PHILADELPHIA (August 29, 2019)—Two large non-profit providers of home health care announced this week they plan to merge—and they say the combined organization could provide a model when it comes to coordinating care.

Philadelphia-based BAYADA Home Health Care, which is one of the largest home health and hospice providers in the country, and the Visiting Nurse Association Health Group (VNAHG), New Jersey’s largest not-for-profit provider of home-based health services, announced Tuesday that VNAHG intends to join BAYADA; they expect to finalize the agreement in November. 

Under the agreement, which is subject to regulatory approval, VNAHG’s home health, hospice and physician service programs and hospital partnerships will be integrated into BAYADA’s operations. VNAHG President and CEO Steven Landers, MD will serve as group president overseeing BAYADA’s home health and hospice specialties. 

The move presents “a tremendous opportunity” to expand BAYADA’s impact through joint ventures with hospitals, BAYADA CEO David Baiada told HomeCare. Both organizations have track records working with hospitals and health systems, and each currently has four active partnerships that he said will remain intact.

“Health systems are looking to build a network of providers outside of the four walls of the hospital in order to continue excellent post-acute patient care once the patients leave the hospital—inside their homes,” he wrote in an email. “BAYADA Home Health Care and VNA Health Group both have separate successful track records of entering those strategic alignment structures, joint ventures, and managed service agreements in order to help provide health systems with high quality home care and better outcomes.”

Indeed, he said, the two groups see the new organization as a model for the future of coordinated care. 

“First, we have seen an increasing need to support health systems that are looking to expand their patient care beyond the hospital setting, and we see an opportunity to bring our clinical excellence to serve as best-in-class partners to improve outcome,” he said. “Additionally, the coming together of two mission-based organizations further enhances our ability to collaborate with aligned partners along the continuum of care to help solve health care issues in the long-term; that is the real future of coordinated care, and health care in general. 

Baiada said that BAYADA, which transitioned to a nonprofit organization in late December 2018, has had many community-based organizations express interest in connecting; VNAHG and Baiada have been discussion the move in recent months. 

"We view this integration as a “win-win” that pairs VNAHG’s home health and hospice programs and joint ventures with BAYADA’s robust programming, and joins two mission-driven organizations to provide quality care in the home,” he said. 

In addition, the new agreement also expands BAYADA’s hospice reach into new regions, including strengthening its presence in northern New Jersey, Baiada said. VNAHG’s longstanding VNA of Central Jersey Foundation (VNACJ) will remain an independent organization, as will the VNACJ community health centers. 

Baiada said the organizations are working on a plan to integrate employees and expect “no disruption for clinical staff.” BAYADA has more than 28,000 caregivers in 360 locations in 23 states and internationally; VNAHG employee nearly 2,500 people and cares for more than 150,000 individuals and families annually. 

Under the agreement, David Baiada said, VNAHG staff will join the existing BAYADA culture and community. 

“Both organizations are committed to a thoughtful and collaborative integration process that will include reviewing workflow, resources, and support systems but above all with minimal to no interruption to clients and field clinicians,” he said.

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Story written by HomeCare Editor Hannah Wolfson