As part of an organizational realignment and effort to consolidate services, Lawrence, Massachusetts-based Home Health Foundation is closing its home care line.
More than 200 home care workers will be laid off as a result of the closure.
Home Health Foundation — a provider of home health, palliative, hospice and home care services — became part of Burlington, Massachusetts-based Wellforce last year. Formed in 2014 by Tufts Medical Center and Circle Health, Wellforce is a large health system with roughly $1.7 billion in annual revenues and nearly 12,000 total employees.
Skilled home health agency Home Health VNA and hospice company Merrimack Valley Hospice are two of the main business lines under the Home Health Foundation’s umbrella. The organization is closing Home Care Inc., its non-clinical support services company, a move expected to be carried out by June 3.
“As part of our affiliation with Wellforce, we’re really focused on the clinical side of things,” Donna Deveau, vice president of corporate communications for Home Health Foundation, told Home Health Care News. “That’s not to say we’re not supporting or [don’t] need non-clinical services — we do have a need for that. But we have a sister agency under that umbrella that does similar services.”
The sister agency — an affiliate of Circle Health — is Commonwealth Nursing Services.
Home Care Inc. and Commonwealth Nursing Services both receive a bulk of their clients from Elder Services of Merrimack Valley, according to Deveau.
“We’re still going to be providing services under those [arrangements],” she said. “But we are consolidating just to avoid duplication of two companies doing the same thing. That will, in fact, pare down some of the workforce.”
The reshuffling comes on the heels of a difficult year for the home care agency, which suffered a $1.9 million operating loss in the 2018 fiscal year, according to a report from Boston Business Journal.
While Home Health Foundation closes Home Care Inc., the organization will work with Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley to relocate clients and staff, Deveau said.
“There’s tremendous demand for that level of caregiver,” she said. “You can’t even believe how our phone is ringing off the hook with people asking if we would send staff their way. We’re really trying to do this in a thoughtful and coordinated way.”
Despite the rising role of non-medical home care within the broader continuum of care, plans to close Home Care Inc. were also prompted by a strategic decision to double down on Home Health Foundation’s clinical focus.
Currently, Home Health VNA has the largest patient census across Home Health Foundation’s operations, though its hospice segment is growing the most rapidly overall, according to Deveau.
“Patients are going home with more acute, clinical needs,” she said. “We are really focused on being able to provide the services that those patients need. What we’re trying to do is realign resources in order to focus on building innovative programs responsive to the clinical needs of both the skilled and hospice services.”