Louisiana-based CommCare Corporation recently acquired Notre Dame Hospice and Notre Dame Home Health for an undisclosed sum.
The Notre Dame Health System was affialated with the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans. The archdiocese in August announced an agreement to exit from all affiliated senior care businesses, including the health system.
CommCare’s purchase of Notre Dame’s home health and hospice operations marks the first transaction of this divestiture Its nursing home services are next in line as part of a separate deal set to close in 2023.
“There’s a lot of moving parts and we’re still working on getting there, but I’m confident it will move forward,” CommCare Executive Director Jim Tucker said in local news. “It’s a good thing and it will happen.”
Patients could see an improved level of care following the acquisition with CommCare’s ability to invest in service and facility updates and operate “more efficiently,” according to Tucker.
Established in 1994, CommCare offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation services throughout Louisiana. The nonprofit provider operates 13 community care centers and one retirement facility in the state.
The home health and hospice acquisition extends CommCare’s reach across Louisiana and in parts of Mississippi where Notre Dame provides services. The Notre Dame Health System launched services in 1977, and in the past two years provided roughly 131,000 days of hospice care to more than 1,800 patients.
Acquiring the home health business opens new doors for CommCare, according to Tucker.
“Up until last year we had a hospice in central Louisiana that we sold, so we’re happy to be getting back into the hospice business,” Tucker said. “For us, home health is a new business that we believe has great future potential.”
Notre Dame Health System operates three nursing home locations and one senior community facility that will be included in the forthcoming purchase by CommCare.
All told, the deal will move more than 800 patient beds and housing units across the New Orleans area and away from the local church, according to local news.
The transactions come after the Archdiocese of New Orleans filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 2020 and announced shortly after that it would be selling off a portion of its 2,500 low-income senior living rental spaces, according to local news. The nonprofit has since sold an office location and adjacent parking lot in two transactions that completed in November and totaled nearly $10 million.
Hospice have faced increasing operational and financial headwinds during the pandemic that have strained their ability to remain afloat. Some have temporarily halted their programs while others have completely shut down, citing staffing shortages amid increased demand for end-of-life care.
Demographics are a driving force behind rising demand for aging and serious illness care in the Bayou State. Seniors are projected to represent nearly a quarter (24.8%) of Louisiana’s overall population by 2030, a climb from 16.5% currently, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Hospice utilization among Medicare decedents in Louisiana hovered at 50% in 2008, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). This fell in line with the national average of 50.3% that year.