Home Health, Senior Living Providers Join Forces for Competitive Edge

With home health becoming an increasingly important and integrated part of the U.S. health care system, innovative providers are seeking to position themselves for long-term success by building relationships with other types of care organizations, including senior living operators. A new joint venture in Michigan provides one example of how to move forward, through an equal senior living-home home health partnership that draws on the strengths of each.

Presbyterian Villages of Michigan (PVM) and Homestead Home Health Care Inc. first announced that they had formed a new, then-unnamed joint venture in April.

The limited liability company will go by the name Care Sync Solutions, leaders of the venture now tell HHCN.

The name reflects one of the new company’s foremost goals: To facilitate more synchronized care so that seniors can remain in the most independent setting for as long as possible.

To accomplish this, Care Sync Solutions will bring to bear the capabilities of Homestead and PVM to provide and facilitate a variety of services, including private duty home care, coordination of ancillary services such as skilled care and transitions programs, transportation, and telehealth-based initiatives.

Homestead is a for-profit company based in Northville and offers comprehensive home care services, including hospice, to about 2,000 clients in Michigan. PVM, based in Southfield, is a not-for-profit operator of 25 senior living communities throughout the state.

“We have relationships with different health systems, and with the new joint venture, we’ll be looking to leverage those relationships and new ones,” Roger Myers, president and CEO of Presbyterian Villages of Michigan, tells HHCN. “The response in the first few weeks has been very favorable, and it plays right into what’s going with health reform and health delivery. And it opens up doors to health systems and payors by integrating care, being more efficient, effective, and driving better outcomes.”

Care Sync Solutions is projected to have between $500,000 and $1 million of business within a year, says Carl Simcox, owner of Homestead Home Health Care. Several new ventures involving Care Sync are in the works, and he expects to be able to announce the first one soon, he tells HHCN.

It’s not unusual for a senior living provider to partner with or acquire a home health agency as a way to tap into this revenue stream and become a player in the fast-growing home- and community-based care sector, investment bank Ziegler noted in a recent Z-News article. 

The formation of a new LLC with 50/50 home health and senior living stakes is less common, and Simcox believes that it is in some ways unique in Michigan.

The joint venture sprang from a six-year relationship between PVM and Homestead, Myers and Simcox explain. The two providers came together to create “Enhanced Living” services at PVM’s Village of Westland, a campus offering independent and assisted living and memory care.

The Enhanced Living services were designed to enable independent living residents to remain at that level of care, and encompassed everything from at-home nursing to care management.

The success of that collaboration showed that non-profit senior living provider and the for-profit home care company actually were “like-minded” and could work well together, says Simcox. In this way, it has similar roots as another senior living-home health joint venture, undertaken in 2013 by Iowa-based LCS and home health provider CareSouth. A “cultural compatibility” between the companies underlies the success of the Health at Home business, LCS President and CEO Ed Kenny has said in the past.

The new joint venture in Michigan is structured with Homestead as the general managing partner, and the chairman of the board is a PVM representative. It should enable Homestead to expand from its current eight-county area, as Presbyterian Villages has a statewide presence. The plan is for Care Sync to roll out its services throughout Michigan’s lower peninsula in a stages, over the next year or several years, Myers says. It eventually could expand to the upper peninsula as well.

The joint venture presents opportunities for PVM as well, helping the provider position itself in the evolving health care system without stretching itself too thin—an issue that LCS was grappling with prior to its joint venture.

“PVM is a large organization and probably could do this [on its own], but maybe it would require some sacrifice,” Simcox says. “We all have different strengths and realize that by bringing our resources together, we’re more effective than doing it on our own.”

Written by Tim Mullaney