In July, 1968, the Clarion Community Action Agency and concerned citizens met to organize the Clarion County Visiting Nurse Association. The Association was incorporated as a non-profit corporation August 1969. Concerned citizens raised funds in various ways including a contribution from the Clarion County Commissioners. The funds were depleted and the agency could no longer provide services by May, 1972. The VNA was reactivated in July 1973 through the efforts of the Board of Directors and community leaders. The Association became accredited with the State of Pennsylvania. This accreditation was made possible because the VNA operated as a branch office of the Butler Regional Home health Care Agency with Sister Willemene Krise as Executive Director. The Agency was receiving Medicare, Medicaid, and other insurance reimbursement as well as monies from the United Fund and the Clarion County Commissioners.
The Board of Directors of the Clarion County Visiting Nurse Association terminated the agreement with Butler Regional Home Health Agency on October 15, 1975. Sister Willemene Krise became Executive Director of the Clarion County Visiting Nurse Association. Approval by Medicare and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1975 enabled the agency to separate from Butler. Additional funding came from the Commissioners and the United Way of Clarion County. Supportive services were added. First home health aides, then physical therapy, speech therapy, and medical social services.
A branch office was opened in Tionesta, Forest County in 1979. The branch office was closed in 1987. However, services continue to the residents of Forest County from the office of Clarion County.
In 1986, Clarion County Visiting Nurse Association was restructured to allow more flexibility in program development, the ability to provided low cost care, and fund raising. The system consisted of a parent cooperation, Clarion forest Visiting Nurse Association, Inc. and three subsidiaries: Clarion Forest VNA, VNA Extended Care Services, and VNA Foundation. The system was again changed in 1990 to its present structure.
Jill Over became the Executive Director of the agency in 1988. The agency was undergoing great financial hardship at that time. Thanks to the hard work of a dedicated board and staff, the agency was able to recover and begin to grow again.
A maternal/infant program was started in 1990. Specialty Care was added in 1991 to provide services to patients in an acute phase of a progressive illness. Occupational therapy was also added in 1991.
VNA’s Specialty Care and Extended Care Services became the proud occupants of a new office in Clarion on February 14, 1994. Formerly housed in the main headquarters in Knox, these programs were now operating out of the West Penn Orthopedics building on Perkins Road.
In March 1994, the VNA received certification from Medicare to provide hospice care. This certification enabled the VNA to provide care for the terminally ill under the Medicare Hospice Benefit and was the first program of its kind in Clarion and Forest counties.
In the fall of 1994, the VNA purchased the property directly behind the Knox Office. It now houses the VNA Business Office.
In 1997 the VNA added an Adult Daily Living Center (ADLC) which was housed on the West End of Main Street in Clarion. In September of 1998 Specialty Care and Hospice moved to the Knox Main Office. In March of 1999 Extended Care moved from the West Penn Orthopedic building to our Adult Day Care building in Clarion. In 2002, Extended Care purchased a building located along Main Street in Shippenville, PA and both Extended Care and the ADLC are currently located there.
Hospice House became a reality when it opened its doors in September 2006. The front portion of the Extended Care building was remodeled into a three bedroom home with a living space, sun porch, kitchen, full and a half bath, counseling room and a new conference room.
Today, the Clarion Forest VNA and VNA Extended Care Services maintain the tradition of excellence in home health care handed down to them by the Clarion County VNA.