The largest Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) provider in the United States is reportedly getting another major investor.
On Friday, reports surfaced that London-based private equity firm Apax Partners plans to buy a stake in InnovAge from fellow PE giant Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe (WCAS). Apax Partners’ deal for a piece of InnovAge is rumored to value the PACE provider at $950 million, according to PE Hub, the first outlet to cover the news.
Apax Partners declined a request for comment from Home Health Care News. WCAS and InnovAge did not respond to requests for comment prior to the publication of this story.
Launched more than 40 years ago, PACE is a long-term care model meant to serve as an alternative to nursing homes and facility-based care. PACE models are funded by federal and state sources, typically offering an array of interdisciplinary services from both adult-day center hubs and clients’ private residences.
As of January, there were more than 130 PACE programs in 31 states, with 260 individual PACE centers serving upwards of 51,000 participants. With locations in Colorado, California, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Virginia, InnovAge is regarded as the largest PACE organization in the nation.
InnovAge and its PACE peers have been in the spotlight since March, as many aging Americans have turned to home- and community-based care models as a way of reducing their exposure to the coronavirus. To support PACE organizations during the public health emergency, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released updated federal guidelines on March 17, a move the InnovAge President and CEO Maureen Hewitt applauded.
“The PACE model really is uniquely positioned to respond in this type of scenario,” Hewitt previously told HHCN. “Our mission is to keep frail seniors in the community for as long as possible by supporting them with wrap-around, coordinated and comprehensive health care services that are individually designed for each senior.”
In 2016, New York-based WCAS financed the for-profit transition of InnovAge, which was founded in 1969 as a nonprofit. WCAS’s initial stake in InnovAge totaled $196 million, with an optional $8 million earn-out.
“During my tenure at [CMS] and in the private health care sector, I’ve become a huge advocate of the PACE model,” Tom Scully, a general partner at WCAS, said at the time. “It is the best way to care for frail seniors, but it has received little attention and grown very slowly due to limited access to new capital.”
Since the firm’s founding, WCAS has raised more than $27 billion of committed capital, investing in over 85 health care companies. In addition to InnovAge, its health care portfolio includes Kindred at Home and Partners in Primary Care.
On its end, Apax Partners invests in large companies across health care, technology and other sectors. No stranger to senior care, the PE firm invested in Authority Brands — Homewatch CareGivers’ parent company — in 2018.
Citing “four sources familiar with the matter,” PE Hub reported that WCAS and Apax Partners will jointly control InnovAge, with each controlling a 49% stake in the PACE provider. WCAS was rumored to be exploring a full or partial sale of InnovAge since early June, with Unitedhealthcare Group’s Optum referenced as one potential strategic buyer.
While PACE models have traditionally revolved around their adult-day center locations, many have adopted heavier in-the-home strategies since the coronavirus began.