A joint venture between LHC Group (NASDAQ: LHCG) and CHRISTUS Health has acquired CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospice in San Marcos, Texas, for an undisclosed sum. Santa Rosa will rebrand as CHRISTUS Hospice — Central Texas following the closing of the transaction, expected Nov. 1.
Joint ventures form the cornerstone of LHC Group’s hospice mergers and acquisitions strategy, with an emphasis on co-locating hospices in markets where the company’s home health agencies are already operating. The company operates joint ventures with nearly 400 hospitals nationwide.
“This is a continuation of and testament to the strength and success of the growing partnership we have with CHRISTUS Health. The partnership expansion enables LHC Group to color in some of the markets and service areas north of San Antonio where we do not currently offer hospice services,” an LHC Group spokesperson told Hospice News.
After the transaction closes the LHC Group-CHRISTUS joint venture will include 22 home health, hospice, palliative care, community-based, and long-term acute care locations across three states.
The companies formed the joint venture in 2017, sharing ownership and governance of each location across all of the JV’s service lines. Equal representation from both companies comprise the joint venture’s board.
“CHRISTUS Health is fortunate to have many wonderful partners like LHC Group which, like CHRISTUS, is committed to care of the highest quality,” said Paul Generale, CHRISTUS Health’s executive vice president and chief strategy and network officer. “Our experience working with LHC in other communities has proven that they work hard to invest and grow services that are vital to the community, like home care and hospice. The scope of LHC’s experience in the post-acute space will allow us to take advantage of their proficiencies and will be a huge win for everyone we serve.”
Demographic tailwinds have been fueling a thriving hospice market in Texas. The Lone Star State has the third largest elderly population in the nation, according to the Texas Demographic Center, a state institution. The number of Texans 65 or older grew by 49.5% between 2000 and 2014. Only California experienced a higher rate of increase among their senior population.
Texas ranks 15th among the states in hospice utilization, with 52.8% of Medicare decedents electing hospice in 2017, according to the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization. The national average is slightly more than 50%.
“We are proud to join our partners at CHRISTUS Health in expanding hospice services for San Marcos and the surrounding region,” said Keith G. Myers, LHC Group’s chairman and CEO. “This is a great opportunity to bring compassionate, quality care to more patients and their loved ones.”