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HCHB Customers in the News: January 2023


HCHB Customers wrapped up 2022 by sharing insights, making new deals and making plans to shape the future of the home-based care industry. Our customers were cited in multiple articles recapping the most important deals and events taking place in the industry over the past year. Check out the highlights below.

HCHB Customers Share 2023 Insights

Leaders from several HCHB agencies shared their thoughts on what is coming in 2023 and their strategies for overcoming expected challenges. These insightful leaders include: Stacie Bratcher, CEO of Jet Health, Dan Savitt, President and CEO of VNS Health, Stephan Rodgers, CEO at AccentCare, David Jackson, CEO of Choice Health at Home, David Klementz, President and CEO at Traditions Health and Scott Powers, Chairman and CEO of Elara Caring. The topics discussed by the leaders ranged from Medicare Advantage and back office innovation to clinical specialization and predictive analytics. Read the full article here.

HCHB Customers Highlighted in Game-Changing Deals Article

This December, Hospice News published an article highlighting ​“5 Game-Changing Hospice Deals from 2022”. 4 out of the 5 deals involved HCHB customers. The list of game-changing deals included the pending purchase of LHC Group by Optum, Humana selling Kindred’s hospice division, Enhabit’s split from Encompass Health and Addus HomeCare Corporation’s JourneyCare acquisition. Rising interest rates and inflation are expected to continue to affect hospice deals in 2023, but the lower middle market is still considered hot and is outpacing other areas of healthcare. Read the rest of the article here.

3 HCHB Customers Take Part in 2022’s ​“Most Interesting Deals”

Three HCHB Customers were cited in a Home Health Care News article detailing the most interesting deals of the year. These deals included the pending purchase of LHC Group by United Health Group’s Optum network, the formation of Gentiva from Kindred’s former hospice division, and the Enhabit Home Health and Hospice spin off from Encompass. Interestingly, each deal represented a different type of company ownership within the home care space. LHC’s deal represents payor interest in the home sector. Gentiva’s ownership is majority owned by PE firm, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and Enhabit is a publicly owned company in its own right. Read the rest of the article here.

Enhabit Purchases Southwest Florida Home Care

Southwest Florida Home Care in Fort Myers has been acquired by Enhabit Home Health and Hospice. Chrissy Carlisle, CFO of Enhabit commented on the companies’ acquisition process: ​“We are prioritizing opportunities that offer the greatest growth opportunity for our business. When we look at these opportunities, we’re looking at Medicare beneficiaries in the market, opportunities for scale and density in that market, and overlap with existing service lines,” CFO Chrissy Carlisle said. ​“And now especially, we’ve added staff availability when we’re looking at markets. That’s a critical success factor.” Read the full article here.

Amedisys Chairman and CEO Discusses New Priorities

Hospice News shared Paul Kusserow’s priorities for Amedisys in a recent Hospice News article. Kusserow is focusing on clinician retention, high-acuity and palliative care in the home and earnings predictability. These priorities are closely linked. ​“When we have a stable workforce, what we see is we have higher productivity, we have better outcomes, and we have better margin and EBITDA. We’re going to move from a commoditized market to one that is capacity constrained. And so we need to take advantage of that dynamic. There’s no reason with these initiatives that we should not deliver on our numbers — and beat our numbers.” Read the rest of the article here.

Serenity First Hospice

Debbie Johnston, registered nurse and entrepreneur has been built several businesses in the home care space and authored two books. In 2021 she opened Serenity First Hospice because she was inspired by the hospice care her father received. Despite the challenging market, Serenity First has seen rapid growth. The company offers a variety of supportive services for the patient such as massage, music and pet therapy. The grief group is an important service offered to families as well. In 2023 her goal will be ​“to manage growth and have enough employees to do it well while we’re growing. It’s kind of been a particular kind of thing. We’ll get 10 referrals in a week, and we’ve got to make sure that we have enough help. So we’re constantly assessing how much help we need to come in. That’s a constant. You got to have staying power, because you’re paying to take care of patients and you’re not being paid. It’s the only service in the home that I know of that does that.” Read the full article here.

VNS Health Offers VBID Design Services

VNS Health is leveraging its experience as an early VBID adopter to help other organizations design their own programs. Developing a VBID program includes risk modeling, patient identification, cost and care benefit analysis, hospice and palliative care strategies and provider network management. VNS offers to help with each step of the design process and has partnered with another HCHB customer, Compassus. Read more here.

