[UPDATED]Charter Health Group Acquires Serene Hospice Care, Physmed

Private-equity backed hospice and home health provider Charter Heath Group has acquired Serene Care Hospice in Omaha, Neb., for an undisclosed sum. The company also purchased Omaha-based home health company Physmed from the same owner.

Charter is a portfolio company of Pharos Capital Group, based in Dallas and Nashville. Charter providers a range of senior care services includes hospice, home health complex care management and palliative care. They care for more than 4,000 patients annually in six states.

“Physmed and Serene Care have many years of success providing high quality hospice and home health care services to patients and their families in the Omaha market,” Carol Lynn, vice president of communications for Charter, told Hospice News. “This success is largely attributed to the loyalty, dedication and commitment of the staff. With this partnership, Charter is taking an initial step toward building a presence in the Midwest.”


Jake Panowicz, former owner and CEO of both Physmed and Serene Hospice will become Charter’s vice president of home health. He has worked in the home care and hospice industries for 14 years. In this new role, he will oversee nationwide operations, growth and clinical quality initiatives for the company’s home health divisions.

Charter was focused on acquisitions growth during 2020 and will be continuing those activities during the current year.

Last October the company purchased Vitality Home Healthcare in Denver and Salt Lake City-based Heartwood Home Health & Hospice. In March 2020, Charter acquired St. Luke’s Home Hospice in Las Vegas and Phoenix-based Arizona Select Hospice. Both of those providers were part of the VeraCare Hospice system. Financial terms for each of these transactions were undisclosed.


Private equity investment in the hospice space is only heating up after several years of growning interest. Among the various segments of the health care industry, hospice continues to be the most active, even as valuations soar and multiples continue to hit record highs. About 51 deals took place in Q4 among those industries, according to a quarterly report by M&A advisory firm Mertz Taggart.

Recent data from Provident Healthcare Partners indicated that private equity firms remain bullish on hospice and home health acquisitions. Major 2020 PE-backed hospice transactions included the sale of St. Croix Hospice, Care Hospice and Queen City Hospice (a $192 million deal), and rumors are circulating that large regional player Bristol Hospice will soon be on the market.

Hospice utilization in Serene Hospice’s home state of Nebraska is in line with the 2018 national average of slightly more than 50%. Utilization in the state reached 51% among Medicare decedents in 2018, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). Utah leads the national in utilization at 60.4%, NHPCO reports.

“Omaha was an important market for Charter, given our existing relationships with health plans serving members in the area, to provide care for complex patient populations who would benefit from a full continuum of post-acute care services,” said Lynn.

Charters plans to expand the service lines of the two acquired companies to create a wider continuum of care that will engage patients further upstream in the course of their illnesses.

“We are pleased to add Physmed and Serene Care to our portfolio,” Steve J. Larkin, Charter’s CEO, said. “We look forward to adding them to our growing portfolio of post-acute care companies and helping them expand their service offerings to become full spectrum care providers, supporting patients with complex care needs and their providers in the communities where they work and live.”

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