Amedisys Inc. (Nasdaq: AMED) is just a couple months into its partnership with ClearCare Inc., and already the duo’s personal care network has exceeded 700 agencies.
The goal is to expand the Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based home health company’s reach and capabilities in the home, while also opening the door for Medicare Advantage (MA) opportunities. All the while, Amedisys doesn’t have to acquire personal care companies to make it happen — something the home health behemoth has struggled with in the past.
“Frankly, buying personal care businesses for us was very difficult,” CEO and President Paul Kusserow said last week at the 2019 Home Health Care News Summit in Chicago.
In fact, those challenges helped inspire the Amedisys-ClearCare personal care network to begin with, he said when sharing the origin story of the deal with summit attendees.
“[Personal care] is a hugely fragmented business with 25,000 players out there,” Kusserow said. “When [you buy] somebody with 100% turnover — or 60% or 70% turnover — you have no asset [because] once somebody has a couple million bucks in their pocket … they aren’t spending as much time keeping those people.”
On top of that, it can be hard to find scalable home care assets worth acquiring, forcing home health companies to get creative, M&A experts have told HHCN in the past.
Those challenges are reflected in Amedisys’s business mix. Currently, the home health behemoth owns home care agencies in only three states, and its personal care segment accounts for only about 4% of the company’s net service revenue, according to recent financial filings.
Another challenge that stood in Amedisys’s way was getting home health and home care agencies on the same wavelength.
“Logistically, it’s very difficult because you need to have a platform that allows you to toggle back and forth and see what [each of us] is doing,” Kusserow said. “So we partnered with ClearCare.”
ClearCare’s technology will help Amedisys and its home care partners share information and coordinate the care of patients.
“On the Amedisys side, when they identify a patient that might need help with day-to-day activities in order to stay out of the hospital they can, with consent, share that patient’s information with a personal care agency that works with ClearCare interoperably,” ClearCare CEO and founder Geoffrey Nudd previously told HHCN.
The partners first announced the deal back in late July. Two months later, the network is growing quickly — but is still in its early stages. Amedisys hopes the network will provide valuable data to inform better care.
“We can track how they’re doing,” Kusserow said. “We can get those results, and then we’re trying to build a database up front that takes all that data and enables us to provide integrated care.”
Additionally, Kusserow says he’s already heard from MA plans interested in the partnership.
“It’s very early days,” Kusserow said. “We really appreciate all the people that signed up with us, and we’re going to make a lot of mistakes in getting there, but we believe this is the place we need to go … because we think if we can get there we can really solve a lot of problems taking care of social determinants, ADLs and clinical needs.”