MANSFIELD -- The Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio has closed its Mansfield office. 

A letter from the organization stated that the VNA has served clients in Richland County for 20 years. Services will continue in Erie, Huron, Wayne and Ashland counties.

According to the organization’s website, VNA is home health care and hospice provider. Its only other Ohio office is located in Brooklyn Heights.

VNA President Lisa von Lehmden-Zidek said the organization is voluntarily closing its Mansfield office to focus on its core services in Cleveland. She added that the organization’s client base had been shrinking.

“We experienced a steady drop in the number of patients over the past year, and only about 20 patients are currently on service with us,” von Lehmden-Zidek said. “We had a very small clinical staff in Mansfield, and have been able to offer them positions through our Brooklyn Heights office.”    

The organization will continue to provide care for the its remaining patients through early March. According to von Lehmden-Zidek, the VNA expects most of its area patients to be “safely discharged” by March 6. Patients who still need care at that point will be transferred to other home health agencies.

All VNA patients in the area were contacted directly and via certified mail that it would be discontinuing services. The VNA also provided them with a list of other home health care agencies in the area.

Dan Varn, executive director of United Way, said VNA had been a partner for many years. United Way provided funds to help cover the cost of serving low-income patients. 

Varn estimated the VNA "only received around $6,000" from United Way of Richland County last year. 

"Like all of our partner agencies, they did a proposal and we funded them based on that proposal," he said. "They did let us know after the turn of the year that they weren't going to seek out those funds anymore."

While there are many home health care centers in the area, Varn was unsure of how many provide low-cost care to individuals with low income. He said United Way is still having discussions about how it will use the funds formerly allocated to the VNA.

“We haven’t had those discussions yet just because it's all so new," Varn said. "We'll be looking to take a look at some of our health serving agencies to see if there are gaps."

Current VNA patients in Richland County are encouraged to call the VNA Access Center at 877-698-6264 for assistance.

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