Braff Group Snags Amedisys M&A Veteran; FirstLight Promotes Kerri Pendley To Chief Growth Officer

Braff Group hires former Amedisys M&A expert

The Braff Group has hired Kris Novak to become the firm’s new managing director of home health, hospice, home care and pediatrics.

The Braff Group is an M&A advisory firm that specializes in senior care dealmaking and has completed nearly 400 transactions since the company was founded in 1998.

Novak is joining the Braff Group after serving as the vice president of mergers and acquisitions at the Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Amedisys Inc. (Nasdaq: AMED).


Novak made the announcement on LinkedIn.

The move comes just a month after the news that UnitedHealth Group’s (NYSE: UNH) Optum plans to acquire Amedisys, one of the largest providers of home health and hospice in the country.

FirstLight Home Care makes a key hire and a promotion

FirstLight Home Care announced that it has promoted Kerri Pendley to the role of chief growth officer.


Pendley has been at FirstLight Home Care since 2018. At the time, she joined the company as director of health care strategy and national alliances. She became the company’s vice president of strategy two years later.

In her new role, Pendley will be responsible for managing business growth and creating new revenue paths.

“Kerri is data-driven and lives for predictability and scalability,” FirstLight Home Care President and CEO Glee McAnanly, said in a statement. “In her previous position, Kerri successfully built and developed FirstLight’s national accounts department and led the expansion of service offerings to include skilled care. Her knack for connecting different parts of the business and getting everyone to row in the same direction will help us maintain our plan for steady growth.”

The Cincinnati-based FirstLight Home Care has about 200 locations across the country.

The company also recently announced that Kristen Duell has joined as EVP of experience and innovation.

“We are excited to have Kristen join our team,” McAnanly said in a statement. “She is a dynamic leader passionate about enriching the client, caregiver and franchisee experience. Her vision and commitment to shaping the future of the home care industry through disruptive ideas will undoubtedly impact the growth of our franchise owners.”

Before joining FirstLight, Duell served as the chief marketing officer for HCP.

During her tenure at HCP, Duell was recognized by Home Health Care News as a Future Leader.

“I am thrilled and honored to work with every aspect of FirstLight Home Care,” Duell said in a statement. “My goal is to explore innovative ways to differentiate us while enhancing overall satisfaction. The home care industry is at a pivotal time in which we must think and do things differently. Our aging population demands it and FirstLight is up to the challenge.”

Nova Leap promotes new CFO

Nova Leap Health Corp. has named Chris LeBlanc CFO and corporate secretary, effective immediately.

The appointment comes at the same time as the announcement that Lisette Hachey is resigning from these positions, as part of a planned transition. Hachey was originally named CFO and corporate secretary in June 2022. Before that, she was the company’s corporate controller and director of finance.

Prior to his promotion, LeBlanc was Nova Leap’s director of finance.

“I would like to thank Lisette for her work with Nova Leap during these past two and a half years,” Nova Leap President and CEO Chris Dobbin said in a press statement. “We have benefitted from her experience and, with the disclosure of our upcoming record results, she leaves Nova Leap on a high note. I would also like to congratulate Chris on his appointment. Chris has played an important role since joining Nova Leap over a year ago and has the necessary leadership qualities required as we continue building Nova Leap.”

Halifax, Nova Scotia-based Nova Leap is a home care company that provides care in 10 U.S. markets.

CareAcademy names new chief revenue officer

CareAcademy has announced the appointment of Steven Goldschmidt as the company’s new chief revenue officer (CRO).

In his role, Goldschmidt will be responsible for driving revenue growth and spearheading the expansion into new markets.

“I am incredibly excited to join CareAcademy and support the mission to elevate caregivers and enable excellent health outcomes,” Goldschmidt said in a statement. “The caregiver-centric approach and innovative training solutions offered by CareAcademy have already made a significant impact on the health care industry. I look forward to leveraging my experience and expertise to drive revenue growth and expand the company’s reach, ultimately empowering caregivers to provide the best possible care to those in need.”

The Boston-based CareAcademy’s platform provides home care agencies with professional development training and upskilling for direct care workers. Last year, it secured a Goldman Sachs-led $20 million funding round.

Prior to joining CareAcademy, Goldschmidt served as the CRO at Curve Health and also served as the VP of post-acute care at Collective Medical, a PointClickCare company.

“We are thrilled to welcome Steven to CareAcademy as our new chief revenue officer,” CareAcademy CEO and founder Helen Adeosun said in a statement. “His proven track record of successfully driving revenue growth and expanding market presence in the healthcare industry will be instrumental in our mission to elevate caregivers and transform the healthcare system into a more caregiver-centric model.”

Former Jet Health CEO lands new gig

Wellinks, a Connecticut-based digital health care company, has named Stacie Bratcher as its new CEO.

Bratcher was the former CEO of Jet Health, a Fort Worth, Texas-based post-acute care company that delivers home health, hospice and personal care services in four states.

Before her time at Jet Health, Bratcher was the CEO of Alana Healthcare, a value-based chronic condition management company.

“Stacie is the perfect candidate to guide Wellinks as we bring on new opportunities,” Kevin Rakin, chair of Wellinks’ board, said in a statement. “Her deep expertise in the industry will accelerate Wellinks’ ability to unite key players across the continuum of care to deliver a better experience for medically complex patients.”

Wellinks offers virtual cardiopulmonary disease (CPOD) management for health plans and value-based care providers.

“The intersections of value-based arrangements and innovative approaches to care provide unique opportunities to better manage chronic diseases,” Bratcher said in a statement. “Wellinks has fundamentally changed the way we think about delivering virtual cardiopulmonary care – I’m excited to lead the company’s expansion and help our partners bring a new standard of care to their members.”

Luna appoints new chief growth officer

Luna has announced that RaeAnn Grossman will join the company as its new chief growth officer.

The Rocklin, California-based Luna provides outpatient physical therapy in the home setting. Through the company’s platform, patients are matched with a physical therapist at the time and location of their choosing.

Luna currently operates across 50 markets in 27 states.

“As one of the nation’s leading experts in healthcare transformation and innovation, RaeAnn has a proven track record of collaborating with health plans, provider groups and the health care community to drive value, impact and growth,” Palak Shah, Luna’s co-founder and head of clinical operations, said in a statement. “This latest appointment represents another step closer to Luna’s vision of becoming the leading in-home rehabilitation provider.”

Before joining Luna, Grossman held leadership and strategic growth positions at Signify Health, Optum and BCBS of Arizona.

“Luna solves the most challenging problems faced by health plans and providers today; namely, a lack of member engagement and adherence and a fragmented care experience,” Grossman said in a statement. “By transforming the vision of holistic in-home care, we’re lowering costs, increasing access, streamlining the care journey, and improving health outcomes.”

DUOS hires new VP of health solutions

DUOS has hired Tom Shankle as the company’s new VP of health solutions.

The New York-based startup DUOS helps place personal assistants into the homes of older adults. Earlier this summer, the company raised $10 million in funding, bringing the total amount raised to more than $33 million.

Shankle will lead the company’s efforts in expanding its services and solutions to Medicare Advantage plans and risk-bearing providers, according to the company.