Two of the nation’s largest hospice and home-based care industry organizations are merging and have announced a combined board that will guide the transition.
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) floated the possibility of a combination in March in light of their existing, highly collaborative working relationship. Recently, many of those efforts have included advocacy around program integrity within the Medicare Hospice Benefit.
The organizations have been moving forward under the guidance of a steering committee informed by members of both NAHC and NHPCO, with support from the consulting firm McKinley Advisors.
Today, they proposed a transitional board who will consider ratifying the organizations’ combination plan in early 2024.
“With extraordinary opportunity comes the challenge of significant obligation. This proposed Transition Board is made up of experienced veterans of the care at home community, who possess the vision to understand both the opportunity and obligation to build an even stronger future for our sectors of the American health care delivery system,” Ken Albert, proposed chair of the Transition Board, said in a statement. “Fulfilling our pledge to return the home to the center of American health care will require a new organization with the expanded expertise of both NAHC and NHPCO.”
Albert is currently CEO of Androscoggin Home Care + Hospice as well as board chair for NAHC.
NAHC was established in 1982 and today boasts more than 33,000 member organizations from the home health, home care and hospice industries, among other stakeholders.
As of November 2023, NHPCO has 1,073 organizational members which represent 4,395 locations and 68,303 individuals. Of those, 922 of those members are providers, an NHPCO spokesperson told Hospice News.
The transition board includes equal representation from NAHC and NHPCO, including directors who hail from the home health, hospice, palliative care, personal care services, home care, and private duty realms.
The board also includes business partners, representatives from state associations and at-large members. The board and officers will be ratified when the definitive agreements are signed in early 2024, the organizations’ indicated.
Proposed members of the transition board include:
- Ken Albert, CEO, Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice (transition board chair)
- David Causby, CEO, Gentiva
- Trisha Crissman, interim president and CEO, CommonSpirit Health at Home
- Melinda Gruber, vice president, Corewell Health (transition board vice chair)
- Demetress Harrell, CEO, Hospice in the Pines
- Susan D. Lloyd, president and CEO, Delaware Hospice Inc.
- Tarrah Lowry, COO, Trustbridge / Empath Health
- Christine McMichael, executive director, Hospice & Palliative Care Federation of Massachusetts
- Mark Morse, CEO, Enclara Pharmacia
- Mary Myers, retired president, Johns Hopkins Home Care Group
- John Olajide, CEO, Axxess
- Bob Parker, chief clinical officer, Kindful Health
- Susan Ponder-Stansel, CEO Alivia Care Inc.
- Sara Ratcliffe, executive director, Illinois HomeCare & Hospice Council
- Lynne Sexten, CEO Agrace Hospice and Supportive Care (transition board secretary)
- William Simione, CEO SimiTree, (transition board treasurer)
- Jennifer Sheets, NAHC board member, former CEO, Interim Healthcare, Caring Brands International
- Beth Slepian, president and CEO, Granite VNA
- Dave Totaro, chief government affairs officer, BAYADA Home Health Care
- Nick Westfall, CEO, VITAS Healthcare
“Across the continuum of serious illness care, providers are looking to the future, working to ensure we can continue to provide high-quality, patient-centered care even as patient needs and payment models shift,” Melinda Gruber, proposed vice chair of the transition board, said in a statement. “The association representing providers should be similarly future-focused. This proposed Transition Board is the right group of people at the right time to take NHPCO and NAHC into the future, to continue providing value for our current and future members.”