Why Alivia Care wants to go beyond the ‘meat and potatoes’ of home health care

At a time when more and more home care entities are looking for ways to stand out and take their business to the next level, Alivia Care Inc. CEO Susan Ponder-Stansel wants to deliver more than this. she considers the “meat and potatoes” of home health services.

For Alivia Care – a company that entered the home health market with the acquisition of Better Life Home Health in 2021 – that means services that are a major differentiator when it comes to health outcomes.

The company is always looking to improve its service lines, whether through acquisition or collaboration with other organizations.

“We always wonder, are we building it, are we buying it, or are we partners in it?” Ponder-Stansel told Home Health Care News “We’re toying with the idea of ​​a [home-based] primary care practice – maybe we could partner for that.

Alivia Care is a provider of home health services, palliative care, hospice and all-inclusive care programs for the elderly (PACE). The company operates in 32 counties in northern Florida and southeast Georgia.

Already a player in palliative care, the company has entered the home healthcare market to reach patients earlier and therefore fill gaps in care.

“We wanted to have another way to serve patients who were not being cared for in palliative care, either because they were not medically eligible or because they were ready to choose hospice,” said said Ponder-Stansel. “We knew that if they went to another home care provider there was a good chance that we would never see them again or that we would see them again 72 hours before they died. We wanted to develop that other hand.

Having a line of home health services under the Alivia Care umbrella also allows the company to diversify its revenue, according to Ponder-Stansel.

“With some of the things I see coming to hospice, I knew that putting all of our eggs mostly in the hospice basket was not a good thing for society,” she said.

Despite home health’s ability to link many of the company’s post-acute care services, Ponder-Stansel is the first to admit there’s been a learning curve.

“It’s been humbling to find out what you don’t know about certain things,” she said. “Even when you hire consultants and experts, what we didn’t know could fill an ocean. The good news is that I’ve never been afraid to jump off the edge of the pool, into the deep end. We just learned.

One of these lessons learned relates to the hiring of home health managers in the company.

Ponder-Stansel discovered that candidates from larger entities are not automatically always the best fit for Alivia Care’s needs as an organization.

“A lot of times, people from these large corporate environments aren’t always the best fit in an agency where you really have to be a generalist,” she said.

Another lesson the company is learning relates to managing the challenges of the fee-for-service industry and competing with domestic players already operating in the space.

For Alivia Care, working with hospital discharge planners and physicians has been key moving forward.

Besides what’s already on Alivia Care’s plate, the company is also stealing a page from LHC Group Inc.’s (Nasdaq: LHCG) playbook and exploring opportunities for future joint venture partnerships with hospitals.

Alivia Care is also looking to enter into direct contracts with the federal government through the ACO REACH model.

“Our biggest strategic goal is to operate in this risk-based environment, in a way that gets really good results and can really care for specific populations,” Ponder-Stansel said. “We’re looking at critical illness management programs that would be of real value to a payer, whether it’s an at-risk hospital or an at-risk primary care practice. Directionally, everything we do tries to get us there.

Ultimately, Ponder-Stansel believes companies that have the ability to provide a number of different care services can help people overcome their illness.

“Right now our payment system treats everything as an event, and it’s really a process,” she said. “From a directional perspective, we wanted to bring these elements together under one arm so that we can be prepared in the new risk-based environment, and also create exceptional value not only for the patient, but also for those who pay. cares.”

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