Jeff Shaner Appointed as Future Aveanna CEO

Aveanna announced the retirement of CEO, Tony Strange at the end of 2022. Jeff Shaner, COO will assume the CEO position as of January 1, 2023. ​“I am looking forward to this new leadership role as CEO and further building on the rock-solid commitment we have to clinical excellence and value creation here at Aveanna,” Shaner said in a statement. ​“Aveanna will continue with its mission, making a positive impact in the lives of the patients and families that we serve every day.” Read the full article here.

St. Croix and Enhabit Leaders Comment on Hospice’s ​“New Normal”

Leaders from St. Croix Hospice and Enhabit Home Health and Hospice provided their industry predictions for 2023 in an article for Hospice News. Barbara Jacobsmeyer, Enhabit CEO, expects to see staffing and ADC volumes recover, as well as increasing regulatory effects. Stephen Phenneger, St. Croix President and CFO predicts that M&A activity be prevalent, especially as payors continue to look for opportunities to provide hospice and palliative care to consumers. Read the rest of the article here.

Enhabit Tackles Payor Diversification

Payor diversification is becoming increasingly important for home health and hospice giant, Enhabit Home Health and Hospice. In 2022, the company completed agreements with nine Medicare Advantage and commercial plans to supplement its traditional Medicare business. While national scale is an advantage Enhabit has when dealing with large payors, negotiating rates continues to be a challenge. ​“If we are successful in negotiating a better contract or even negotiating a first-time contract with a national payer, that could make the home care unit costs go up [for them]. So it’s difficult for them to do that, even if they know that that could ultimately drive down other costs.” Find out how Enhabit is tackling this challenge in the full article here.

Lifespark Leader Joins Telehealth Discussion

Chief Population Health Officer at Lifespark, Matt Nyquist shared his company’s attitude towards telehealth in a recent Home Health Care News Article. ​“We’re trying to stay out of the consumer decision around where they want to receive health care and how they want to receive health care, and make sure we provide services in the best way possible, regardless of where they live,” Nyquist said.” Read the rest of the article here.

LHC Group Shares Strategies for Improving Payor Relationships

Gwen Guillotte, Chief Revenue Officer at the LHC Group Inc. shared insights on setting up successful value based care arrangements with payors at the Aging Media Network’s Continuum Conference. ​“The starting point has to be that we’re at least making money on the base payment. The incentive has to be meaningful to the extent that the incentives can align with things that we’re already doing, because it allows us to scale our processes and our systems to accommodate that. Those are some of the factors that come into play: scale, meaningful financial risk/​reward and an acknowledgment of when processes have to change, what it takes to get that accomplished.” The process can be hard and painful, but has the potential to improve the experience for everyone involved from payors and providers to patients. Read the full article here.

Addus Talks MFP

Darby Anderson, Chief Strategy Officer at Addus HomeCare Corporation discussed the history, challenges and potential future of the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program. MFP has been successful at its intended goal of transitioning seniors with disabilities back into homes in the community instead of facility living. ​“The best thing for Congress would just be to make the program permanent,” Caldwell said. ​“I think Congress knows that’s what needs to happen, now it’s just about coming up with the money and getting it through.” Read the rest of the article here.

Bayada Home Health Care Addresses Margin Erosion

Home Health Care News examined the rising pay rates for Home Health during 2022. Pay rates increased rapidly due to high demand, inflation and margin erosion, leading companies like Bayada Home Health Care to examine their rates quarterly. Matt Kroll, President of Assistive Care Services with Bayada shared the motivation behind this approach. ​“That way, we could try to keep up with what was a faster-moving labor environment where our caregivers were just demanding a higher and higher rate. Which, from our perspective, we’re really supportive of. But from a business operational perspective, it certainly changed the way we were trying to manage the speed with which things were increasing.” Bill rates for Bayada have increased 23% since 2019. ​“Every time I say I don’t think pay rates can go higher, they do. We’re expecting rates to flatten out a bit. From the early 2000s until about 2015, bill rates and pay rates were generally pretty flat and I think we’ve been in a catch-up period that’s been accelerated the past couple of years. I think we’ll probably see some amount of leveling off. I think the question is, ​‘At what point next year?” Read the full article here.