for older adults.”

Editor’s note: For more on the affiliation, see this “Conversations With Katie” post.

Gene Mitchell is editor of LeadingAge magazine.