The Most Game-Changing Home-Based Care Blockbusters Of The Last Decade

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Thanks to impactful, large-scale transactions over the last decade, the collective face of home-based care has changed forever.

Traditional providers in both home health care and personal home care have merged. Payers became involved in the home-based care space like never before. Of late, retailers have too.

But it’s often easy to forget how the current landscape became what it is.


Below, Home Health Care News takes a look at some of the most important and impactful deals in home-based care over the last decade – deals that explain, in part, where the home health and home care industries are today.

‘Big time’ provider deals

This past decade’s first blockbuster remained one of the most impactful throughout the last 10 years.

In 2014, April Anthony’s Encompass Home Health & Hospice was acquired by HealthSouth Corporation for $750 million. HealthSouth took a swing at home health and hospice, merging an in-patient facility business with a post-acute care business.


Four years later, HealthSouth would rebrand completely, taking on the home health and hospice entity’s name. Encompass Health Corp. (NYSE: EHC) still exists today, but is again without post-acute care capabilities.

The HealthSouth-Encompass deal is like a few other deals in home health care, in that it set off a domino effect and a winding life cycle of a home health entity.

Anthony left Encompass Health in 2021, and after her home health and hospice company operated as a segment within the larger organization for nearly a decade, Encompass Home Health & Hospice was spun off into its own public company: Enhabit Inc. (NYSE: EHAB).

That happened in 2022, and two years later, Enhabit may land in the hands of a different owner after it concludes its own strategic review. Anthony now runs VitalCaring, which is backed by her, The Vistria Group and Nautic Partners.

Over the decade, larger health care organizations like Encompass Health have also bundled up services, and also unbundled them.

For instance, Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD) had one of the largest home health footprints for a long time. After COVID-19 woes, however, it offloaded that to a health system eager to get into home health care: HCA Healthcare (NYSE: HCA). LHC Group would later acquire some of the assets jointly owned by Brookdale and HCA Healthcare.

Ascension Health, too, teamed up with TowerBrook to buy the home health and hospice provider Compassus in 2019.

A theme that has been a mainstay, and will likely remain a mainstay, is health systems changing course on their strategic planning – and deciding whether to own home health care themselves or focus on core operations and partner with home health care instead.

“You’re seeing a lot of these facility-based providers divesting or spinning off assets,” Chaz Bauer, director at Fifth Third Securities, told Home Health Care News. “They realize they have fundamentally two different businesses. They’re very related and intertwined. But fundamentally, you have these facility-based businesses that are very centralized models, very capital intensive. Whereas home-based care businesses, they’re very decentralized; they’re very capital-light. Part of the motivation there – in unbundling – is they can unlock value for their shareholders by splitting those businesses.”

But then there’s the M&A that has come from within the home health sector itself.

For instance, “the merger of equals” that turned LHC Group into a true home-based care powerhouse.

In late 2017, LHC Group agreed to merge with Almost Family in a $2.4 billion transaction. A straight line can be drawn from that deal to UnitedHealth Group’s (NYSE: UNH) acquisition of LHC Group, which was finalized in 2023.

LHC Group and Almost Family’s merger is not an anomaly, either. Not long after, Great Lakes Caring, National Home Health Care and Jordan Health Services combined in a three-way merger to create another one of the largest home health companies in the U.S.: Elara Caring.

That deal was powered by the PE firms Blue Wolf Capital Partners and Kelso & Company.

PE money in home-based care has turned a lot of sizable providers into powerhouses. The aforementioned PE firms – Blue Wolf, Kelso, Vistria and Nautic – have all played a part in that, in the transactions mentioned already and otherwise.

That will also continue, particularly as some of the holding periods of the largest companies turn over. There’s also a chance, however, that PE firms direct more attention to other parts of home-based care – like personal care – given the uncertainty surrounding home health payment rates.

In home care, Vistria and Centerbridge Partners uplifted Help at Home, turning it into one of the largest providers of home- and community-based services (HCBS) in the country.

Waud Capital recently acquired the large home care franchise Senior Helpers. Wellspring Capital Management acquired Interim HealthCare’s parent company Caring Brands International in 2021. Last September, The Halifax Group acquired Comfort Keepers from Sodexo.

PE has always been involved in home care. Bain Capital’s 2018 creation of Arosa, one of the largest non-franchised home care companies in the country, is one past example.

In the future, it’ll be interesting to see if PE will drive more large-scale, impactful deals like it has in home health care over the last decade.

Payers enter the fold

Any commentary on the biggest deals in home-based care over the last decade needs to note increased payer involvement.

Enter Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM).

When people think of the company’s home-based care investments, most go straight to its takeover of Kindred at Home.

But let’s take a step out of the last decade, just for a second.

In 2011, Humana acquired the home-based care provider SeniorBridge, which was doing just $72 million in annual revenue at the time. When that deal was announced, it was not exactly frontpage news. But one could argue that kickstarted a chain of investments that changed the M&A landscape in home-based care forever.

“SeniorBridge fills a growing market need and is consistent with Humana’s focus on delivering clinical care for seniors in their homes,” Michael B. McCallister, Humana’s chairman and CEO at the time, said in a statement. “Acquiring SeniorBridge will immediately expand Humana’s existing clinical capabilities with the addition of SeniorBridge’s national network of 1,500 care managers. The company does a terrific job of reducing hospital readmissions and emergency-room utilization, all while helping seniors achieve lifelong well-being.”

Humana’s home-based care thesis was already there, but the SeniorBridge deal was likely the deal that set the stage for what eventually became CenterWell.

