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HCHB Customers in the News: September 2022

HCHB News Banner - September 2022

In September, HCHB customers banded together to share industry insight with CMS and discussed ways to cut costs, deal with workforce changes and negotiate with payors. Take a look at the month’s highlights.

HCHB Customers and HCHB Comment Letter Cited in HHCN+ Article

Home Health Care News published an article discussing the recent trends in increased pay in the home health industry. HCHB customers LHC Group and Amedisys were both cited as companies that significantly increased pay for their workforce to combat higher wages in other healthcare sectors and inflation. However, workforce shortages have continued to restrict access to home health care services as shown in HCHB’s comment letter to CMS. If the rate cuts in the 2023 home health rule are finalized, it is likely that workforce shortages will become even greater for home health companies, further restricting access. Read the full article here.

HCHB Customers Weigh in on Hospice Evaluations

Hospice News interviewed multiple Homecare Homebase customers for an article discussing the hospice M&A trends and evaluations. Addus and Enhabit both expressed that they are seeing some compression in evaluations for deals. However, hospice organizations are still in demand because the industry is considered recession-proof. United States’ aging population also ensures that demand for hospice will continue to remain strong in the years to come. Read the rest of the article here.

HCHB Customers Discuss Ways to Cut Costs

In light of the proposed rule, industry leaders have been discussing what can be done to tighten belts and gain efficiencies. At the Home Health Care News FUTURE Conference, HCHB customers shared some of the strategies they are exploring including, centralizing office tasks including scheduling, intake, and billing as well as exploring ways to reduce call volumes. Read the rest of the article here.

Enhabit, VNS Health and Amedisys Share Insights into Workforce Changes

COVID-19 led to significant to organizations’ approaches to workforce management. Retention and recruitment are now top of mind for agencies across the home health and hospice industries. Listening to staff, allowing for more flexible schedules, approving PTO requests and predicting burnout are some of the strategies discussed during HHCN’s FUTURE Conference. Read the full article here.

Enhabit Reveals New Approaches to HR

Barb Jacobsmeyer, Enhabit CEO spoke about the significant changes the company has made in its human resources approach during the Wells Fargo Healthcare Conference. Jacobsmeyer started by appointing Tanya Marion as chief human resource officer, then invested $8.5 million in mileage reimbursement to accommodate rising gas prices. Next the team tackled health care benefits improvement. Enhabit is the leading or second biggest home health provider (by market share) in 11 of the 34 states the company serves. Enhabit has also started a new staffing model to improve patient caseload management and workforce costs. The company also has a strong track record for lowering hospital readmissions. Read the rest of the article here.

Kindred Rebranding Completed

Humana announced the completion of project rebranding Kindred to CenterWell Home Health. The rebrand unites the home health agencies with Humana’s senior primary care and pharmacy services. The rebrand was a three-phase rollout that started with a small number of branches before expanding to the rest of the company. Kindred’s hospice locations have been sold to CDR and repackaged under the Gentiva brand. Read the rest of the article here.

President of CenterWell Home Health Urges Cooperation with MA Payors

Susan Benoit, president of CenterWell Home Health took the stage at Home Health Care News’ FUTURE conference to discuss the future of the industry. She urged providers to spend time with Medicare Advantage payors now to start working on a solution that meets the needs of both sides to enable value-based care. ​“We’re moving with CMS to value-based purchasing in 2025, but we’re also moving to that model as more Medicare beneficiaries are choosing Medicare Advantage plans versus traditional Medicare.” Read the full article here.

Amedisys’ Contessa Works with Mount Sinai to Grow Palliative Care Program

Mount Sinai sat down with Home Health Care News to talk tips on scaling palliative care programs. The healthcare system entered a joint venture partnership with Amedisys’ subsidiary, Contessa in 2017 and leveraged the partnership to start expanding palliative care services. Takeaways offered by the article include focusing on negotiating with payors and ensuring staffing levels when building out a palliative care program. Read the full article here.

Amedisys Appoints New Chief People Officer

Adam Holton has been appointed to the role of chief people officer for Amedisys Inc. Holton has 20 years of experience working in human resources leadership roles for companies including: General Electric, USAA, Bank One and Numotion. Chris Gerard, CEO of Amedisys spoke about Holton’s expertise ​“In an increasingly competitive talent market, the attraction and retention of high performing diverse talent is key, and Adam’s depth of expertise will help us achieve this strategy so we can continue to deliver the highest quality of care to our patients and their families.” Read the rest of the article here.

Trinity Health Purchases MercyOne

Faith-based nonprofit Trinity Health announced completion their MercyOne acquisition. Trinity Health agreed to purchase MercyOne from CommonSpirit Health. 26,000 clinicians across 25 states are employed by Trinity Health. The company has aggressive acquisition plans for the private-duty space. MercyOne’s hospice, infusion and home care locations were included in the deal. Read the full article here.

Chris Gerard Discusses Automation Opportunities

CEO of Amedisys, Chris Gerard took the stage at the FUTURE Conference to talk about opportunities the company is exploring to get the most out of technology automation. The three areas he dove into the most were scheduling, intake and pre-billing. Read the rest of the article here.

