Brookdale Taps Former Cardinal Health at Home Executive as New CIO

Brookdale Senior Living Inc. (NYSE: BKD) has tapped a former home-based care supply company executive as its new chief information officer.

During a second quarter 2019 earnings call last week, Brookdale leadership announced that Chris Bayham is taking over as its CIO. Bayham takes over for VP Hank Reimer, who had been serving in the position since former CIO Andrew Laudato left Brentwood, Tennessee-based Brookdale last December.

Brookdale is one of the largest owners and operators of private-pay senior housing in the country. Meanwhile, its health care services segment includes both home health and hospice business lines.

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The company’s additional segments are made up of its independent living and continuing care retirement community (CCRC) offerings, as well as its assisted living and memory care operations. Brookdale also maintains a management services segment.

In total, the company has operations across more than 800 retirement communities in 45 states, serving about 80,000 residents overall.

Bayham, who officially joined the company earlier in August, has an extensive background in health care and technology.

Previously, Bayham served as CIO at Nashville, Tennesee-based independent health care IT company Change Healthcare (Nasdaq: CHNG). Prior to this, he served as CIO of the home health division at Cardinal Health Inc. (NYSE: CAH). He also held similar roles at Twinsburg, Ohio-based AssuraMed and Columbia, Maryland-based UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH).

Cardinal Health at-Home is a partner in the delivery of home medical supplies to over 12,000 commercial customers nationwide. It also helps home care and hospice customers manage product spend and utilization, in addition to managing staff productivity.

“At Brookdale, I’ll help guide the company’s deployment of our extensive technology resources, from the use of strategic systems and integrated data to improve operational efficiency at the corporate level, to the possible use of artificial intelligence and voice assistants to improve life for our residents at the community level,” Bayham, told Home Health Care News in an email. “My previous roles give me a unique perspective to help Brookdale enrich even more lives.”

Another major area of focus for Bayham will be getting the most value out of the data that Brookdale collects, which Bayham calls a critical part of the company’s operations. The ability to gather — and act on — data has played an increasingly prominent role when it comes to home- and community-based care, especially in discussions with Medicare Advantage (MA) plans and other payers.

“That includes data not only about our physical communities, but also data about the health and well-being of our residents and patients,” Bayham said. “This data, which our proprietary systems enable us to turn into information and actionable insights, will inform our day-to-day and long-term decisions as we create strategies to support our associates and help residents and patients live more fulfilling lives.”

Bayham’s home health background may also be a value-add to Brookdale, whose home health resident fee revenue was about $85.2 million for Q2 2019 due to an increase in volume and a higher average daily census.

As a company, Brookdale is continuing a turnaround effort that launched last year when CEO Cindy Baier took over. While the larger company has had its ups and downs, home health and hospice has been a mostly successful portion of Brookdale’s business.

It will remain an important piece of the puzzle moving forward, with some analysts speculating that Brookdale may one day try to spin the segment off to maximize value.

“With the home health business seemingly on the upswing and the steady growth in the hospice business, this is now a more attractive asset than it was 12 months ago,” Dana Hambly, an analyst with independent financial services firm Stephens, told HHCN in May. “It will be interesting to see if Brookdale looks to monetize the segment through a sale or maybe follow the Ensign playbook and spin it off.”

That same month, Ensign Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ENSG) had announced plans to spin off its home health and hospice businesses into a completely separate publicly traded company to give investors more industry-specific investment options.

Additional reporting by Chuck Sudo

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