The Pennant Group Inc. (NASDAQ: PNTG) has acquired Guardian Hospice and Guardian Hospice of Oklahoma for an undisclosed amount.
Guardian Hospice of Oklahoma received Medicare certification in 2015 and has since grown its presence in the state and across Texas. Guardian provides hospice care in 10 counties in southern Oklahoma and across six counties in northern Texas, adding to Pennant’s existing presence in those two states.
Part of what drew Pennant’s interest in Guardian is an opportunity to address unmet needs among rural populations in these regions, according to CEO Brent Guerisoli. The company’s strategic growth plans have included ways to expand the reach of its trifecta of home health, hospice and senior living service lines.
“We are very excited to expand the reach of our hospice operations in the states of Texas and Oklahoma,” Guerisoli said in a statement. “Our strategy of local leaders empowered to meet the needs of local communities has resonated deeply in rural communities across our platform, and we look forward to bringing our innovative operating model and high-quality resources to enhance the services offered in these communities.”
Idaho-headquartered The Pennant Group is a holding company of independent operating subsidiaries that provide home health, hospice and senior living services. The company operates 102 hospice and home health locations and 51 senior living communities in 13 states, including Texas and Oklahoma.
About 143,284 Medicare decedents utilized hospice in Texas in 2021, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Hospice utilization was lower in Oklahoma that year, with 25,859 decedents enrolled in the benefit, CMS reported.
The higher utilization in Texas compared to Oklahoma is largely due to the size of each state’s population. Texas is home to 10 times the number of residents as Oklahoma, at nearly 29 million individuals versus 3.9 million, respectively, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Demographic tailwinds are driving up demand for hospice in both states. Seniors 65 and older represent 12.6% of Texas’ overall population and 15.7% of Oklahoma’s, the U.S. Census Bureau reported
“Guardian has a long standing and deep connection in the communities it serves, and we are honored to carry on this legacy of quality care,” John Gochnour, president and COO of Pennant, said in the statement. “We are grateful for the trust and welcome that has been extended to us by the wonderful Guardian team of skilled clinicians and compassionate caregivers.”
The Guardian acquisition marks the latest deal in Pennant’s strategic goals. Last month the company acquired Arizona-based Valor HospiceCare for an undisclosed amount.
This followed Pennant’s purchase in June of Bluebird Home Health, Bluebird Hospice and Bluebird Home Care. That transaction followed its acquisition of Benefit Home Healthcare and Benefit By Your Side, a Colorado-based company that offers home health care, private duty and community health services. Financial terms for these transactions were undisclosed.
The company has its acquisition quiver set on more opportunities in home health, hospice and senior living services, according to Guerisoli. He reaffirmed previous statements that the company would continue to “pursue opportunities to acquire high-quality” assets across the United States in the recent statement.
Further acquisitions are likely, especially on the home health and hospice side, he previously indicated.
“We strategically made a decision to invest in a number of additional market leaders and build those teams so that we can grow. And we can grow strategically from an acquisition and expansion standpoint,” Guerisoli said in a Q2 earnings call.