Why AccentCare is Expanding Hospital Partnerships, Private Pay Business In 2023

Why AccentCare Is Expanding Hospital Partnerships, Private-Pay Business In 2023 – Home Health Care News

AccentCare is one of the largest home health providers in the U.S. It has its main service lines – home health care, personal care and hospice – built out. The question is where a company with its size and diversification goes next.

If you’re the CEO of AccentCare, Steve Rodgers, the answer to that question is lean into partnerships with large hospitals and health systems.

In fact, AccentCare’s merger with Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care was partly propelled by the way it would position the latter to better serve these kinds of partnerships. The company has a number of health system and hospital partnerships on the horizon this year.

Home Health Care News recently caught up with Rodgers at the Home Care 100 conference, which took place in January in Orlando, Florida. During the course of the conversation, Rodgers also touched on the measures that AccentCare is taking to hold on to staff, and why home care is a “fundamental anchor business.”

The conversation below has been edited for length and clarity.

HHCN: Last year, you called the Seasons’ merger “transformational for AccentCare” in terms of M&A. What kind of companies do you have your eye on moving forward? What would you say is the larger strategy when it comes to these transactions?

Rodgers: Our focus right now, and where we’re seeing the majority of our activity, is continuing the expansion of our joint venture strategy.

Coming in and creating partnerships with hospital-based assets is transforming marketplaces for us. At this point, we’ve got a large home health business, a large hospice business, and a large personal attendant business. We’re in 31 states or so. Now, we’re really looking at, in each of these major MSAs, how do we actually create those anchor partnerships with these large health systems? Meaning partnerships that allow us to create sustainable growth within those marketplaces — but do it in a way that we actually feel we can deliver the best care.

It’s us working together on what needs to happen to these patients. Not just the continuum post-acute, but how we actually can move upstream with them a little bit.

Can you tell me about how these partnerships are going?

They’re going really well. We continue to expand those partnerships, and we’ve had a lot of success with the large ones we have. Our Baylor Scott & White partnership has been terrific for us.

I don’t want to announce it now, but we have a very large partnership that’s going to close in April. It’s already signed. That will be another one the size of Baylor Scott & White. Then there’s numerous other activities that we have going on. We probably have two that will get closed by the middle of the year. We probably have a shot at having a couple others by the second half of the year. These are all fairly large partnerships.

Staffing, of course, remains a major industry pain point. What is AccentCare doing right now to keep its clinicians?

We continue to have a big focus on retention. This starts with thinking about how we can make their lives more doable. We’ve brought in informaticists to look at streamlining the EMRs, so that they’re doing less pajama time at night, and closing out and doing the documentation that they have. We’ve tested actually bringing in drivers into marketplaces, so that they could document between visits. The whole point is, let’s see what we can do to make sure that when they finish their day, they get to go home.

The second piece that we’re very focused on around that area are things like scheduling. It’s a big deal in this industry, because there’s nothing worse for a clinician than to go to bed at night thinking, ‘When I get up in the morning, this is what I’m going to do.’ Then they get up in the morning, and their schedules all changed. We’re trying to bring a lot of rationality to scheduling. We’ve got some very good pilots going on. The nice thing about scheduling is that when you improve the scheduling for the clinicians, it both saves money and drives greater continuity of care. If you can keep a clinician in a tighter zone, they’re more likely to continue to take care of the patients within their zone versus ping-ponging back and forth across the city.

We’re also spending a lot of time on onboarding, training and education programs. You lose the majority of your clinicians in the first three to six months. We also have a program with Chamberlain University. We are looking at how we are getting nurses right out of school.

One way the government can help is by subsidizing education and training for nurses.

Are there other areas of home-based care that the company will be making a strong effort to move into this year?

We’re one of the few companies in this area that runs a non-franchised financial private-pay business.

We see that as a fundamental anchor business that you can attach other services to that can help people during this time period. There’s emergency response devices, there’s helping them get their home better situated, there’s meal services — we’re not going to buy all those things, but we can help coordinate those as part of a set of services that we’re bringing in. It’s about forming the right partnerships with the vendors around those particular areas, so that we can bring in a holistic solution for patients to keep them in the home. That gives us the stickiness inside the home.

Sticking with the home care side of the business, will agencies focus more on private-pay or government sources in 2023?

The home care industry has no choice but to do government services.

For us, we will continue to have a big focus on the private-pay services. We think there’s a good market there. We opened 14 or 15 private-pay de novos this year. We’re going to continue to bring those services out in the marketplaces we’re operating. That’s going to be a big focus of ours. It’s not going to be at the exclusion of the government payers, because the government’s always going to be our majority payer.