Assured Hospice joins national group

LHC Group, Inc., one of the largest providers of home nursing services in the United States, announced Dec. 22 that it has entered into a definitive stock purchase agreement to acquire 100 percent of the outstanding capital stock of Northwest Healthcare Alliance, Inc., located in Washington. Northwest Healthcare Alliance, Inc., which operates under the name Assured Home Health and Hospice, is headquartered in Centralia and includes four home health locations and five hospice locations.

This transaction expands LHC Group's geographic footprint to 17 states and is expected to close on Dec. 31. The service area of this acquisition spans nine counties in Washington, including Clallam and Jefferson, and has an estimated total population of 650,000, with almost 15 percent over the age of 65. Northwest Healthcare Alliance, Inc. had net revenue for the most recent 12 months of approximately $10.2 million.

Keith G. Myers, chief executive officer of LHC Group, said, "The addition of Assured Home Health and Hospice will provide a platform for future expansion throughout the northwestern part of the United States and will further solidify our position as a leading national provider of home care services. We are excited to close out a great year of growth into new markets. We look forward to 2009 as all signs indicate it will be another year of significant growth for the LHC Group Family."

About LHC Group, Inc.

LHC Group, Inc. is one of the largest providers of home nursing services in the United States providing quality cost effective health care services to patients within the comfort and privacy of their home or place of residence.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for the employee-owners of Assured," said Richard D. Block, president of Assured Hospice of Clallam & Jefferson Counties. "We now have joined a much larger family of clinical experts. They have 232 home health and hospice locations in 17 states. The president of this dynamic organization is a nurse, as is the chief operating officer. They are clinically driven and are leaders in the Medicare structure of home health and hospice. Joining 5,600 other employees means Assured's employees will get even better benefits due to their purchasing power."

Block added he made the decision to join LHC because the company "understands rural, regulated, quality health care under the Medicare umbrella. Rural patients need not suffer from inferior care or lack of Medicare-paid-for services compared to their counterparts in the big cities," Block said.

According to Block, in Clallam and Jefferson counties, Assured will have the financial resources to offer "open access" for those wishing to continue using curative therapies, such as the treatments provided by board certified oncologists Drs. Thomas Kummet, Clare Bertucio and R. Heath Foxlee at the Cancer Care Center in Sequim. "Open access" also permits patients to have palliative (pain relieving) services provided at no charge by Assured's Medicare hospice, licensed and certified professionals.

LHC also will work with the "not for profit," 501C(3) Assured Hospice Foundation to develop a capital budget campaign to raise funds for the building of a regulated, Department of Health approved and sanctioned hospice care center. "This is a dream Assured's leaders have had for these past six years since being approved to bring the Medicare hospice benefit to Clallam and Jefferson counties," Block said.

Since 2002, Assured has brought in more than $4 million of federal funds from Medicare that were never available to the community before. The Medicare funds were used for nursing, physician and social work services, drugs, durable medical equipment, inpatient and nursing home stays.

"Assured and LHC Group will combine resources to serve the community with pride and excellence in quality, regulated hospice care, as the only Medicare approved Department of Health licensed hospice agency in Clallam County," Block concluded.

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