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125 Years of Care

January 1, 2021 | VNA Staff | Story

VNA history 125 years

Anna Millard Rogers was a progressive young woman who recognized a need and vowed to fill it. The daughter of Omaha mayor Ezra Millard, Anna witnessed people in the streets who lived in poverty and lacked healthcare resources. She wanted to help, but her parents sent her on a European journey as a distraction from her calling. In Europe, her passion was reinforced. Anna saw the same issues of poverty and deteriorating health in the streets. She took her first healthcare courses in Germany and completed her nursing degree at Johns Hopkins University. When she returned to Omaha in 1896, she founded Visiting Nurse Association out of the mayor’s home.

From the beginning, Anna focused on the needs of Omaha’s children and families, especially those who were traditionally neglected by the healthcare system at that time. Long before the civil rights movement, VNA served a diverse population and hired an inclusive workforce. VNA nurses entered homes to provide healthcare, started well-baby clinics in local parks and ignored community warnings by entering brothels to care for sex workers and their children.

Staying Home has always been our mission.

After Medicare and Medicaid programs were signed into law, it was a natural progression for VNA to help fund the health and wellbeing of Omaha and Council Bluffs residents, including many senior adults who struggled to afford healthcare. Soon after, VNA began accepting private insurance, expanding into healthcare and hospice services that produce revenue and help the organization thrive today.

We believe so passionately in our foundational purpose – caring for those who cannot care for themselves – that we invest our revenue into mission-driven programs. Each time someone chooses VNA’s expert care, that revenue expands services to patients who are unable to pay. And with generous support from donors, we can reach even more people who need help.

No matter a patient’s need or place in life, VNA believes everyone deserves the highest-quality care possible. From history to present day, our actions reflect a vision for what health can be.

Today. Tomorrow. And the next 125 years.


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