North Carolina-based Burke Hospice & Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care have completed a merger. The combined company is rebranding under the name Amorem.
Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care CEO Cathy Swanson will lead the new organization, a nonprofit. She has been at the helm of Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care CEO for 31 years.
“The vision for the collaborative partnership is to integrate two like-minded community-owned hospice and palliative medicine providers in order to have a greater impact on serious illness and end-of-life care in the communities served,” Swanson said.
The integration process is underway, which the provider expects to complete within the next 12 to 18 months, according to Public Relations and Marketing Specialist Lisa Caviness. The goal is to make the transition seamless for patients and families, with referral and admissions processes remaining unchanged for the time being.
The two organizations operate in adjacent counties, with some overlap in their footprints. Even prior to the merger, their relationship was more collaborative than competitive, Caviness told Hospice News. The two hospices coordinated with each other and referral partners to ensure that patients receive care from the provider that was closest to their homes to ensure the fastest possible response times.
“With the changing health care environment, it just became evident that we could do more together than separately,” Caviness said. “[The merged entity] would provide more service to our community and make a stronger resource for our patients and families. That’s really what started the conversation.”
Among those changes in the health care environment are emerging value-based payment models as well as the need to compete with a rising number of for-profit providers, according to Caviness.
The COVID-19 pandemic did not influence the decision to join forces, she said, as discussions of the merger began prior to the outbreak.
Hospice utilization in North Carolina reached 49.2% in 2018, according to the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization. This is just shy of that year’s national average of 50.3%
“We have more resources to pull from [post-merger], and we have a larger team working together, Caviness told Hospice News. “We are well into the integration, and we’re really excited about what the future holds.”