National Association for Home Care & Hospice President William Dombi.
National Association for Home Care & Hospice President William Dombi speaks at the opening general session of the annual conference Sunday.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) plans to finalize its merger with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) by the end of the year, leaders revealed Sunday at NAHC’s Home Care and Hospice Conference and Expo 2023.

“One plus one equals three,” Bill Dombi, president of NAHC, said at the event’s general session, emphasizing the strength and reach that the organizations hope to achieve by merging. “It’s also one plus one equals one. This is not to maintain two organizations under an umbrella. This aims to create one single organization integrated from top to bottom, with recognition that health care at home is a broad breadth of services that we’re there to represent.”

The search for a chief executive officer is scheduled to begin around November or December, Ken Albert, board chair at NAHC, noted. By the end of the year, NAHC and NHPCO hope to have signed definitive agreements. Beginning July 2024, they will begin “dual operations,” Albert said, a transitional period wherein the organizations will still operate independently.

“That’s the plan, and you all know how the best laid plans go, right?” joked Albert. “That’s what we have on paper and in our minds.”

By merging, NAHC and NHPCO are hoping to achieve greater collaboration and influence. Dombi and Albert stressed that a unified voice will be critical for home healthcare’s future success, especially in the face of challenges such as workforce shortages and Medicare rate cuts that may be finalized in the coming weeks.

“We have got to unify the sector of healthcare home under a one voice banner on the Hill and in the state capitol,” Albert said. “We’re looking towards the future. What are we going to need as an association for our members — five years and 10 years down the road? Let’s build that together now. And so it’s been an exciting process,” Albert said.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the month during which “dual operations” will begin.