RIDGEFIELD — Visiting nurse associations in three Danbury area towns will join forces under the flag of Ridgefield’s RVNAhealth to serve 36 Connecticut communities.

The merger combines the Bethel Visiting Nurse Association and New Milford Visiting Nurse and Hospice with RVNAhealth, forming a single non-for-profit organization.

“The tri-union will result in a single not-for-profit, mission-driven organization, best able to meet the needs of the 36 communities they collectively serve in Fairfield, Litchfield, and New Haven counties, and highly sustainable for the long term,” said an announcement the three agencies made public late Wednesday morning, Sept. 9.

“The agencies anticipate a close date by the end of 2020 and the unified organization will operate as RVNAhealth as approved by their respective Boards of Directors. This merger will make RVNAhealth one of the two largest home health and hospice organizations in Fairfield County and the seventh largest in the state of Connecticut.”

The collective organization will be headquartered at the RVNAhealth building off Governor Street in Ridgefield center. The New Milford Visiting Nurse and Hospice location will serve as a fully operational branch office.

Theresa Santoro, MSN, RN, CHCA, current president and chief executive officer of RVNAhealth, will become president and CEO of the new organization.

The announcement reflects the mutual acceptance of a “definitive agreement,” the final step in a process which included extensive research, analysis, and review by the Boards of Directors of the three VNAs.

“Our driving force is the health and well-being of our patients and communities — today, tomorrow, and 50 years from now,” said Santoro. “As we worked through the details of the union, and as the COVID-19 pandemic made abundantly clear, pooling our collective talent and resources will allow us to invest deeply in the technologies and services that our communities need to thrive, and that we as agencies need to effectively respond to future health challenges.”

The unified agency is designed to offer:

 Improved access to home-based and community-based care for individuals and communities across western Connecticut, to address the increasing needs of the state’s rapidly growing aging population as well as the needs of younger families for access to preventative care.

 Expanded offerings of preventative and wellness care and educational programs across populations and communities.

 An enhanced continuum of care to address all ages, stages, and levels of health, including: community wellness services, home health, rehabilitation, palliative and hospice care; personal care-giving and nursing; and a range of educational and preventative programs — nutrition services; immunizations; annual flu and pneumonia vaccines; health fairs.