Home Health Business Briefs: Home Instead’s New CEO, 3 Providers Merge

As one of the fastest-growing sectors in the United States, home health care is teeming with activity — from acquisitions and partnerships to new leadership appointments and promotions. Here’s the latest news buzzing around the industry:

Home Instead Appoints Jeff Huber as CEO

Home Instead, Inc., the franchisor for Home Instead Senior Care, a leading provider of in-home care for seniors, announced recently that company president Jeff Huber will also take on the role of CEO, effective April 15.

Current CEO Roger Baumgart will become CEO emeritus and remain executive director of the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation.

In his 17 years with Home Instead, Huber has served as chief administrative officer, chief development officer and vice president of franchise development, and has seen the company grow from 125 franchise offices to more than 1,000 franchises in 16 countries.

“Jeff has played a critical role in Home Instead’s growth,” said Home Instead Co-Founder and Chairman Paul Hogan. “I have the utmost confidence in his ability to lead the organization to a next level, as he continues to ensure Home Instead’s services positively impacts the lives of seniors and their families around the world.”

As president, Huber has overseen strategic planning and advocacy for the Home Instead Senior Care network, provided leadership on key initiatives, and managed the day-to-day operations of the global headquarters.

During his 19 years with Home Instead, Baumgart has held several key leadership positions, including vice president, senior vice president, chief operating officer and president.

“Home Instead will be eternally grateful for Roger’s leadership, as his guiding hand has helped to shape and build Home Instead Senior Care into a worldwide leader that has raised the standard of care for seniors,” Hogan said. “Since the near inception of Home Instead, he has helped us grow further than we could have ever imagined, and he has positioned us for success in the future.”

As executive director of the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation, Baumgart has overseen more than $1.5 million in grant funding throughout the United States and Canada, a number he plans to continue to grow as he continues in that role.

Huber moves into the CEO position as the organization continues global expansion to meet the needs of seniors and their families around the world.

Pennsylvania Hospital Consolidates With Guthrie Health System  

Guthrie, a nonprofit integrated health system in north central Pennsylvania and upstate New York, and Memorial Hospital Inc. in Towanda, Pa., will officially affiliate on April 1.

After the affiliation occurs, Memorial Hospital will be named Guthrie Towanda Memorial Hospital and will incorporate the Guthrie logo as part of its new identity. It will become a member of the Guthrie network of hospitals and clinics.

Memorial Hospital is a nonprofit full-service community hospital that provides inpatient, outpatient, critical care, surgery, radiology, specialized therapies, emergency care and emergency medical transport services.

The Memorial Hospital health care system includes: the physician and provider group Community Health Associates LLC; Nurse-Family Partnership; the Skilled Nursing Unit; the Personal Care Home; and the In-Home Care Division which includes Home Health and Hospice. 

Guthrie is comprised of a research institute, home care/hospice, hospitals in Sayre, Pa., Corning, N.Y., and Troy, Pa., as well as a multi-specialty group practice of more than 290 physicians and 155 mid-level providers in a regional office network encompassing sub-specialty and primary care sites in 23 communities throughout Pennsylvania and New York. 

“Guthrie respects the role of community hospitals and their critical mission in keeping communities healthy. We look forward to welcoming Memorial Hospital to our system on April 1,” said Joseph Scopelliti, Guthrie president and CEO. “Guthrie is committed to providing high-quality care in the rural environments of our region. We want to make sure this care is accessible across our communities through our team-based approach, resulting in a seamless experience which meets all our patients’ needs within the community of Towanda and surrounding areas.”

Guthrie Towanda Memorial Hospital will continue to have an active governing Board of Directors and a hospital president to oversee operations.

Scripps Health Selects Epic for EHR Integration 

San Diego, California-based Scripps Health has selected Epic as its strategic partner for its integrated electronic health record (EHR) and revenue cycle management (RCM) system, according to HIT Consultant

The new system will replace Scripps’ current ambulatory and inpatient EHR and RCM systems. System design is slated to begin in mid-2015, according to the report, with implementation planned to kick off in mid-2017, subject to final approval of Scripps’ agreement with Epic by the Scripps Health Board of Trustees.

Scripps treats more than 600,000 patients annually through the dedication of 2,600 affiliated physicians and more than 14,000 employees among its five acute-care hospital campuses, hospice and home health care services, 26 outpatient centers and clinics, and hundreds of physician offices throughout the region. 

Universities Partner With Home Care Provider to Develop Training Program

Globe University and Minnesota School of Business (MSB), in partnership with Accurate Home Care, have developed the Accurate Home Care Cooperative Training program, designed to increase the number of trained and qualified Mental Health Behavior Aides.

The program combines academic education with on-the-job workforce applications to match employers with the skilled workforce required for this specialized position.

Student employees in the program will work for Accurate as entry-level Mental Health Behavior Aides 20 hours per week while attending Globe and MSB full time to earn a mental health technician certificate.

The mental health technician certificate will prepare students to provide clinical support services to primary psychiatric staff and other health professionals. Credits earned in the program can also be laddered into the Globe and MSB medical assistant associate or health care management bachelor’s degree programs.

Students who successfully complete the mental health technician certificate and have one year experience working at Accurate as a Mental Health Behavior Aide will be qualified to apply for the American Association of Psychiatric Technician’s level two certification.

“Our goal as a college is to help students continue their education and find employment in their chosen career fields,” said Jeff Myhre, CEO of Globe University and Minnesota School of Business. “The Accurate Home Care Cooperative Training program provides opportunities for growth and success in an industry that will need trained professionals for many years to come.”

