AccentCare named Laura Tortorella as the home health and hospice company’s CEO to succeed Steve Rodgers, who is stepping down after 11 years.
Tortorella will assume the CEO post Oct. 2 after spending 13 years at Steward Health Care System, where she most recently served as chief operational officer. Rodgers will serve as an adviser until the end of the year.
AccentCare is one of the nation’s largest home health and hospice providers, operating 250 locations across 31 states and Washington, D.C. The company was acquired by private equity firm Advent International in 2018. The following year AccentCare acquired Steward's home health and hospice division that serves 14,000 patients in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
In the past seven years, AccentCare has acquired approximately 20 home health and hospice agencies. Tortorella said that pace of expansion could continue under her leadership.
“As I get to know the AccentCare portfolio better over the next few months, I will have a better understanding of where potentially their clinical services need to expand or adjust to meet the needs of the patients,” Tortorella said.
At Steward, she helped the Dallas-based health system expand from six hospitals to 33 locations across eight states in the South and Northeast. She also helped manage supply chain and labor challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tortorella’s transition from acute care to post-acute care comes at a time of opportunity and challenges for the home health industry. While more care is moving into the home, there also has been consolidation among home healthcare providers, a shortage of workers and reimbursement uncertainty.
Large health insurers are moving into the space, creating intense competition for patients. UnitedHealth Group closed on its $5.4 billion purchase of LHC Group in February and is waiting to complete its $3.3 billion acquisition of Amedisys. Humana purchased the remaining 60% stake in Kindred at Home in 2021 for $8.1 billion and folded the unit into its CenterWell brand.
Owning home health businesses helps private insurance companies coordinate care for their beneficiaries and reduce overall costs. However, it also makes it harder for other insurers to negotiate contracts with those businesses.
Staffing shortages are making it difficult for many home health companies to accept new patients transitioning from hospitals. Still another challenge for the home health industry is a potential Medicare reimbursement cut. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed reducing Medicare rates 2.2% or $375 million in 2024. The agency is expected to release its final rule on rates for next year within the next month.