‘It’s Not Just The Payer’s Fault’: Aveanna CEO Jeff Shaner On Listening To Health Plans

In terms of home-based care providers’ relationship with payers, Aveanna Healthcare Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: AVAH) CEO Jeff Shaner believes that the next few years will be “transformative.”

Providers will have to be intentional in their agreements to reach the future success they desire, Shaner believes.

He said so on Tuesday during a panel discussion at Home Care 100 in Scottsdale, Arizona.


“I think we’re at the precipice of the most transformative period of the last 30 years, in health care today, as it relates to payer partnerships,” Shaner said. “And understanding your payer, who you work with, why you work with them and how you work with them.”

The Atlanta-based Aveanna provides home-based care services across 33 states. In addition to home- and community-based services and Medicare-certified home health care, the company also provides pediatric home care services.

Shaner took the CEO role at Aveanna in January of 2023. Previously, he served as the COO for the company.


Aveanna, which went public in 2021, has faced significant headwinds over the last couple of years. The company transformed its business model to become more geared toward seniors during the pandemic.

Tough macroeconomic pressures, along with extreme staffing woes internally, stymied growth in 2022 and 2023. Over time, however, the company has been able to get its feet underneath it.

“One of the most valuable lessons we’ve learned is the scarcity of our product or service,” Shaner said. “The clinician who provides our service is worth gold. And you can’t just allow that to go anywhere. You have to focus where your clinician, your resources and your scheduling are going – and who you’re partnering with.”

Therefore, the company has drawn a hard line on who it is willing to work with from a payer perspective, and who it is not.

It’s looking at who to partner with, and perhaps even more so, who not to partner with.

“One of the things that we have spent the last 18 months working on is [that question around], who are our payer partners?” Shaner said. “Truly looking for a partner, and being willing to sit across the table with them – whether for the geriatric or the pediatric, whether in the VA, Medicaid or Medicare Advantage.”

Aveanna has spent time listening to what payers need, and not just telling payers what it wants as a company.

“Two years ago, in the middle of COVID, we were pitching a [payer executive] on our services,” Shaner said. “At some point in conversation, he said, ‘Do you want to know what’s important to us?’ It was just one of those moments where you realized you had to shut your mouth and listen. It was an unbelievable moment of learning.”

So, while Aveanna is finding payer partners that are willing to pay them adequate rates for home-based care services, the company is also searching for the right solutions to payer problems on the way.

“It’s not just the payers’ fault,” Shaner said. “We have the responsibility to say, Hey, what are your needs, and how can we help solve them?”

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