Home Health Business Briefs: New Private Duty Solution, Provider Appoints CEO

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:

The Ensign Group Acquires Home Health Operations in California

The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENSG) — the parent company of the Ensign group of skilled nursing, rehabilitative care services, home health care, hospice care, assisted living and urgent care companies — announced recently that Cornerstone Healthcare, Inc., Ensign’s home health and hospice portfolio subsidiary, had acquired Managed Care at Home, a Medicare and Medi-Cal certified home health agency serving the San Jose area from an office in Milpitas, Calif.

The acquisition was effective June 1, 2015.

“We are pleased to announce this new addition to our home health operations,” said Christopher Christensen, Ensign’s president and CEO. “Home health services continue to be an essential part of our effort to build the post-acute continuum of care, and we are pleased to expand our offerings into the strategic San Jose market.”

With the acquisition, Cornerstone now owns 10 home health and hospice operations, four home health-only operations, two hospice-only operations, and three private duty home care operations in nine western states.

“Managed Care at Home brings with it an extraordinary group of talented, committed caregivers and deep community relationships,” said Cornerstone’s President and CEO Daniel Walker. “We are committed to providing life-changing home health services to our patients and their families and look forward to extending that commitment to the residents of San Jose and surrounding communities.”

Walker also affirmed that he expects the operations to be accretive to earnings in 2015.

Regional Hospice and Home Care Names New Board Chairman

John Royce, a member of the Regional Hospice and Home Care Board of Directors for the past three years, recently took the helm as its new chairman of the board, according to local reports

A recent relocation to Texas ended Alain Schwarz’ term as chairman, after serving since 2009. 

Brooks Rehabilitation to Expand Home Health Care Through Acquisition

Brooks Rehabilitation’s home health care division will soon become Brooks AmeriCare Home Health with the acquisition of a large Jacksonville-based agency serving 23 counties in Northeast and Central Florida, according to the Jacksonville Business Journal

The organization will absorb AmeriCare Home Health and its assets, which includes 10 satellite office locations. The purchase is expected to close in July.

Brooks CEO Doug Baer would not disclose the terms of the deal to the Business Journal, but noted that it was initiated by AmeriCare. 

Cross Country Home Services Appoints New CEO 

Cross Country Home Services, Inc. (CCHS), a provider of home service programs and a member of The Cross Country Group, announced recently that Steven E. Upshaw will become the company’s new CEO, effective June 29, 2015.

Upshaw will replace Joseph J. Incandela, who is retiring to pursue other interests after a successful nine-year tenure in the position.

Previously, Upshaw worked at Affinion Group, Inc., where he rose through a variety of senior management roles, including most recently as president of the company.

“CCHS is facing unprecedented growth opportunities in an increasingly dynamic home services market, and we are excited for Steve’s leadership, energy and ability to help take the company to the next level,” Sidney Wolk, Howard Wolk and Jeffrey Wolk, the principals of The Cross Country Group, said in a joint statement. “We also would like to thank Joe Incandela for his wonderful years of service and leadership to CCHS and The Cross Country Group. “

Health Organizations Partner to Increase Access to Care for Seniors 

UPMC Bedford Memorial Hospital has been awarded a $600,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Federal Office for Rural Health Policy as part of a comprehensive initiative to improve the health outcomes of Bedford County, Penn., residents 65 and older with depressive symptoms.

Efforts are also underway to increase their access to primary care and physician specialist care as deemed as criteria of importance in a 2013 Community Health Needs Assessment.

UPMC Bedford, Community Nursing and Home Nursing Agency will collaborate for three years on a project titled “Bedford County Mental HealthPLUS Senior Outreach.”

Designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area and a Medically Underserved Area, Bedford County is one of the state’s most rural counties, with a large and increasing percentage of elderly residents (19%). Currently, there is no access to geriatric mental health services in Bedford, even though research confirms an increased prevalence of depression in older adults living in rural areas.

Using an evidence-based approach and a standardized assessment tool, care managers at UPMC Bedford Memorial and home health nurses with Community Nursing and Home Nursing Agency have identified multiple points of assessment throughout the county in order to screen for depression.

Over the grant period, they will collaborate with the Bedford Area Office on Aging and other health care providers for screening, education, outreach and project sustainability to continue to improve access, diagnosis and treatment of geriatric depression.

UPMC Bedford will screen all inpatient and observation patients 65 and older for depression, as will Community Nursing and Home Nursing Agency. Individuals identified with depression will be directed to the most appropriate and least restrictive level of care, including management by a primary care physician, in-home behavioral health nurse and/or telepsychiatry in the patient’s home or at the Teleconsult Center on the UPMC Bedford campus in partnership with UPMC’s Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.

The goal, according to the organizations, is to evaluate ongoing depression symptoms across the continuum of care at every community visit made by the patient. The effectiveness of the program will be assessed by the number of newly diagnosed patients with depression who would otherwise not have received therapy and other measures.

Brightree Introduces New Private Duty Solution

Brightree, a provider of cloud-based software to improve clinical and business performance in the post-acute care industry, recently announced the general availability of Brightree Private Duty, a new solution developed for home health agencies and hospice organizations offering private duty services, in addition to skilled clinical services.

Complementing Brightree Home Health and Brightree Hospice solutions, the new private duty solution enables agencies to optimize their scheduling and service offerings, streamline service plan tracking, improve cash flow and increase client satisfaction for non-skilled services with a single-vendor solution.

“The private duty market has achieved a 74% growth rate over the last five years, and Medicare-certified agencies are diversifying their offerings in response to the expanding need for these home care services,” said Lori Jones, executive vice president and general manager of Brightree Home Health, Hospice and Private Duty. “Our new private duty solution, designed and developed with significant industry input, enables agencies to match and deliver the appropriate level of services so their clients and families are assured they are receiving the best care possible.”

Amedisys Searches for New Office For Top Executives 

Amedisys Inc. is trying to decide whether New Orleans or Nashville will serve as the satellite office for its top executives, according to The Advocate.

“We’re talking with the governments of Louisiana and Tennessee. …. We don’t know anything really yet,” President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Kusserow said Wednesday.

Kusserow said New Orleans and Nashville are “big meccas for health care,” and Amedisys wants to access the talent concentrated there, The Advocate reports. 

Written by Emily Study