Dare commissioners look at BrightSpring for Home Health and Hospice
The April 19 evening meeting for the Dare County Board of Commissioners was almost five hours long.
Commanding attention was a possible sale of the county’s accredited Home Health and Hospice program. The agenda item featured a presentation from BrightSpring, one of four possible purchasers, questioning from commissioners and comments from 13 individuals.
Representing BrightSpring Health Services were Jody Moore, vice president of population health and post-acute strategy, and Rexanne Domico, president of home health care and rehabilitation services.
The duo made general opening comments introducing BrightSpring to the board and 20 people in the audience, the first time in a year that members of the public were in the commissioners’ meeting room. More people were in an overflow room.
“We are in the business of caring,” said Moore. BrightSpring is “heavily invested in North Carolina.” On Feb. 29, 2020, the corporation purchased Advanced Home Care with its 10 locations in the state. In November 2020, Stanly County commissioners authorized the sale of its Home Health operation to BrightSpring for $3.3 million, reported the Stanly News & Press.
Moore indicated the agency uses telemedicine, which he called a “key solution.” He also pointed to the corporation’s supply chain. Resources, like antibody tests, were delivered to BrightSpring locations ahead of hospitals.
To Dare employees gathered in the room, Moore said “I completely understand the fear.” He told the commissioners, “we’ll take care of your staff.”
Domico said BrightSpring is “delivering fantastic, high quality care in the home.”
In addition to Home Health, the firm offers personal care services in North Carolina. BrightSpring is interested in offering that service in Dare County too, said Domico.
“We are a large company,” said Domico. “All health care is local.” Names of acquired companies are retained, like Advanced Home Health. She did not indicate if the name Dare Home Health and Hospice would be used.
Answering commissioner Rob Ross’s questions, Domico said 65% of the revenue stream for Home Health comes from Medicare and the rest is private and commercial insurance. The corporation does partner with North Carolina for Medicaid. The personal care services revenue stream is 85% Medicaid.
Ross said he was “delighted” with the service provided by Dare Home Health.
Commissioner Steve House queried about staff payment. Domico responded “a variety of ways,” which included per visit, salary or hourly.
Domico acknowledged the nursing shortage. Moore said in Texas, Colorado and Kansas, off-duty paramedics under contract are used for on-call responses.
Commissioner Danny Couch, who represents Hatteras Island, asked about the company’s familiarity with the island. Domico said “we intend to listen and learn” and acknowledged it would be beautiful to have staff on Hatteras Island, but that’s not always possible.
Couch asked about transition. Domico said not a lot of changes would occur.
Moore said “we want to work with Dare staff.” Transition takes six months to a year, reported Domico.
Commissioner Ervin Bateman elicited the comment “we’re never not going to Hatteras and Stumpy Point and Manns Harbor.”
What’s plan B if BrightSpring decides the Dare operation is not profitable, asked Couch.
Domico said that’s “not what we do.” The corporation will “work as efficiently as we can.”
Moore followed up. “Our business is people.” The corporation uses national and local programs for recruitment and from time to time uses travel nurses. He also said the company was looking at international programs.
Vice Chairman Wally Overman picked up on the telemedicine comment.
Moore responded that it’s “more than a virtual visit.” He said telemedicine is used for face-to-face check-in and tuck-in as well as remote patient monitoring. “It is not going to replace what is done at the bedside.”
Questioned about providing services for intellectually or developmentally disabled persons,
Domico responded “we serve complicated cases.”
Chairman Robert L. Woodard asked what makes BrightSpring stand out.
Domico responded “our ability to connect care across a continuum.” She affirmed the corporation operates in 50 states and that it has 50,000 employees.
Asked if BrightSpring has ever closed down an operation, Domico said “we’ve relocated a few things.” In Michigan in 2010, a Home Health operation was closed.
BrightSpring would serve patients in assisted living facilities in Dare County.
Woodard also delved into a quality report.
In response to Woodard’s questions, the BrightSpring duo said the benefits of BrightSpring’s Hospice Foundation would be available in Dare; that negative comments are reviewed; and that the company focuses on employee satisfaction.
Said Woodard as the conclusion of his questioning “I’m sure I’ll have more questions.”
He announced “we’re not making a decision tonight.”
At the conclusion of the questioning, a break was announced. The commissioners returned to the announced public hearing.
Impassioned pleas commanded attention at the April 19 Dare County Board of Commissioners meeting. The commissioners are considering a possible... read more