South Carolina-based Agape Care Group has tapped Carry vandenMaagdenberg to become the company’s first chief technology and innovation officer. In this role, she will be charged with ensuring that all systems, resources and talent are aligned with Agape’s mission and culture, as well as overseeing the company’s technology, human resources, innovation, marketing and customer relations departments.
A 25-year veteran of the hospice industry, vandenMaagdenberg will also lead Agape’s Hands of Hope pediatric program. She joined the company in a leadership role in 2019. Previously, she was chief operating officer at Great Lakes Caring. She came to that organization as a physical therapist and went on to hold several management and leadership positions during her 22-year tenure.
“[Creating the chief technology and innovation officer position] is really indicative of our growth to date and our expected growth in the coming years,” Agape CEO Troy Yarborough told Hospice News. “We’ve reached a level of development where we can devote a formal resource for operations, while turbocharging other areas of the business that really go in parallel to what we see inside of the market.”
Among the technology initiatives that vandenMaagdenberg will pursue is optimization of the company’s electronic medical records systems to provide real-time visibility into patients’ conditions. Agape is also implementing predictive analytics platforms to anticipate patient needs and position staff and resources accordingly, according to Yarborough.
This appointment of vandenMaagdenberg comes at a time when Agape is on the verge of multi-state expansion. The company’s footprint extends through every county in its home state. Agape moved into Georgia in March with a de novo location. The company plans to continue its growth primarily through acquisitions, targeting organizations in the southeastern United States.
The company has also appointed Matt Winer, formerly of LHC Group (NASDAQ: LHCG), as its chief operations officer.
Agape is a portfolio company of the Chicago-based private equity firm The Vistria Group. The company’s more than 900 employees care for 1,500 patients annually in South Carolina and now Georgia, providing hospice and palliative care. The new location is situated in the city of Augusta and will serve as the foundation for a soon-to-grow network in Georgia.
The Vistria Group-backed Hospice Care of South Carolina acquired Agape Hospice in early 2020 for an undisclosed amount. The combined organization then reorganized under the Agape Care Group brand.
Part of the impetus for leaning into technology investments is the industry’s movement towards value-based care payment models, such as Medicare Advantage the Medicare Care Choices Model, Primary Care First and direct contracting. This would include any future value-based models from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation that could impact hospices.
“There’s an overwhelming emphasis across the space on bending the cost curve and providing quality outcomes at the lowest possible costs in a home setting,” Yarborough said. “Leveraging emerging technologies will help our delivery model, improve what our patients are experiencing at the bedside and keep them from unnecessary hospitalizations or other costly health care experiences.”