Inspira and Bayada Develop Joint Venture, Spark Worker Grievance

A major health network in New Jersey is developing a joint venture with a home care provider to expand its services to more patients, potentially displacing some home care nurses.

Inspira Health Network announced its new partnership with Bayada Home Health Care, a privately-held home care company that operates in 21 states. Inspira Health Network in a southern New Jersey-based non-profit health care organization of three hospitals and more than 60 locations of multi-specialty health centers, including home care and hospice services.

“Our decision to form a joint venture with Bayada will be a great thing for both of our organizations and our patients because we will be able to serve more people and expand the quality services we offer to our community,” John DiAngelo, president and CEO of Inspira Health Network, said in a statement. “Both of our organizations share a parallel mission to serve patients with compassion, excellence and reliability.”

The joint venture will serve Salem, Cumberland and Gloucester counties. Inspira previously did not have a license to provide home health care services in Gloucester county. Bayada will manage new company and operate from Millville and Woodbury offices, and the new organization will eventually be re-branded, a spokesperson from Inspira told Home Health Care News. Inspira did not disclose financial terms of the joint venture with HHCN.

“Bayada will be managing the program, but as a joint venture, we will be collaborating and sharing in the process,” Gregory Potter, assistant vice president of marketing and public relations at Inspira, told HHCN. “It’s more of a collaboration.”

The joint venture is the latest example of a major health network partnering with established home health care providers to expand services. Earlier this month, California-based St. Joseph Health, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit health systems, acquired 26 franchises from Nurse Next Door, a Vancouver-based home care provider with 80 U.S. locations.

Last fall, Bayada scored a home health contract to manage the home health division of Temple University Health System, one of Philadelphia’s largest academic medical centers.

With the joint venture, Inspira will be able to reach a greater number of residents in Gloucester county that it already serves in its hospitals. Inspira noted that regulations prevented the health network from expanding some home health and hospice services in Gloucester County.

“We believe that Bayada is an excellent partner to help us enhance the services that we already provide,” DiAngelo said. “Home health and hospice care are important services and due to regulations, Inspira was unable to provide some of these services in Gloucester County. Now by partnering with an experienced provider through a joint venture, we can serve more patients, while enhancing the quality of services we provide to our community.”

The partnership, which is expected to be completed in mid-April, will affect 105 Inspira employees, who received a formal notification of the pending agreement with Bayada. Most of these employees will likely be absorbed into Bayada’s management, though some may need to apply for other health care positions within the Inspira network.

“We are currently working with Bayada and meeting with all of our home care and hospice employees to discuss positions available within the new company,” DiAngelo said in a statement. “We believe that nearly all of our home care and hospice employees will be offered positions within the new joint venture. If any employees are not offered positions with Bayada, we will work with them to find employment in other departments within Inspira.”

In response to being notified that their employment status could change as a result of the merger, a union representing Inspira Health Network’s nurses filed a grievance, Courier-Post reported. The grievance claimed Inspira did not properly notify workers who were likely to be affected by the joint venture.

“We will demand that nurses’ jobs and union rights be protected in any change of ownership,” Michelle Silvio, president of the union representing the Inspira nurses Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE), said in a statement. “Inspira home care nurses provide quality, continuity of care in this community, and requiring nurses to ‘re-apply for their job’ puts patient care at risk.”

In response to the grievance, Inspira told HHCN, “We are in adherence with the contract and fully intend to meet all contractual obligations going forward.”

Written by Amy Baxter