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Jill Over Retires After 40 Years as Clarion Forest VNA CEO
CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Clarion Forest VNA employees, board of directors, and friends from 40 years surprised retiring VNA CEO Jill Over on Thursday morning, thanking her for her dedication, leadership, and devotion in developing a premier health service featuring visiting nurses.
(Photos by Dave Cyphert of ProPoint Media Photography)
Over started as a staff nurse, moved into a supervisory position, and five or six years later became the executive director.
“At some point, someone on the board decided I needed a fancier title, and that’s when I became CEO,” Over told exploreClarion.com.
“One of the ladies I bowled with, Roberta Snyder, was a home health aide at Clarion Forest VNA, and I was a young nurse. She asked: ‘Why don’t you apply to the VNA? It’s a great place to work.’ I was a little tired of working nights all the time, so I decided to apply. I’d like to say it’s because I had just a wonderful need to be a home health nurse, but it was because I was tired of working nights. I decided to apply, and I was hired.”
Ask her about her biggest accomplishments, and her pride shines.
“We are a wonderful healthcare provider for the people in our community and a four-star rated agency. I’m so proud of it. I’m just the person that helps to make things happen; I don’t make them happen by myself. I feel that bigger isn’t always better and that we focus on taking care of people at home. That’s the most important thing, and we do a really good job at it.”
Over added that one of her biggest accomplishments is the Clarion Forest VNA building located at 271 Perkins Road in Clarion.
Jill offered some of the high points of her career.
“In my time with the VNA, I started out at a house in Shippenville, and then we moved to a building in Knox which we were in for quite a few years, and we just outgrew it. Our board of directors, with Dave Cox as the president, decided we needed to build a building in Clarion close to the hospital. (It took) lot of help from my CFO Colette Vickers to make it happen and then with the help of the community to raise a lot of money for us, so we could get the building started and open.”
Do you feel comfortable handing over the reins as CEO to Lisa Steiner?
“Yes, very comfortable I have actually been handing stuff off to her probably for the last year now. She wasn’t the only person interviewed for the job, so, I was really glad when she got it. Because otherwise, I would have been working with another person. But yes, totally comfortable, and she’s got way more energy than I do, and she is so dedicated to this place. She’s been here 25 years, and she loves this place and just loves having a top-notch organization to run.
“It’s also good she serves in the pandemic because she can learn from trial by fire in case it comes back.”
What’s been the most challenging part of your years?
Jill noted one of the most challenging parts of her job was the continuously changing regulations. She added that when you just get used to one way of doing things, everything changes.
“We’ve had our payment system changed probably three or four times in the last ten years. So, just the continuous changing of regulations. And, the other really challenging thing is very rarely being in great financial condition. We’re a not-for-profit – and in truth, we are not for profit.
“In 40 years at this agency, there’s probably been four times where we’ve actually had a positive bottom line. It’s just a continuous struggle with money and regulations, and we just really appreciate the fact that the community steps up and continues to make donations to the VNA.”
In addition to income from Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance, fundraising is also part of the picture.
“Our biggest fundraiser every year is our golf outing which typically has raised close to $20,000 a year for our hospice program, This year they’re just talking about it. Now, we had to delay it until the end or mid-September, and it’s typically at the end of June.
“We didn’t feel right going out to businesses and entities that have taken financial hits through the whole COVID crisis to ask them to donate at this point in time. There’s a group that’s discussing how to handle all that, and we know we’re at least going to have a golf outing. Even if it’s just fun for the women that come to the golf outing every year.
“We are also funded by the Clarion County United Way, and our agency gets funding from them every year again that’s designated to our hospice program. We have our butterfly release that raises a little bit of money, and that’s for our Volunteer and our Spiritual Care Program. Those are our main fundraisers.”
When you started at VNA forty years ago, you were a nurse, but how much more did you have to learn?
“I had to learn everything. I replaced a person who already left her position. She left a piece of paper with three things written on it that the executive director needed to do. Those three things have gone away over time, but there’s way more than three things that you have to do and I had to learn it all.
“I was just a kid, and it was one of those times when the agency was really in a lot of financial trouble, and so I just had to learn it and then relearn it as the regulations changed.”
Over is leaving a note for Lisa Steiner, and there are probably 15 to 20 pages of everything month to month and day to day that she needs to do.
“She also has my phone number,” Over added.
(Video credit: Kelly Beveridge)
Quality of Care
“The thing I’m most proud of is the quality of care that we give. If people just understood what a great health care organization we are. For instance, I received a letter about a year ago from a woman in Forest County who said she grew up in the city and lived there until recently. She said she never expected to come to Forest County and get the high quality of care that she has received from the VNA. I’m just so proud of these people, and I think everybody cares about the job that they do.
“Working through the COVID Pandemic, they just went out and saw their patients. I’m sure everyone was scared, but they did what they needed to do to take care of people. We had several referrals of people that had been in the hospital positive with COVID, and we took care of them when they came out of the hospital. Our staff had PPE from the middle of March. But, when you’re seeing someone that has been diagnosed with it, then there’s more involved with wearing a gown, gloves, and a mask.”
Jill and her husband Lawrence have some plans for retirement, but some are on hold because of COVID.
“We’re going to do hopefully a little bit of traveling. Our initial thoughts a few months ago were that we would head out west, but even though I feel like the pandemic isn’t a huge issue right now, we put off those plans. We’re not doing that yet. We plan to go to Erie to watch our granddaughter play soccer, but I hear it’s still in yellow, so I don’t know if she’s going to get to play soccer.”
Ever the realist after serving 40 years at the VNA, Over offers some other possibilities.
“My alternate plan is to sit on my couch, get even fatter, and play Candy Crush. So far, that part of the plan is coming together.”
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