LHC Group Adds Density in Texas; Highmark Health Turns to Contessa

LHC Group expands joint venture

LHC Group (Nasdaq: LHCG), Texas Health Resources and Methodist Health System have agreed to purchase and share ownership of Healthcare Resources, an Arlington, Texas-based home health provider.

DFW Home Health — a separate legal entity jointly owned by LHC Group, Texas Health Resources and North Texas Health Facilities Management Inc., a subsidiary of Methodist Health System — will officially make the purchase.

The deal marks the expansion of DFW Home Health’s footprint to four locations across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

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“We are encouraged and excited by the continued success of DFW Home Health and the growth of our partnership across the region,” Keith Myers, LHC Group chairman and CEO, said in a statement announcing the deal. “By helping our JV partners expand their footprint, we help them enhance access to important services and create healthier communities across the country.”

The deal is slated to close on Jan. 1, 2020, and LHC Group expects $2.4 million in annualized revenue from the joint venture.

DFW Home Health provides in-home health care services for 25 hospitals and, in 2019, will provide care for roughly 8,000 patients, according to LHC Group.

Highmark Health partners with Contessa

Highmark Health has teamed up with Contessa in a joint venture — Home Recovery Care LLC — to give people access to hospital-level care in their homes.

Highmark Health is the Pittsburgh-based parent company of Highmark Inc., Allegheny Health Network and HM Health Solutions. The company is the second-largest integrated health care delivery and financing network in the United States based on revenue.

Founded in 2015, Nashville-based Contessa partners with health systems and health plans through its home recovery care model, which is designed to provide hospital-level care in the home for a fraction of the cost.

As a part of the Home Recovery Care JV, Contessa’s technology will enable patients to have access to all essential elements of in-patient care in the home through telemedicine. The program also includes in-home care and care management oversight.

“Creating a value-based experience that enables patients and families to heal in the home is a priority for Highmark Health,” Dr. Monique Reese, senior vice president of home and community care for Highmark Health, said in a statement. “Through the Home Recovery Care Model, Allegheny Health Network will provide high-quality in-home services such as home care, home infusion and durable medical equipment.”

Currently, Home Recovery Care is available to select Highmark Inc. commercial health plan members and will be available to all Medicare Advantage (MA) members starting on Jan. 1, 2020.

Additionally, plans to expand this service to all Highmark Health plan members in western and central Pennsylvania and the company’s other core markets of West Virginia and Delaware are in the works.

Contessa’s joint venture with Highmark is only the latest move in what has been a very busy year for the company. Previously, Contessa announced a similar agreement with Prisma Health in October, its third hospital partnership of 2019 at the time.

WellSky finalizes ClearCare acquisition

WellSky, a health and community care technology company backed by TPG Capital, has closed its acquisition of ClearCare Inc., a personal care technology platform. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

WellSky is an international software and professional services company that has more than 10,000 clients, including home health providers, hospital systems, blood banks, labs, hospices, government agencies and human services organizations.

San Francisco-based ClearCare provides caregiver scheduling, billing and other software solutions to more than 4,000 home care agencies.

WellSky originally entered into an agreement to purchase ClearCare back in October.

Overall, the deal falls in line with WellSky’s aggressive expansion into the post-acute care arena.

“You’ve seen us be very aggressive about expanding into all of the arenas of post-acute care,” Bill Miller, CEO of WellSky, previously told Home Health Care News. “I think it was a matter of time [before] we addressed a really interesting part of the post-acute care continuum. This was a natural progression of WellSky.”

Alliance awards second annual home health research grant

The Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (AHHQI) has named researchers from George Mason University and L&M Policy Research LLC recipients of its second annual home health research grant.

Washington, D.C.-based AHHQI is a non-profit consortium of home health care providers and organizations that fund research and education within the sector.

The projects selected for this current grant funding cycle will center around the implications of frontloading in home health episodes and cultural sensitivity in home health care.

Specifically, Mary Narayan, a PhD student at the George Mason University School of Nursing, will explore the key elements of providing culturally sensitive care in the home and creating culture-sensitive, patient-centered assessments for care plans.

L&M researchers Julia Doherty and Brant Morefield will lead a team of researchers to examine the use of frontloading in Medicare fee-for-service home health care. The team will look into the timing, number and type of home health health visits — and how frontloading is currently being operationalized.

“Through the Alliance’s grant funding, the organization has been able to support researchers doing critical work in improving care delivered in the home and pushing forward toward the future of home health care benefiting patients, caregivers, providers and the health care system at large,” Donald Stelly, chairman of the Alliance’s board of directors said in a statement.

Overall, this current crop of grant recipients is part oft six ongoing research projects funded by AHHQI.

Fisher-Titus merges with Marina Home Health

Fisher-Titus has merged with Marina Home Health LLC, a Sandusky, Ohio-based durable medical equipment (DME) business.

Norwalk, Ohio-based Fisher-Titus is a not-for-profit community health system that serves the Norwalk, Huron County and north-central Ohio region.

Under the merger, Marina will operate the Norwalk location under the name Fisher-Titus Durable Medical Equipment.

“This merger allows Fisher-Titus the opportunity to strengthen and expand this vital service to our patients by becoming part of a larger organization that offers a great amount of proven expertise,” Dr. Brent Burkey, Fisher-Titus president and CEO, said in a statement.

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