Bayada Home Health Care will acquire fellow home health provider Visiting Nurse Association Health Group as the organization looks to grow its partnerships with hospitals and health systems, the companies announced Monday.
Holmdel, N.J.-based Visiting Nurse Association's home health, hospice and physician service programs will be integrated into Bayada's operations and Dr. Steven Landers, president and CEO of VNAHG, will serve as group president overseeing Bayada's home health and hospice specialties, which include all hospital partnerships.
The integration will maintain VNA's joint ventures with large academic health systems, which represent a growing opportunity to extend home health and hospice care to boost access and continuity, executives said. The deal is expected to be completed by November, following the customary regulatory approvals.
Health systems are increasingly seeking the expertise of home health providers to optimize care outside of the hospital, Bayada CEO David Baiada said via email. Convenient home health settings can improve outcomes at a lower cost, he said.
"We see the opportunity to do just that in these strategic alignment structures, joint ventures and managed service agreements, where we can be a best-in-class operator in partnership with health systems to manage those unique capabilities," Baiada said.
Moorestown, N.J.-based Bayada transitioned to a not-for-profit organization in late 2018, driven by a motivation to sustain the organization for multiple generations and protect it from being sold. The organization also hoped it would bolster recruiting and retention efforts, which have been difficult due to a shortage of home health aides. Low pay and minimal reimbursement levels have limited the sector.
Many health systems are divesting their home health businesses and forming joint ventures with national operators. While home care provides a lower-cost delivery setting that patients often prefer, it nets lower margins than health systems' hospital and outpatient operations.
Building a governance structure with shared goal-setting and strategies—along with aligning incentives for providers from the in-patient setting to the community—is crucial, Baiada said.
"The importance of working together, clarifying objectives and sharing decisionmaking cannot be underscored enough," he said.
Bayada has a network of more than 28,000 caregivers across 360 locations in 23 states and internationally.
VNA, a not-for-profit home health provider in New Jersey and Northeast Ohio, employs nearly 2,500 people who focus on vulnerable populations such as children, older adults, and those with serious and disabling chronic illness. The organization's VNA of Central Jersey Foundation, which offers a full range of primary-care services through its community health centers, will remain an independent entity.
Bayada executives said that the company will continue to look for additional merger, acquisition and partnership opportunities.