April Anthony, the CEO of Encompass Health Corp.’s (NYSE: EHC) home health and hospice segment is stepping down from her role. Anthony is the original founder of the business.
The Birmingham, Alabama-based Encompass Health announced the news on Friday, nearly four months after it unveiled its plans to explore “strategic alternatives” for its home health and hospice business, which has continued to be a very successful part of the company’s network.
Overall, Encompass Health offers a wide range of care in both facility and home-based settings. It has 138 hospitals, 241 home health locations and 82 hospice locations in 39 states and Puerto Rico.
“It’s been my honor to lead Encompass Health’s home health and hospice segment, and I am proud of what we have accomplished,” Anthony said in a statement. “We have developed a premier network of nurses, therapists, social workers and home health aides across the country and have set a new industry standard for providing high-quality, cost-effective integrated care.”
Encompass Health currently ranks as the fourth-largest home health provider in the nation, LexisNexis data suggests. For reference, it brought in just over $1 billion in revenue in 2020, which represented a slight decrease from the year prior.
Anthony is set to step down in mid-June, and it is not yet clear whether she will stay in the industry. She also founded the home-based care software company Homecare Homebase, which she sold a 40% stake to private investors at a $150 million valuation in 2011, according to Forbes.
She started Encompass Home Health & Hospice in 1998, and grew it significantly from its single-location, start-up origins, acquiring failing agencies and building out its network for years. Eventually, HealthSouth Corporation acquired the business for $750 million in 2014, and eventually changed its name to Encompass Health four years later.
“Our home health and hospice business is positioned to meet the demands of an aging population that has a strong and increasing preference for in-home care,” Encompass Health President and CEO Mark Tarr said in a statement. “Our search process to identify a successor is underway, and we have a strong foundation in place to aid in this transition.”
The exploration of a repositioning of the company’s home health and hospice business also remains underway.
“As we continue our review of strategic alternatives for our home health and hospice business, we will maintain our focus on operational excellence,” Tarr added.
In the broader home health care landscape, the move to explore strategic alternatives — including a sale or spinoff — is not an isolated one. Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD), which also has one of the biggest home health segments in the U.S., announced the selling of a stake of its own home health business to HCA Healthcare (NYSE: HCA) in February.
“Being one of the top providers in the nation, as measured by both our financial results and our quality outcomes, allows us to consider a wide array of transactions and structures,” Tarr said during the company’s Q4 earnings call.
Particularly in wake of the COVID-19 crisis, larger health care companies are looking for creative ways to avoid the economic fallout. Home health is seemingly in demand, as larger facility-based companies such as HCA Healthcare look to get into home-based care.
As for Anthony, she’s been a titan in home-based care in the U.S. for multiple decades, and one of the faces of home health’s growth over the last few years.
“April has provided outstanding leadership to the home health and hospice business,” Tarr said. “Together, we have grown this segment’s revenue from approximately $400 million to $1.1 billion and substantially increased the geographical footprint of our services.”