Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. is keeping its promise to exit the home-care business. By the end of 1998, it had completed the sale of 312, or 95%, of its 327 home-care agencies.
Altogether, Columbia has sold or plans to sell agencies in 26 states to five buyers. Columbia declined to disclose sales prices, although MODERN HEALTHCARE did obtain some figures from buyers.
Before August 1997, when Columbia announced it would sell its home-care operations as part of its restructuring, Columbia's Dallas-based Homecare Group accounted for $200 million to $400 million, or 1.4% to 3%, of its revenues.
The company, based in Nashville, has completed transactions with four of the five buyers. Memphis, Tenn.-based Medshares bought the most-155 agencies in 11 states. Baton Rouge, La.-based Amedisys purchased 71 agencies in six states for $24 million. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Interim HealthCare purchased four agencies in Arizona.
Following up on an agreement reached about five years ago, Melville, N.Y.-based Olsten Corp. purchased 82 agencies in Alabama and Florida for $34 million. In 1994 Columbia purchased home-care operations in Florida from Olsten. As part of that sale, Olsten retained the right of first refusal to acquire the Florida operations.
For some months Olsten and two of its subsidiaries have been the targets of a federal grand jury investigation into possible violations of criminal laws related to its home health dealings with Columbia.
Columbia also announced home-care sales to a group of private investors led by George Mandes and Robert Reeves. The men are former executives with Homecare, a Wallingford, Conn.-based home health company acquired last year by Masonicare, also based in Wallingford. The investors are purchasing 15 agencies in seven states. The deals are expected to be completed in the first quarter.