Home care and hospice units sold to Gentiva

Liberty Lake-based Family Home Care Corp. announced Tuesday that its home health and hospice care division has been acquired by Gentiva Health Services Inc., an Atlanta firm with more than 10,000 employees.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, and Family Home Care CEO Ryan Fix said he could not disclose the price.

Gentiva is taking over two units with about 300 workers who provide home health and hospice care. About 10 jobs will be eliminated as part of the acquisition, Fix said.

The two business units provide services to roughly 790 clients who are covered by Medicare or other government programs.

The remaining Family Home Care business will continue its focus on private-pay home health care, Fix said. Family Home Care will continue operating with 200 workers and about 345 clients.

Michael Nowling, who bought Family Home Care in 2001 from Empire Health Services, will now be an adviser to Gentiva and will remain owner of Family Home Care Corp.

Gentiva, one of the largest home health care operators in the United States, is a publicly traded company. The transaction will be funded from Gentiva’s cash reserves.

Nowling decided to sell part of Family Home Care due to uncertainty over the future of health care reimbursements, Fix said.

“The other factor was the changing climate within the health care industry,” Fix said. “There has been a lot of consolidation and when you are an independent regional player, it does make you a bit more vulnerable.”

By focusing on private-payment clients, Family Home Care has more latitude in its efforts to grow, Fix added. One goal is expanding services in Eastern Washington and Western Montana.

The company’s current service area includes Spokane and Whitman counties and North Idaho from Sandpoint to Lewiston.

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