Lafayette, Louisiana-based LHC Group Inc. (Nasdaq: LHCG) — one of the largest home health, hospice and personal care services companies in the country — is planning to soon open a backup headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky.
In addition to being the former headquarter of Almost Family, Louisville, according to some, also stands as “America’s Aging Capital” due to the high numbers of aging care businesses that have opened up shop there. The rather lengthy list, for example, currently includes Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), Kindred Healthcare, Trilogy Health Services, Atria Senior Living and Signature HealthCare, among many others.
LHC Group closed its $2.4 billion “merger of equals” with Almost Family in April, creating the second-largest home health provider in the United States as a result.
Almost Family integration is six months ahead of schedule and expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2019, according to the company.
Today, LHC Group has a significant operational presence in Kentucky, with home health agencies covering two-thirds of the state, Todd Lyles, the company’s senior vice president of administration, told Home Health Care News.
“It has been a part of our long-term planning, even prior to the merger announcement, to develop a second location to backup home office functions,” Lyles said. “The merger with Almost Family provided the perfect opportunity to fulfill this goal.”
Louisville is “an important hub” in the U.S. health care system, meaning it is in the best interest of LHC Group to utilize the market’s deep talent pool, he added.
The backup headquarters is expected to be operational in the summer of 2019, with new staff positions to open up there over time. LHC Group is investing $600,000 in the Louisville location, which is estimated to bring 31 full-time jobs to the area.
Besides serving the company’s regional customers, the Louisville office will function as a backup to LHC Group’s home office in Louisiana, which is susceptible to seasonal hazardous weather.
“In the event of a significant weather issue in south Louisiana, the Louisville campus would serve in a redundancy and backup capacity for many of our Lafayette home office functions,” Lyles said. “There are many important daily activities that are handled at our Louisville location. The campus currently houses a number of employees in our revenue cycle and information services departments, and the additional space will provide an opportunity to locate growth positions at our Louisville home office campus.”
Some of LHC Group’s home health peers — including Encompass Health Corp. (NYSE: EHC) — faced the unexpected turmoil that hurricanes can cause in 2018 during hurricanes Florence and Michael.
LHC Group’s decision to open a backup office in Louisville even got the attention of Kentucky republican and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who personally praised the home health company in a public statement.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved LHC Group for tax incentives up to $400,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
Overall, Louisville’s health care businesses employ more than 21,000 professionals and generate more than $50 billion in revenue.
Additional reporting by Bailey Bryant