LHC Group Forges Joint Venture with Baton Rouge General

LHC Group (Nasdaq: LHCG), one of the nation’s largest home health providers, has entered a new joint venture partnership with Baton Rouge General Hospital. The deal provides another example of how the company is targeting these kinds of partnerships as a means to grow.

Under terms of the joint venture, LHC Group will be the preferred home health provider for all Baton Rouge General patients, the companies announced Wednesday. LHC also will create an office at the Mid City campus of Baton Rouge General, which is a full-service community hospital with 590 beds on multiple campuses. LHC Group is based in Lafayette, about 60 miles southwest of Baton Rouge. The company employs more than 10,000 people and has a 25-state footprint.

Financial terms of the joint venture were not disclosed.

Acute and post-acute providers have sought greater alignment in recent years, driven by health reforms under the Affordable Care Act. These new policies include Medicare reimbursement penalties for hospitals that have a high rate of readmitted patients. LHC Group has pursued a strategy of partnering with hospitals, touting its ability to prevent readmissions and improve health outcomes while keeping costs down. It has forged partnerships with more than 60 hospitals and health systems.

The latest joint venture fits into that ongoing strategy, according to LHC Group Chairman and CEO Keith G. Myers.

“Working as partners, we will deliver high-quality patient care while helping patients recover and preventing costly and avoidable hospital readmissions,” Myers stated in a press release. “Baton Rouge General is recognized for its commitment to improving lives through the delivery of high-quality patient care, and a seamless continuum of care from hospital to home is part of that commitment.”

LHC Group had reviewed more than 264 acquisition or hospital joint venture opportunities between the start of 2015 and the end of the third quarter and was continuing to see an increase in opportunities, Myers said on a conference call with analysts in November. The company is “intensely focused” on growing in new markets through these types of transactions, he said.

Written by Tim Mullaney