It’s only been seven weeks since Enhabit Home Health and Hospice separated from Encompass Health, but CEO Barbara Jacobsmeyer is already making big plans for the new company.
In a wide-ranging interview with McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse, Jacobsmeyer said all options are on the table as she looks to grow Enhabit. She said home care, hospital-at-home and SNF-at-home are all potential business opportunities for Enhabit. However, Jacobsmeyer emphasized her team must first weigh both the regulatory and reimbursement landscapes before moving forward on any of those opportunities.
“We want to know how this works. How do we work with other partners in our market? Do we eventually need to own it? Do we need a partner?” Jacobsmeyer explained “And I think what we learn is going to help us if and when it comes time to scale it.”
Jacobsmeyer joined Encompass as an executive a decade ago when it was HealthSouth. She took the helm of the company’s home health and hospice unit a year before it was spun off from Encompass on July 1 and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange as a separate public company. The Dallas-based firm has 251 home health locations and 100 hospice locations.
The Encompass effect
Despite the spin-off, Encompass still looms large at Enhabit. Encompass’s rehabilitation hospitals will provide a pipeline of patients to the home health and hospice company, and Jacobsmeyer said that will help Enhabit develop relationships with similar facilities.
The ability to now focus exclusively on recruiting staff for home-based settings is one of the benefits of operating as a separate company, according to Jacobsmeyer.
“When you’re part of a larger organization that is facility-based and home-based, it’s really hard to talk about all of those benefits of working in the home industry,” Jacobsmeyer said. “So we can really solely focus on our recruitment branding, not only as Enhabit, but what it is to be a home health and hospice clinician.”
Enhabit’s last quarter as a division of Encompass was a tough one. Revenues slipped more than 6% during the three months ending June 30 due to labor challenges, rebranding issues and new headwinds from inflation. The company could face an additional challenge early next year if the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services cuts Medicare home health rates by 7.69% in 2023.
Eyes open to acquisitions
Still, while competitors Amedisys and Addus are tapping the brakes on home health acquisitions until the publication of the final home health rule in the fall, Jacobsmeyer said Enhabit continues to look for potential acquisitions in the space.
“We are continuing to have them in the pipeline and respecting if [home health agencies] want to kind of put a pause and see what comes out of the final rule,” she said.