Public district hospital boards in Washington state have opted not to sell Hospice of the Northwest to a private-equity backed provider. Hospice of the Northwest is a joint venture between Public Hospital District No. 1, Skagit Regional Health, Public Hospital District No. 304, and United General District 304 health care systems.
The sale has been under consideration for several months, but met resistance when the local community got wind of the potential transaction. Local newspapers featured editorials and multiple letters from the public expressing doubt and opposition to the deal. Local media reports identified the possible purchaser as a Bristol Hospice, a portfolio company of the PE firm Webster Equity Partners.
“As an elected official of United General District 304, the commissioners felt it was our responsibility to complete a due diligence process of an unsolicited offer to sell Hospice of the Northwest,” said Jeri Kaufman, president of the Public Hospital District 304 Board of Commissioners. “After a thorough review and evaluation process, the District 304 Commissioners do not feel this offer meets our standards to continue improving the quality of care and expand the great services already offered by Hospice of the Northwest.”
Much of the community opposition centered around concern that an owner with for-profit status would interfere with philanthropic-driven programs at the nonprofit Hospice of the Northwest, including public education programs and advance care planning services. Many of these programs are funded via the hospice’s affiliated nonprofit foundation, which would not have been included in the sale. The hospice’s 85 employees care for about 170 seriously ill patients in the communities in and around Skagit County in Washington state.
Bristol Hospice has been active in the hospice M&A space during 2020. In September Bristol expanded into Arizona and Nevada with the purchase of Remita Health.
The company in August purchased the hospice components of California-based Visiting Nurse Association of the Inland Counties (VNA). A second company, HealthSure Management Services, acquired VNA’s home health assets. Financial terms were confidential.
Earlier in the year Bristol acquired the Utah and California locations of Sojourn Hospice & Palliative Care, a Healthy Living Network company, for an undisclosed amount.
Bristol did not comment to Hospice News on the Hospice of the Northwest prospect.