Louisiana-based Amedisys, Inc., a home health and personal care organization, has become the third largest provider of hospice care in the United States with the acquisition of Compassionate Care Hospice. Amedisys holds 100 percent ownership of the hospice organization, obtained for fixed price of $340 million.
With this acquisition Amedisys serves 11,000 patients in 33 states, up from 7,200 patients in 22 states prior to acquiring Compassionate Care. The hospice entity will be branded as Compassionate Care Hospice, an Amedysis company.
Integrating People and Systems
Regarner Thompson, senior vice president for Amedisys south region, told Hospice News that the company’s initial priorities related to the acquisition pertain to people and systems integration. Teams at the two companies are “excited to bring together two programs with very high standards and pursue integration opportunities for technology and marketing capabilities,” she said. Thompson is a nurse practitioner with a background in oncology. She oversees quality and regulatory compliance for Amedisys south region, which includes 18 states.
According to Thompson, Amedisys’ first priority is connecting with and welcoming Compassionate Care employees to “the Amedisys family,” as well as addressing any questions or concerns related to this transition. Corporate leaders quickly scheduled conference calls and in-person visits with Compassionate Care locations. “As soon as we make sure that are people are good, we will move on to process and technology,” Thompson explained. Process and technology integration includes implementation of Home Care Homebase software for scheduling, documentation, and other key functions. In addition, staff who had previously been traveling with laptops will soon be working with tablets and other more portable technologies. Amedisys also intends to replace some paper-based processes with electronic systems.
Plans for continued growth
Thompson confirmed that Amedysis is continuing to seek opportunities for inorganic growth. She cited the growing demand for end-of-life care and a changing regulatory landscape as factors driving mergers and acquisitions in the hospice industry. “We know that a lot of small hospice providers have a need to increase their scale. Many providers will also need to implement technology such as electronic medical records, which some are unable to do.”
Thompson said that when considering acquisitions, Amedisys looks for companies that can integrate smoothly into their current systems and corporate culture, as well as increasing the company’s footprint. For example, the Compassionate Care purchase gives the company a foothold in Florida, where they provided home health services but had yet to penetrate the hospice market.
Expansion of Amedisys’ hospice care offerings supports the company’s vision of allowing seniors to “age in place,” in which a patient can receive a seamless suite of health care services, including home health, personal care, and end-of-life care from a single provider. “This lends itself to a better end-of-life experience,” Thompson said.