Kindred Launches Innovation Division

The nation’s largest home health care provider has formed a new business division and hired an executive to run it.

Louisville-based Kindred Healthcare (NYSE: KND) has tapped Brian Holzer, M.D., to serve as president of the new division, Kindred Innovations. Holzer’s appointment is effective as of June 5, the company announced in a May 30 press release.

Kindred became the largest U.S. home health provider through its $1.8 billion acquisition of Gentiva Health Services in 2015. However, the organization’s ambitions go beyond being a home health giant—it is positioning itself as a post-acute care manager. Part of this effort is operating its own home health agencies, long-term acute care hospitals and inpatient rehabilitation facilities, but it also means having the capabilities to manage large patient populations through the continuum of care for payors and other entities.

It appears that the new Innovations division is meant to drive progress toward that larger goal. It will incorporate Kindred’s care management programs, network development, product development and the Kindred House Calls in-home primary care services. Among the specific programs to fall under the Innovations umbrella are Kindred’s AfterCare program, which maintains contact with patients after discharge; the toll-free 1-866-KINDRED nurse hotline that provides around-the-clock support and care navigation; and the Silver State Accountable Care Organization, based in Las Vegas, in which Kindred is a strategic owner and partner.

Holzer comes to Kindred from Pittsburgh-based Highmark Health, one of the nation’s largest health care payors and delivery systems. There, Holzer spearheaded AHN Healthcare@Home, an integrated care continuum of home health, hospice, home medical equipment and home infusion. He then led the formation of HM Home and Community Services, a post-acute management arm of Highmark.

“Creating Kindred Innovations will enhance our strengths as both a provider of quality post-acute care and a manager of post-acute care by deploying a variety of products and services designed to improve quality, outcomes and the customer experience while lowering the total cost of care,” Kindred President and CEO Benjamin Breier said in the press release. “Brian has the expertise to help us continue delivering integrated solutions to support patients and manage their care across the continuum, resulting in high-quality outcomes.”

In another leadership move, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Bill Altman will now also serve as Breier’s chief of staff. In this position, he will help Breier prioritize activities, with the goal of making sure there is enterprise-wide alignment of strategy, operations, and public policy goals.

Altman will continue to oversee the overall strategic plan as well.

These changes come as the company prepares to make some major shifts. Once a powerhouse skilled nursing operator, Kindred is preparing to exit that sector entirely this year. The company also was recently the subject of takeout rumors.

Kindred shares were up 9.69% as of market close on Thursday.

Written by Tim Mullaney

Tim Mullaney on Email
Tim Mullaney
If he’s not in the newsroom, Tim likes to be on the tennis court or traveling to a new destination. Recent highlights include Sri Lanka and Iceland.

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