St. Croix Hospice Opens Second Iowa De Novo in Two Months

St. Croix Hospice, a portfolio company of the Chicago-based private equity firm Vistria Group, has opened a de novo location in Iowa, continuing the company’s expansion across the Midwest.

The new location will care for patients in nine Iowa counties. St. Croix serves a total of 79 counties in that state, with additional locations throughout Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

St. Croix is headquartered in Minnesota. 

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“New research reaffirms that hospice is most beneficial when started early-on in disease progression,” says Heidi Comley, St. Croix’s regional director of clinical operations in western Iowa. “Hospice remains an essential and needed service for individuals with advanced illnesses — including those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.”

Iowa ranks fifth in the nation for hospice utilization; 56.6% of Medicare decedents elected hospice in 2018, compared to a national average of about 50%, according to the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization. Utah has the highest rate of utilization at 59.4%.

Demographic tail winds are strong in Iowa, where the estimated number of people age 65 and older accounted for 17.1% of the total population in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2018 Iowa ranked 17th nationwide in the percentage of population age 65 and older. According to projections by Woods & Poole Economics Inc., by 2050 the proportion of seniors will reach 20.3% of the total population.

St. Croix has launched seven de novos in Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota during the past 12 months, including a location in Humboldt, Iowa as recently as early May.

In March, the company entered the Missouri market via the purchase of Serenity Care Hospice in Harrison, Mo., for an undisclosed amount. Serenity Care Hospice serves about 100 patients daily in five Missouri counties.

In August of last year, the company also acquired Brookfield, Wis.-based Hometown Hospice & Homecare for an undisclosed sum. Hometown consists of three hospice and home health operations in eastern Wisconsin.

The new Iowa location is equipped to provide expanded telehealth services that have become necessary during the COVID-19 emergency.

“We are using telehealth for some patient care, and also to connect our residential facility patients and their loved ones through videoconferencing,” Comley said. “Additionally, we are offering telehealth devices to our facility partners who do not have one.”

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