“What went from a one-sided discussion about price and about what the company's value was turned into … a much broader negotiation,” Breier told Modern Healthcare in a podcast interview.
Once the transaction closes, Kindred will have 109,000 employees in long-term acute-care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, skilled-nursing facilities, hospices and home-health agencies across 47 states. That will make it the fourth-largest healthcare employer in the U.S. and the largest company focused on the post-acute-care sector.
“We think a company that has broad national scale and a platform of support-centered infrastructure, including deep local market penetration, can be a provider of choice for hospitals, insurers and consumers,” Breier said this month.
Breier has been with Kindred since 2005, starting as president of the company's rehabilitation division. In early 2008, he oversaw Kindred's hospital operations. Breier, who was named a Modern Healthcare Up & Comer in 2010, took over as Kindred's COO in 2010 and added the president title in 2012. He made $2.8 million in 2013.
Analysts who follow Kindred said the succession plan has been “well-known” over the past year and that Kindred was not forcing Diaz out. In May, Kindred noted in its proxy filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Breier’s transition to the corner office would be in effect by August 2015.
Once he takes the helm, Breier will concentrate on maintaining profitability in the company's core businesses, working through the integration of Gentiva and building on its continuing care strategy. He also said the company has plans to grow further, but that likely won't be until 2016. “We're going to have our hands full over the next year,” Breier said. “I suspect you'll see the dust settle.”
Diaz, who has served as CEO since 2004 and earned $4.3 million last year, will stay on as Kindred's executive vice chairman of the board. “He'll continue to be a friend and a mentor to me,” Breier said of Diaz's role over the next year. He said beyond 2015, he expects Diaz to stay busy in private equity and public policy.
Follow Bob Herman on Twitter: @MHbherman