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Originally published: 2013-02-05 16:11:05
Last modified: 2013-02-06 11:17:46

ARHS Home Health, Home Care for sale

by Staff Reports

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System announced Tuesday that it will offer its Home Health and Avery Home Care programs for sale.

"Several home health and home care agencies have entered the High Country marketplace in recent years," said Richard Sparks, ARHS president and CEO, in a statement. "With home health and home care being their core business function, they are able to offer specialized services to the residents of the High Country."

The Home Health program offers skilled nursing care; medical social services; nutritional consulting; physical, speech and occupational therapy; and home health aide services in a home setting to persons recovering from an injury or illness.

The ARHS CAP and Avery Home Care Services program is licensed by the N.C. Department of Human Resources to provide personal care services in Avery, Burke, McDowell, Mitchell, Watauga and Yancey counties. The CAP program was established to meet the needs of patients who are at a nursing home level of care, and Avery Home Care was established to meet the personal care needs of patients who do not qualify for other home care services, according to ARHS.

Personal services offered include bathing, shampooing and/or shaving, skin care and personal hygiene, dressing, assistance with exercise and walking, changing linens, assistance with meal preparation and feeding, laundry and housecleaning.

Gillian Baker, ARHS spokeswoman, said ARHS reached this decision after a thorough evaluation of the programs.

"Recent changes in the marketplace have prompted us to relook at this service," she said.

Over the next few months, ARHS will identify several larger and highly experienced home care providers that would be interested in acquiring its programs and can offer high quality care and service dependability, the ARHS statement indicated. During the transition period, ARHS Home Health and Avery Home Care will continue to provide operate.

"Our intention is not to leave the home health and home care population without services," she said. "We are continuing business as usual."

Baker said employees of the Home Health and Home Care programs would transition to the new service provider once a sale takes place.

A number of long-term care providers across the state -- including assisted living facilities, nursing homes and group homes -- have been affected by recent changes restricting Medicaid eligibility for personal care services reimbursement in North Carolina. Higher eligibility requirements mean that many people no longer qualify for Medicaid funding for their services, which represents a significant portion of revenue for some providers.

Baker said the Medicaid eligibility changes "did not necessarily have a bearing on everything in that service line," however.

"It wasn't any one thing," she added.