Concerned about their families after dusty Bucks County roads caused a variety of health-related issues, fourteen women gathered on April 26, 1895 and formed the Village Improvement Association dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Central Bucks community. Early on they arranged to eliminate dust in the streets and later established the first visiting nurse service in Doylestown. In 1923, they founded Doylestown Hospital.
Since that time, the VIA has grown in size and scope to its present membership of over 300 women. VIA members are a vital presence at Doylestown Hospital which has become a nationally-recognized, awarding-winning community hospital providing exceptional healthcare services in a compassionate environment. The organization also oversees Pine Run Retirement Community which encompasses Independent Living, Personal Care, Alzheimer and Dementia Care and Rehabilitation Services.
The organization’s efforts go beyond health services in supporting the local community. It offers one-time grants to community efforts; educational scholarships for outstanding high school seniors pursuing health-related careers and women seeking professional careers; and through its Welfare Fund, the VIA provides a variety of support for those in our community with emergency needs.
The VIA is proud to call the James-Lorah Memorial Home at 132 North Main Street in Doylestown its headquarters. Once the home of Sarah M. James (a charter member of the VIA), the home was bequeathed to the organization in 1954. The Federal-style building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The community is the primary concern of the VIA which initiated a wide range of programs to support and enhance the quality of life in Central Bucks County.
In November 1985, the VIA membership approved a plan for corporate restructuring that created the VIA Health System. This plan took effect in March 1986 and has enabled the VIA and Doylestown Hospital to operate more efficiently and with greater diversification.
In 1992, the VIA acquired the Pine Run Community and Health Center and in 1998 added a separate assisted-living complex known as Pine Run Lakeview.
In May 2001, the Health & Wellness Center by Doylestown Hospital opened in Warrington. In addition to private physician practices and the Cornerstone Fitness Club and Spa, hospital services currently located in this facility include diagnostic imaging (X-ray, CT, MRI), laboratory services, Phase 3 cardiac rehab, the Woman’s Diagnostic Center, Healthy Directions Nutrition Therapy and Counseling and an outpatient surgery center.
Throughout its history, the VIA has continued to be forward looking, while maintaining the original goals of the Association which are to promote “every proper means of improving and beautifying Bucks County…improving the health and welfare of the residents,” and “supporting a community hospital and other health care facilities for the benefit of all persons.” Each year members rededicate themselves to these commitments made in 1895.