Typically, rebranding either serves two purposes: presenting a new company identity or clarifying one that wasn’t getting across.
For Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY), becoming VNS Health is a case of the latter.
On Wednesday, the company announced that it has rebranded to VNS Health, with the goal being to represent the company’s overall evolution. But it also could be a sign of further out-of-state growth to come.
“We’re 129 years old now,” VNS Health CEO Dan Savitt told Home Health Care News. “We started as a home care organization, and we’re excited about continuing that history through, but we’ve become an organization with a lot of additional products and services.”
Now VNS Health, the New York-based company founded in 1893 is one of the largest nonprofit home- and community-based health care organizations in the U.S. On any given day, the company has 43,000 patients and health plan members in its care.
VNS Health’s service offerings include home health, hospice and palliative care services, in addition to mental health support and more.
With all of these offerings under the organization’s belt, Savitt wanted to operate under one brand and eliminate any confusion that may have existed in the past.
For context, some of the company’s service lines operated under a different name.
“Since we’ve grown in services, we’ve attached names to those services, in addition to the Visiting Nurse Service of New York,” Savitt said. “This created some confusion in the communities that we serve, as well as with our own employees, frankly. Our personal care services, for example, are branded ‘Partners in Care.’ When our home health aides have on clothing that says Partners in Care. That’s confusing to consumers.”
Still, honoring the company’s past remained top of mind throughout the rebranding process, Catherine Callaway, senior vice president of marketing and development at VNS Health, told HHCN.
“The name VNS Health really captures our legacy, but it unites us under the word ‘health’,” she said. “It was important, from a patient and a member perspective, that people really have clarity around what it is that we as an organization do. The name, as it was prior, wasn’t necessarily capturing the totality of who we were and what we do.”
Callaway has been a part of several rebranding efforts over the course of her career, including at British Airways.
Road to VNS Health
The road from VNSNY to VNS Health is a long one. Executives originally began their efforts — dubbed “project umbrella,” among those in the know — in 2019.
The first thing executives at the company did was focus their efforts internally. That included conducting a number of focus groups and listening sessions that encompassed everyone from the company’s admins, to seniors leaders and clinicians.
“It was really important that everybody not only feel included but that everybody feel represented in what we were doing,” Callaway said. “That culminated in an effort around really talking about who we were and how we talk about ourselves, internally and externally. Then that led to the launch of our core values — empathy, integrity and agility — at the end of 2019.”
Along with a new name, the VNS Health rebrand also includes the reveal of a new logo and tagline: “The future of care. The comfort of home.”
“Our new logo is meant to be welcoming, but at the same time, it’s meant to be fresh, bold and innovative,” Callaway said. “I think all of those things are important because they really capture the essence of VNS Health. Our circular icon really represents the continuum of care. The balance and symmetry of the icon are heralding the many parts of our organization.”
At the end of March, the company did an internal reveal of changes across the organization. The reveal was part of a larger engagement initiative, which included employee activities and contests at VNS Health.
Now, the company is focused on its external efforts, which began Wednesday. This means Savitt and other senior leaders communicating with the company’s key partners. VNS Health’s new site also goes live today.
Though Savitt stressed that serving New Yorkers continues to be the company’s priority, the rebrand to VNS Health positions the company to potentially expand its footprint across more markets one day.
Currently, the company serves the five boroughs of New York City, as well as Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties.
“We’re in growth mode,” Savitt told HHCN last year. “We’re expanding both within and outside of New York. We’ve got a number of new areas that we’d like to partner with others around the country on.”
Strategically, the rebrand is also meant to support diversification. With that in mind, VNS Health plans to keep introducing new service lines.
“We have a couple of service lines; one out of our care management organization, and the second is a set of professional solutions that we believe makes delivering care in the home and community easier and simplifies the health care experience for people,” Savitt said. “We’re excited about those. We want to be able to deliver that, and partner with other health plans and like-minded organizations across the country.”
The company is also open to potentially expanding its health plans — which will also undergo a name change as part of the rebrand — outside of the state.
“We’re not limiting the scope,” Savitt said. “We’re focused on moving outside of New York with care management and professional solutions, but if there are strategic opportunities to offer our health plan in other communities that make sense, over the coming five years, we’re going to look to do that.”
Ultimately, Savitt believes that VNS Health better reflects the company’s identity.
“Our new name is just easier to understand,” he said. “It unites us as a single team and a single organization.”