Emeritus Branches Into Home Healthcare With $102 Million Purchase

Last week, Emeritus Corporation (NYSE:ESC) agreed to purchase Nurse on Call, Inc., the largest Medicare-licensed home healthcare provider in Florida. Emeritus, the nation’s largest assisted living and memory care provider, will pay $102 million in cash for 91% of Nurse on Call’s parent company. The remaining equity will be owned by certain members of Nurse on Call’s management team.

The acquisition of one of the largest home healthcare providers in the country marks Emeritus’s entry into the home healthcare business. It has previously offered free home visit services for seniors through its Home Visit Program, and announced late last month it would be expanding this service in light of the upcoming holiday season.

In February of this year, SHN asked Emeritus president and CEO Granger Cobb if his company would plan to expand its home visit services to include home health care. At the time, he said, “It makes a lot of sense to kind of marry the two. If we have a licensed home health agency that can fit in nicely with our home visit program, it probably offers even more options in terms of how we can benefit seniors at home.”

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At the time, Cobb said home healthcare was being viewed as an opportunity, but cited uncertainties in Medicare reimbursements as a reason to wait. CMS recently announced that reimbursements to home health agencies will remain essentially flat in calendar year 2013.

“The acquisition of Nurse on Call, a premier home health agency, will add in-home care to our spectrum of senior living services,” said Cobb in a statement about the acquisition. “NOC will allow us to expand and better coordinate our continuum of post-acute services for our residents, and it will provide Emeritus with a platform for expansion of home health care services throughout our communities and other markets across the United States.”

Nurse on Call currently has 28 offices throughout Florida with services that span 47 counties.

Emeritus is funding the purchase primarily from net proceeds made from the recently closed sale to HCP Inc. of its joint venture portfolio with The Blackstone Group. The home healthcare acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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