Ascension expands services throughout Michigan, other states

As Ascension Michigan continues to reorganize its operations and rebrand its 15 hospitals, the Roman Catholic system has fully integrated its home health, infusion and hospice operations into Ascension at Home, a seven-state subsidiary of parent company Ascension Health.

Combining Reverence Home Health and Hospice, the Michigan-based home health and hospice company, with Ascension at Home is just one example of how St. Louis-based Ascension Health, the nation's largest nonprofit health system, is moving to integrate care, cut costs and shift more services into outpatient settings to match reimbursement policies.

It's part of a broader realignment at the mammoth Ascension Health, according to Crain's Detroit Business.

Nationally, Anthony Tersigni, Ascension Health's CEO, announced in March the health care system has cut administrative costs by $400 million this year by realigning leadership and organizational structures, according to a report in Modern Healthcare, Crain's sister publication.

Darcy Burthay, managing director of home care services with Ascension at Home, said Michigan's Reverence was the last large home health market subsidiary to join Ascension at Home in 2017. Reverence was created in 2012 when Ascension's five regions in Michigan merged home health, in-home hospice, infusion, telehealth monitoring, palliative care, durable medical equipment and other complementary post-acute care services.

Burthay, a nurse who has spent 33 years with Ascension, mainly in Indiana, said Ascension's goal in Michigan and nationally is to move home health and hospice, along with a few sites that had infusion services, into a separate company, which would allow greater innovation and care coordination.

In 2013, Reverence generated $62 million in revenue, employed 590 workers and cared for 2,000 patients each day with 235,000 annual visits, said Patricia Maryland, the former CEO of Ascension's St. John Providence Health System in a 2012 interview. Maryland now is CEO of Ascension's health care division.

By 2017, Maryland said Reverence was projected to double its statewide market share to 12 percent from the current 6 percent, increase annual revenue to about $80 million and employ more than 800 workers.

During the first quarter of 2018, the consolidated Ascension at Home increased home health and hospice volume 4 percent as compared with the same period in 2017, Burthay said. "We are on pace to provide over 1 million home health visits in 2018 in seven states," she said. "We serve nearly 1,000 hospice patients each day and employ over 2,300 associates in our home care programs."

Read the full story at Crain's Detroit Business.

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