Home Health Business Briefs: Nonprofits Merge, New Hospice Staff

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:

Wisconsin Hospice Adds 4 New Staff Members

Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin-based Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice, which provides in-home hospice care, recently hired four new staff members, according to HTR News.

Lisa Falk has joined the team as the social worker for patients and families in the hospice center. She is also responsible for the hospice’s “We Honor Veterans” program, working with community veteran volunteers to honor veterans in the hospice program. She began her work in the hospice field in 2007.

Cindy Hayward will be working with hospice in-home patients and patients in the hospice center. She has an associate degree in applied science and has been a registered nurse since 2004. She has more than 10 years of nursing experience, and has specialized in hospice for more than six years.

Daniel Leicht recently joined the dining services team as a cook. The Sheboygan Falls High School senior has taken several culinary courses and plans on continuing his education in the culinary art field following graduation.

Kimberly Thimmig is the new part-time spiritual coordinator for in-home patients. She is a recent graduate of Lakeland College with a bachelor’s degree in religion and a double minor in writing and history.

New Joint Commission Accredited Hospice Program Announced

Salus Homecare, which provides home health services in California, Utah and Colorado, has announced the addition of Salus Hospice, a nationally accredited program that benefits patients and their loved ones facing the end stage of life.

Salus Hospice will provide the services of skilled nurses, chaplains, therapists, counselors, medical social workers and volunteers to help patients make the most out of their final days, weeks and months of life. While receiving these services, patients remain in their home, free from pain and surrounded by the people and things they love most. 

Salus Hospice is appropriate for anyone who has a physician’s certification stating their condition is terminal and life expectancy is six months or less, should the disease run its usual course. Palliative care is also offered for individuals with a serious chronic condition, and can be provided at any time during the illness regardless of whether the condition is potentially curable or life-threatening.

As with Salus Homecare and Salus Home Health, Salus Hospice is nationally recognized and accredited by the Joint Commission.

LivHOME Acquires Advanced Care Management

Los Angeles, California-based LivHOME, Inc., a national “at-home services for seniors” company, has acquired the assets of Advanced Care Management, providers of private care management in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

Founded in 1990, Advanced Care Management, Inc., has been a provider of care management services to older adults in the area for more than 25 years.

“The acquisition is consistent with LivHOME’s strategy to set the standards for, and be the leader in, the rapidly developing home care market,” said Rick Slager, CEO of LivHOME.

NAHC President Named as Finalist for List of Most Influential People in Health Care

National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) President Val J. Halamandaris has been selected as a finalist by Modern Healthcare for its annual 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare issue. He has been on the list numerous times as one of the movers and shakers in the industry.

The list has included members of Congress, governors, Supreme Court justices, and CEOs of multimillion-dollar corporations.

The recognition of Val Halamandaris’ leadership this year comes at a critical time as home care and hospice face new federal regulations that could challenge their ability to give high-quality, cost-effective care, the NAHC says.

NAHC has led and won two major legal victories in recent months: The first did away with the “physician narrative” in the face-to-face regulations promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The second invalidated a rule promulgated by the Department of Labor (DOL) which would change the way overtime is computed for home health agencies and abolish the companionship and live-in exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“It is vital to the home care and hospice community for Val to be among the winners this year,” said NAHC Chairman of the Board Denise Schrader. “In Washington, perception is reality and this list is one means of measuring clout in the capital of our nation. We feel that our president deserves this honor, and a vote for Val is also a vote for the work we do. His presence on the list helps ensure our value is acknowledged at a time of shrinking health care dollars and growing regulations that make it harder for providers to do their job.”

West Georgia Health to Join WellStar Health System 

West Georgia Health announced recently it has signed a formal letter of intent to join with Marietta, Georgia-based WellStar Health System, the largest not-for-profit community health system in Georgia.

Through a rigorous evaluation of numerous potential partners, West Georgia Health determined that WellStar represented an ideal partner to ensure it will continue its mission of providing top-quality health care for its community and patients.

“We were looking for a strong partner, but we were also looking for a good fit – the right fit,” said Jerry Fulks, president and CEO of West Georgia Health. “WellStar is that fit. They’ve amassed the size and financial muscle you need to succeed in today’s healthcare world, and they’ve done that while keeping a sharp focus on patient care and employee satisfaction — and the relationship between those two. Culturally, I believe this is a very good marriage.”

The announcement follows more than a year of work by the Strategic Planning Committee, which was appointed by the LaGrange-Troup County Hospital Authority. As part of that process, the committee worked with JP Morgan, a leading financial advisor to the health care sector, to solicit partnership proposals from a number of larger health care systems in Georgia and beyond.

“As not-for-profits, WellStar and West Georgia Health have similar missions and commitments to our communities,” said Reynold Jennings, CEO of WellStar Health System. “WellStar was formed 20 years ago when five hospitals came together to create a new health system. By bringing West Georgia Health into the regional system, we are continuing our commitment to deliver world-class health care to the communities we serve. Through an in-depth review, we have been very impressed with the level of care that is delivered by the entire West Georgia Health team.”

WellStar operates five community hospitals serving Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Douglas and Paulding counties. WellStar Medical Group, an entity within WellStar, consists of more than 800 physicians and advanced practitioners across more than 160 office locations.

With nearly 14,000 team members, it also operates a 180-bed nursing home, 16 imaging centers, eight urgent care centers, two health parks, a pediatric center and two hospice facilities. 

Written by Emily Study