Two in-home care powerhouses — a provider and technology company — are teaming up to build a new kind of data platform.
On Thursday, Addus HomeCare Corporation (Nasdaq: ADUS) announced that it has entered into a joint software-development agreement with Homecare Homebase (HCHB) to build “the industry’s first integrated, enterprise-level solution for all types of home-based care.”
Headquartered in Frisco, Texas, Addus is a provider of home health, hospice and personal care services, the latter of which make up the majority of its overall business. The company currently provides in-home care services to roughly 44,000 people across 208 locations in nearly two dozen states.
“Our clients have changing needs at different points in their care journey,” Addus Chief Information Officer Mike Wattenbarger said in a statement. “Sometimes, it’s as simple as meal prep or other household tasks. Following surgery or managing a chronic illness, they may need skilled nursing or eventually hospice care.”
In light of those ever-changing needs, Addus began looking for “one integrated platform that could support all of our services,” Wattenbarger continued.
Ultimately, it decided to get to work on its own, with the help of HCHB.
Founded by home health veteran April Anthony in 1999 and now part of the Hearst Health network, HCHB is a Dallas-based software company that provides a variety of real-time solutions for providers operating across the post-acute care spectrum.
“We recognized a while back that our customers are expanding their service lines, and a lot of them are moving and growing in personal care, chronic care, other service lines that go outside of a traditional home health episode or hospice stay,” HCHB Chief Strategy Officer Scott Pattillo told Home Health Care News. “As our customers have grown into that space, we recognized that we need to as well.”
In addition to HCHB, the Addus home care software project will also integrate CellTrak, a Chicago-based provider of electronic visit verification (EVV) technology.
“We’ve had a long-term relationship with CellTrak and have successfully used their product to support our home care field staff network for years,” Wattenbarger noted.
On a high level, the overarching goal of the new project is to give home-based care providers like Addus a unified patient record to better manage clients in the home.
Moving forward, the ability to share a range of data from across service lines with payers could turn into a key to value-based contracting for Addus.
“The development of the first Homecare Homebase solution that encompasses personal care as well is noteworthy, particularly as it relates to [Addus HomeCare’s] future opportunities in value-based contracting,” Stephens analyst Scott Fidel wrote in a research note.
Today, Addus derives about 80% of its consolidated revenues from personal care, but the company has been ramping up its skilled home health and hospice exposure of late via acquisition, the note points out.
The software tool is expected to become available sometime in early 2022, according to Addus, which reports its first-quarter financial results for this year early next month.
On its end, Addus already has made serious progress on its value-based care efforts. In March, for example, the provider announced a new “value-based post-acute care navigation agreement” with Presbyterian Health Plan in New Mexico.
“We feel very good about this — about this contract and about our relationship with Presbyterian,” EVP and Chief Development Officer David Tucker told HHCN at the time. “We have a great history with Presbyterian. We are currently contracted with them with all three lines of service. We’ve been working with them on bringing value-based agreements together over the last year.”
For context, total home health patient volume for Addus checked in at 6,700 for all of 2020, according to the company. It reported 2020 hospice admissions of 6,376.
“In any type of value-based arrangement where you’re looking to bring the best outcome for the patient for a good value, you want to be able to bring coordinated skilled care and non-skilled care into the patient’s home in ways that make sense for that particular program,” Pattillo said “Having all of that in one platform is really what enables those special programs.”
News of the Addus-HCHB initiative came out on Thursday, but the two had already started the legwork long before that.
In fact, HCHB has already put in over 2,000 hours of discovery, figuring out all the different ways it needs to augment its existing system to expand into personal care, Pattillo said.
“There’s a lot of state specifics when it comes to the state Medicaid programs,” he explained. “And so the ability to authorize care, the interplay of that with onboarding patients and the ongoing billing, it is different in the personal care space. It leverages a lot of the core aspects of our [home health] solution, but there are things that we need to build.”