Contessa Launches JV with Memorial Hermann Health System

Amedisys (NASDAQ: AMED) subsidiary Contessa Health has unveiled a new joint venture partnership with Texas-based Memorial Hermann Health System. This marks another milestone in Contessa’s strategy to build pathways for greater integration of home-based care and palliative services.

The partnership is intended to expand the delivery of palliative and home-based medical care in the state, driven largely on value-based initiatives, according to Contessa.

“A JV partnership with Memorial Hermann will allow us to positively impact a large number of lives across the state of Texas by improving access to high-quality, home-based care,” a Contessa spokesperson told Hospice News in an email. “The emphasis on utilizing value-based initiatives with managed care organizations in a home-based program was a key piece in finalizing [this] business plan. We are thrilled about bringing these innovative care models to Southeast Texas with such a well-known and well-respected health system.”


Memorial Hermann Health System owns and operates 14 hospitals and has joint ventures with three other hospital facilities, as well as an accountable care organization (ACO). Its staff of 29,000 employees and 6,100 affiliated physicians provide care across 270 sites in Southeast Texas.

Tennessee-based Contessa’s care model made it an attractive partner to Memorial Hermann Health System.

In addition to palliative care, Contessa provides hospital-at-home and skilled nursing-at-home services. Home health and hospice provider Amedisys acquired the company last June for $250 million. The deal has opened doors to new mergers and acquisitions, as well joint venture opportunities for Amedisys.


Memorial Hermann’s drive to bolster the services it offers outside of their walls greased the wheels for this collaboration.

This move advances Contessa’s joint venture and partnership strategy that is becoming a centerpiece of its growth plans.

The company in January began partnering with New York’s Mount Sinai Health System to offer home-based palliative care. Thus far, the company reports strong patient engagement, Contessa COO Aaron Stein told Hospice News.

Contessa also recently partnered with another Texas-based health system, Baylor Scott & White Health, to develop a similar model for continuous care in the home, also including palliative care components.

Demographics are pushing up the cost and need for serious illness and end-of-life care and related services in the Lone Star State. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that seniors will comprise more than 20% of the state’s population by 2030, up 25% from 2012.

Memorial-Hermann’s partnership with Contessa allows the health system to offer home-based palliative care, acute hospital care, post-hospitalization skilled nursing care and rehabilitation services. It also frees up hospital beds for patients whose needs cannot be addressed in the home.

“These care models allow patients to recover in their homes while receiving specialized care from Memorial Hermann physicians and caregivers,” a health system spokesperson told Hospice News in an email. “This partnership expands the traditional service line care continuum [and] allows eligible patients to have additional access to care in their home. This is a focus for our health system as we continue to build and find the right care models at the right time and place for our patients.”

The new partnership will “transform” the health system’s service lines, Memorial Hermann President and CEO Dr. David Callendar said in an announcement.

Contessa’s risk-based payment and care model has led to a 44% reduction in hospital readmission rates among its patients — as well as a 35% drop in length of hospital stay — while achieving a patient satisfaction rate upwards of 90%, according to the company.

Contessa is using JV partnerships to cast a wider net across the care continuum.

These “comprehensive partnerships” offer pathways to success for greater incorporation of home-based care and palliative services, as well as improved quality and experiences for high-acuity patients, according to a Contessa spokesperson.

“We continue to seek partners that share our belief in having this integrated approach to home-based care,” Contessa told Hospice News. “As we see this space rapidly evolving, we continue to look for partners that fit into this growth strategy.”

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