Home Health & Hospice Weekly News Roundup

Our weekly list of news, reports, and information about home health and hospice care. Learn about new studies, trends, CMS regulations and more.

LHC Group and Geisinger Announce Definitive Agreement for Home Health and Hospice Joint Venture

LHC Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: LHCG), Geisinger Home Health and Hospice, and AtlantiCare Home Health and Hospice announced today they have entered into a definitive agreement for a joint venture partnership to enhance home health and hospice services at Geisinger locations in Pennsylvania and at AtlantiCare – A Member of Geisinger in Atlantic County, New Jersey. It is anticipated that the joint venture agreement will be completed by April 1 for the Pennsylvania locations, and by June 1 for New Jersey, subject to customary closing conditions, at which time LHC Group will purchase majority ownership of Geisinger’s home health and hospice services and assume management responsibility. LHC Group expects annualized revenue from this joint venture of approximately $35 million and that it will not materially affect its 2019 diluted earnings per share. The Home Health and Hospice service of Geisinger and AtlantiCare delivers patient-centered care for those needing 24/7 access to healthcare in the comfort of their home and for patients in need of end-of-life care. It has locations in Danville, Bloomsburg, Wilkes-Barre, Northumberland, Montoursville, Lewistown, Lewisburg and Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, and in Atlantic County, New Jersey.

In-Home Care Industry Identifies Greatest Growth Areas, Technology Drivers

Despite a recent uptick in M&A activity within the hospice space, many industry leaders still see private duty home care and medical home health care as the greatest growth areas for the in-home care industry in 2019. Meanwhile, the year ahead will also be filled with new technology adaptation, driven by payment model changes and regulatory compliance. Those are a few of the key findings from the 2019 Home Health Care News Outlook Survey and Report, sponsored by Homecare Homebase and released earlier this month. The survey — conducted in November and December 2018 — reflects the opinions of more than 680 professionals working in or alongside the in-home care industry.

Why Home Health is One of the Fastest Growing Healthcare Markets

Home health spending continues to grow in the U.S., outpacing overall healthcare spending and GDP. CMS reported that home health spending reached $103 billion in 2017, and is predicted to grow by 6.7 percent annually by 2020, while healthcare spending overall is only expected to grow 5.5 percent each year, according to Home Health Care News. At a recent webinar presented by law firm Polsinelli, Dallas-based managing partner Jon Henderson hosted leading experts in the field to give an update on the home health market. Cortney Marcin, a director in consulting firm BDO’s Center For Healthcare Excellence and Innovation, discussed the factors that have spurred the growth of home health nationwide. With 10,000 U.S. residents turning 65 each day, Marcin noted that 70 percent of patients seeking home care treatment are 65 and older. The added numbers and increased preference to receive care at home has been a major influence in increasing home health investment and growth. Marcin also described how a move toward consumer driven care is impacting the move to home health. “Patients are increasingly engaged in their own care,” she says, and their preference is becoming a more important factor in the business model.

Staffing Tops PDGM as Home Health Industry’s No. 1 Challenge

While the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) presents several hurdles and ample uncertainty for providers, many still view staffing as the in-home care industry’s No. 1 challenge. Additionally, despite PDGM’s magnitude, a substantial portion of the industry has not yet started to prepare for the overhaul. Those are two of the main takeaways from the 2019 Home Health Care News Outlook Survey and Report, released earlier in February and sponsored by Homecare Homebase. The survey — conducted from November to December of last year — reflects the views of more than 680 participants who work within or alongside the in-home care space. Finalized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at the end of October, PDGM is expected to transform home health agency operations by altering how therapy services are reimbursed, halving the traditional 60-day unit of payment to 30 days and shaking up case-mix weight calculations.