San Diego-based Mission Healthcare has opened a de novo in Orange County, Calif., the company’s fourteenth location. Mission’s footprint has been concentrated in the southern portion of its home state but is gradually moving north, starting with the recent acquisition of Alliance Home Health & Hospice for an undisclosed amount.
Mission is a portfolio company of Chicago-based private equity firm The Vistria Group. Italready has a home health presence in Orange County and is now adding hospice. The provider is currently making a big push into palliative care and will be bringing those services to each of its markets throughout 2021, including Orange County. The palliative care opportunity, which Mission piloted in its Ventura, Calif., operations, is attracting the interest of referral partners.
“One of the reason we pushed to do a de novo location in Orange County was one of the large teaching health systems there was highly intrigued by what we were doing in Ventura, with hospice, home health and palliative care and felt like we could be a really good partner,” Mission Healthcare CEO Paul VerHoeve told Hospice News. “This really validated our position on what we were doing and how we were doing it.”
Though Mission has several acquisitions in its pipeline, de novos have been the company’s primary driver for expansion. Opening new locations in markets that are contiguous to their current operations has been a “recipe for success” for Mission, according to VerHoeve. The company is in the beginning stages of a multi-state expansion in the Western United States.
Demographic tailwinds are strong in Orange County. In 2016, 13.5% of the county’s population was 65 and older. This population is projected to nearly double by 2040, when almost 1 in 4 residents will be 65 or older.
Hospice utilization in California reached 46.1% in 2018, compared to a national average of slightly more than 50%. Utah led the nation that year in utilization at 60.4%.
Some of Mission’s growth plans slated for last year were slowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the company is accelerating that trajectory as it adapts to changing conditions.
“The goal is for Mission to have a large presence in four or five Western states over the next handful of years,” VerHoeve said. “We believe we understand the way that the West Coast operates, and we really feel like we’ve got a strong understanding of the culture of home health and hospice and what it takes to be successful in those states.”