During the nine-month program, student employees will receive a cooperative training scholarship each quarter and additional hourly income intended to be put toward tuition.

“Our partnership with Accurate Home Care is an excellent way for students to earn a degree while receiving relevant, on-the-job training,” Myhre said. “Students in this program will not only learn valuable knowledge and skills needed in today’s workforce, but they will have the opportunity to work for a company that is thriving in its industry.”

Accurate Home Care provides comprehensive home health care services to patients of all ages and care requirements. Since its establishment in 2002, the privately owned company has continued to lead the way in maintaining and improving its clients’ levels of independence through nursing, therapy, PCA, homemaking and mental health services in clients’ homes and at its own day treatment facilities.

Accurate currently has six locations in Minnesota, as well as in North Dakota, Illinois and Iowa.

3 Palliative and End-of-Life Care Organizations Expand Footprint Through Merger

Three of Illinois’ leading palliative and end-of-life care providers announced recently they have entered into an agreement to merge into one agency which, when fully integrated, will become one of the premier nonprofit palliative and end-of-life care providers in the state.

Under the terms of the agreement, Chicago-based Horizon Hospice & Palliative Care, Barrington-based JourneyCare and Glenview-based Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter will operate as a single entity.

When combined, the organization will employ more than 800 health care professionals and care for thousands of patients annually in Chicago and 10 surrounding counties.

“We are excited to combine the incredible talent and compassion of three strong organizations, which will expand the breadth and depth of services for patients and their families across a much larger footprint,” said Sarah Bealles, who was selected to become president and CEO of the newly combined agency, moving from her current role as president and CEO of JourneyCare.

The three organizations have more than 100 years of combined experience in the fields of palliative medicine and end-of-life care. The new agency’s name is expected to be announced by late summer.

Collectively, the providers have five inpatient hospice centers – located in Barrington, Woodstock, Arlington Heights, Glenview and Chicago – and six offices in the greater Chicago area. These facilities will remain fully operational, and the new agency’s corporate functions will be dispersed throughout its existing offices.

With 40 acute-care hospital affiliations and numerous post-acute partnerships, the new organization will care for approximately 2,500 patients daily. All existing partnerships are expected to remain in place, and all employees will be transitioned into roles within the new agency.

The combined organization will be led by a newly elected 18-person board, with six members chosen from each provider’s current board. Following the closing, up to four additional independent voting members may also be chosen from outside of the organizations within a year after closing.

“The health care industry is not standing still and neither can we,” said Jamie O’Malley, CEO of Midwest CareCenter. “As three of Illinois’ founding palliative and end-of-life care providers, we’re moving forward together to continue to take the lead in finding innovative ways to enhance care for the seriously ill.”

Allegheny Software Integrates Drug Interaction Checker Into Home Health Software Solution

Allegheny Software Publishers, Inc, a provider of home health care software solutions, recently announced that it will incorporate content from PEPID, a provider of medical and drug decision support content, into its home health care software solution, HHC 3000, in order to improve the accuracy and safety of patient care.

This partnership will provide automatic drug interaction checks to help home health care professionals make accurate decisions and prevent drug-related errors.

“This real-time feature to our HHC 3000 product is a crucial enhancement for all current and future clients, allowing home care agencies to meet the requirements for drug regimen review as it pertains to the conditions of participation,” says Jim Dunmire, vice president of Allegheny Software Publishers.

This partnership will allow home health clinicians using the HHC 3000 solution to perform medication reconciliation and check for potential interactions across a patient’s entire medication regimen — including prescription, over-the-counter, herbals, supplements and foods, as well as duplicate therapy, as part of their normal workflow. The results from the interactions check are immediately available, and automatically incorporated in the EHR.

This new functionality provides home health agencies with more efficient work flow process and ensures patient safety during care transitions, providing effective case managements and decreasing the risk of medication-related re-hospitalization rates, the company said.

“We’re proud to add Allegheny Software to the list of electronic medical records (EMR) companies that rely on PEPID for clinical and drug-related decision support,” says John Wagner, PEPID president. “I’m pleased that we can offer easy integration of our leading drug interaction checker, so that these home health agencies can work more efficiently, and provide better patient care.”

Benjamin A. Breier Officially Takes Over as Kindred Healthcare’s CEO 

Kindred Healthcare, Inc. (NYSE:KND) recently announced that Benjamin A. Breier has assumed the role of president and CEO, effective Tuesday, March 31.

As previously announced, Breier succeeds Paul J. Diaz, who is now executive vice chairman of the Kindred Board of Directors.

Breier, who also serves as a member of Kindred’s Board of Directors, joined the company in August 2005 as president of the Rehabilitation Division. In March 2008 he was named president of the company’s Hospital Division. He was promoted to chief operating officer in August 2010, and assumed the additional responsibilities of company president in May 2012.

“It is a great honor to lead Kindred, and work closely with our talented leadership team, as we continue to provide exceptional patient-centered coordinated care for patients and their families,” Breier said in a written statement. “I look forward to advancing our mission and our management philosophy to take care of our people, take care of our customers and deliver on quality care. Together, we will pursue our Continue the Care strategy, providing the right care in the right setting across a full continuum to support recovery and wellness.”

The change in leadership follows last year’s blockbuster merger agreement between Kindred and Gentiva Health Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: GTIV), in a deal valued at $1.8 billion.

“I’m confident that Ben’s passion and proven leadership will put Kindred at the forefront of providing innovative care solutions for a rapidly aging population,” said Phyllis R. Yale, chair of Kindred’s Board. “Ben has put the right team in place to take the company to the next level and create a platform that will help transform the nation’s health care delivery system in partnership with hospitals, health systems and payors.”

Written by Emily Study