“The deal was a game changer. I was initially surprised by the size of the transaction. It was pretty small by Humana standards,” Mertz Taggart Managing Partner Cory Mertz told HHCN. “It didn’t take long for Humana to tout the savings SeniorBridge created for their membership, saving it billions of dollars within the first couple years of the deal, by keeping their members at home and out of the hospital.”

Nearly 13 years later, Humana is one of the largest home health providers in the country through CenterWell Home Health.

The company, with the help of the PE firms TPG Capital and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe (WCAS), acquired and merged Kindred at Home and Curo Health Services. Yet another home health and hospice powerhouse was formed, this time under the watch of one of the largest payers in the country.

In 2021, Humana opted to take over a remaining 60% of the enterprise (it had previously owned 40%), which was worth over $8 billion at the time.

In 2022, it divested the hospice and home care operations of Kindred to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R). Those divested assets became what is now known as Gentiva, led by David Causby, the former CEO of Kindred at Home.

The home health assets Humana held onto are now under CenterWell Home Health. CenterWell, overall, includes primary care, pharmacy and home health services.

In 2024, most large payers – namely the ones with large MA memberships – have some sort of home-based care capabilities. That was not the case when Humana acquired SeniorBridge way back when.

“This has been an ongoing development, and it’s really just vertical integration,” Bauer said. “The thought is: why not get into that downstream, and then be able to more directly control those costs and quality outcomes on the payer side?”

The other heavily involved payer is the only one that has a leg up on Humana in MA: UnitedHealth Group.

UnitedHealth Group’s Optum already had a variety of health care provider assets, but it decided to make its first big home-based care splash early in 2022 when it announced the $5.4 billion acquisition of LHC Group.

While payers liked the thought of vertical integration, large providers like LHC Group were also recognizing an existential threat to home health business: MA penetration. More MA beneficiaries meant fewer traditional Medicare beneficiaries, which meant a less sturdy financial leg to stand on.

UnitedHealth Group further cemented its interest not long after, when it made a $3.3 billion all-cash offer for Amedisys. That deal was agreed to in June of 2023, but is still pending.

Though UnitedHealth Group may have to divest some Amedisys assets to finalize the deal, the company will most likely have the largest home health market share when that deal closes. Estimates suggest Optum will have about 10% of the U.S. home health market under its belt.

Not only are payers now involved in the home health industry, but they are also creating scale.

“You can make an argument that Optum acquiring LHC group, and now Amedisys, is a scale transaction, like ones we’ve seen before,” Bauer said. “Because it puts together two of the largest providers to make an industry leader.”

New kids on the block

Like payers before them, another group of companies is now firmly involved in home-based care investment: retailers.

In fact, they’re so invested, they may not be labeled as just retailers five to 10 years from now.

CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) has a new health care services segment dubbed CVS Healthspire. Walgreens Boots Alliance (Nasdaq: WBA) has the same with its U.S. Healthcare segment.

Both of those segments are arguably the future of their respective parent organizations. And both include home-based care services.

Payers and retailers have different business models, but tend to want the same thing: pharmacy, primary care and home-based care services.

In 2020, Walgreens made an over $1 billion investment in VillageMD, a home- and community-focused primary care provider. After subsequent investments, it has backed VillageMD with over $6 billion.

After that, Walgreens found its next health care services asset in the health-at-home solutions platform CareCentrix. Though he is no longer in the position, CareCentrix’s former CEO, John Driscoll, was the initial leader of Walgreens new U.S. Healthcare segment.

“We continue to see strong results and potential for growth from our partnership with CareCentrix. Our full acquisition further accelerates our transformation to become a consumer-centric health care company, leveraging innovative platforms that extend our capabilities into fast-growing segments of health care,” former Walgreens CEO Roz Brewer said at the time. “CareCentrix is key to offering services to our patients at every stage of the care continuum, and to driving long-term, sustainable growth as part of our U.S. Healthcare strategy.”

Not to be outdone, CVS Health agreed to acquire the home- and value-based care enabler Signify Health in 2022 for $8 billion. Shortly after that, it got its primary care provider, too, with the over $10 billion acquisition of Oak Street Health.

While none of these assets are traditional home health or home care assets, this retailer involvement represents a seismic change in U.S. health care – and home-based care is a major part of it.

These companies could go after more assets in the future, or they could become major partners for those traditional providers.

Honorable mentions

It’s impossible to highlight every deal, but there are some that don’t fit perfectly into “themes” that are still worth mentioning.

The home care technology company Honor acquired the home care franchise brand Home Instead in 2021, for instance. In lieu of strictly partnering with providers to see its vision through, Honor opted to purchase Home Instead to speed up the process. The jury is still out on that deal, however.

Prior to agreeing to become a part of Optum, Amedisys also made plenty of deals that turned it into a multi-billion-dollar business.

It acquired the hospital-at-home platform Contessa Health in 2021 for $250 million.

It acquired Compassionate Care for $340 million in 2018, and AseraCare Hospice in 2020 for $235 million. Those two deals significantly bolstered its hospice arm.

Modivcare (Nasdaq: MODV) entered into the personal care game in a real way with its $575 million acquisition of Simplura Health Group in 2020 and its $340 million deal for CareFinders Total Care in 2021.

BrightSpring and PhaMerica completed a merger in 2019 that eventually led to today’s BrightSpring Health Services (Nasdaq: BTSG), which is now a public home-based care company.

Finally, Aveanna (Nasdaq: AVAH) – formerly a pediatric provider – entered into the home-based senior care world with its $345 million acquisition of Comfort Care Home Health in 2021 and its acquisition of Accredited Home Care for about $200 million later that year.

Addus Homecare Corporation (Nasdaq: ADUS) has executed several high-profile transactions of its own, most recently acquiring Tennessee Quality Care in a $106 million deal.

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