Lifespark Seeks Funding as Part of Planned National Expansion

Lifespark is a senior care provider focused on holistic care. The organization is currently centered in the Minnesota but is seeking $50 million in funding to expand its efforts nationwide. Lifespark leverages risk-based contracts and plans to expand those efforts as well. In addition to seeking funding, Lifespark has hired four advisors to help ensure the team as the expertise needed to navigate these changes. Read the full articles here and here.

Humana Discusses Plans to Grow Home Health Business

Andy Agwunobi president of Humana’s home solutions business spoke about the plans the company has to grow its home health division. CenterWell’s home health has grown its same store admissions by 5% this year. Now M&A opportunities may be on the agenda. ​“We will continue to actively monitor the market for accretive acquisition and joint venture opportunities, and we expect them to become increasingly available in the near- to mid-term.” Work with Medicare Advantage plans are also expected to be an important part of its growth strategy. Read the rest of the article here.

Agape Care Group Acquires GHC Hospice

Agape Care Group, a hospice provider with headquarters in South Carolina, announced the acquisition of GHC Hospice. GHC provides services to South Carolina and Georgia, two states that Agape Care is targeting for expansion. Agape Care Group is made up of over 1,400 employees and provides care for nearly 3,600 patients in the Southeast. The company has been active in the M&A space over the past couple of years announcing five deals. Read the full article here.

Agape Care Brings in New M&A VP

Agape Care announced the appointment of Alex Ferguson to the role of senior vice president of mergers and acquisitions. Ferguson’s new role will include assessing and prioritizing M&A opportunities for the company. ​“I am thrilled to be joining Agape Care during this time of growth and expansion,” said Ferguson in an announcement. ​“There is tremendous opportunity in the hospice and palliative care landscape to add great organizations to the Agape Care portfolio, merging resources to enhance providers and reach more patients.” Read the rest of the article here.

Trustbridge Announces New Hospice CMO

Dr. Katherine Brazzale has been appointed as the chief medical officer of hospice services at Florida-based Trustbridge. Brazzale has been with the company since 2008. Her career path has taken her from a fellowship participant to medical director and director of pediatrics before being named CMO. ​“I look forward to engaging our talented medical staff to lead the industry in providing end-of-life care.” Read the full article here.

Our Hospice of South Central Indiana Names New Medical Director

Our Hospice of South Central Indiana named Dr. Leigh Anderson medical director overseeing hospice clinicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, home health aides social workers, chaplains and volunteers. As medical director, Anderson will also be in charge of managing referral relationships. ​“Hospice and palliative care is my passion, and I’m excited to be leading the medical care at Our Hospice as we strive to, ​‘make every moment count.” Read the rest of the article here.

Trinity Health at Home Speaks About Aide Shortage

Ruth Martynowicz, chief operating officer for Trinity Health at Home spoke to the Washington Post about the shortage of Home Health Aides. The company has been forced to turn away 250 home-care requests per week because of the workforce shortage. Many citizens who were planning to stay at home are finding their options limited because they don’t have anyone to help them deal with activities of daily living that are becoming increasingly difficult. Read the full article here.

Compassus Shares Hospital-at-Home Experiences

Jordan Holland, VP of value-based contracting at Compassus sat down with Home Health Care News to talk about the company’s hospital-at-home work. Compassus is a home-based care company based in Tennessee that offers home health, infusion therapy, palliative and hospice services across 30 states. ​“These types of models really help us lean into those needs for our nursing staff,” Jordan Holland, the VP of value-based contracting at Compassus, also said on the webinar.​“We’re able to attract and engage nurses – to keep them from potentially leaving the industry – through new innovative models like this.” Read the rest of the article here.

AccentCare Offers New Career Advancement Opportunities

AccentCare announced its new partnership with two universities to provide career advancement opportunities for employees. Employees attending Chamberlain University or Walden University will have access to tuition savings, waived application fees and additional options for starting classes. The program is intended to assist employees who are interested in advancing their careers through education. Read the full article here.

LHC Signs Joint Venture with University of Maryland Medical System

University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) and LHC Group are working together to increase home health care access to parts of Maryland. LHC Group Chairman and CEO Keith Myers commented on the partnership. ​“With our combined experience and infrastructure, we will be able to offer more families and patients the high-quality, efficient and effective in-home health care they deserve.” LHC Group serves patients across 37 states and the District of Columbia. This agreement is designed to provide care to 20 counties in Maryland and LHC Group will be responsible for the management of the program. Read the rest of the article here.

Healing Hands Healthcare CEO Shares Industry Perspectives

Summer Napier the CEO of Healing Hands Healthcare spoke with Home Health Care News about her perspectives on regulatory changes and home health innovation. Napier is a former hospital nurse who opened Healing Hands Healthcare in 2016. Since opening, the company also launched hospital-at-home and home-based oncology care programs. The leadership focus of the company is investing in clinicians to create better outcomes. ​“We do have really good people, and we try to make sure that they are ​“holistically whole.” That is different. You know, a lot of corporations, it’s about productivity. ​“What can you do for me? You’re here to work.” We see it differently.” The Healing Hands team also takes industry advocacy seriously. They submitted a comment letter to CMS after the 2023 proposed rule. Napier stated that the proposed rule puts industry innovation at risk and that referral conversion rates could go down further. Read the rest of the article here.