Pharos-Backed Charter Buys Physmed Home Health Care; SCAN Group Invests in Monogram

Staffing Reclaims Title of Home-Based Care Industry’s Biggest Challenge

The hot start to the 2021 dealmaking season continues.

Pharos Capital announced on Tuesday that its post-acute care provider platform, Charter Health Care Group, has acquired two home health and hospice assets in Omaha, Nebraska. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2006, Charter offers a range of post-acute care services, including home health, hospice and palliative care. The Southern California-based company additionally provides complex care management services — its “crown jewel.”

“There is a significant amount of people in the population who are chronic and frail, even terminal, that may not wish to be in hospice or end-of-life care services,” Charter CEO Steve J. Larkin told Home Health Care News in November. “We also know the patients that we’re caring for today are more complex and wish to be at home. Our growth strategy at Charter is to really focus on palliative care and complex care management services, making sure that we’re keeping patients out of the hospital.”

Charter currently serves more than 4,000 patients across 16 locations in six states, according to the PE-backed company.

Pharos Capital — dually based in Dallas, Texas, and Nashville, Tennessee — typically makes investments between $25 million and $50 million in rapidly growing middle-market companies seeking later-stage funding. It has invested in 54 companies overall, with roughly $1.2 billion of private equity assets under management.

The Omaha acquisitions are Physmed Home Health Care and Serene Care Hospice, two sister companies previously owned by Domer Sodusta. Physmed and Serene Care were both managed by CEO Jake Panowicz.

Physmed has served the Omaha area since 2003. The provider specializes in geriatric care, delivering traditional home health nursing and therapy services, as well as social work and dietician services.

Founded in 2013, Serene Care provides in-home end-of-life care, with services including nursing care, spiritual care, bereavement support and more.

“Especially over the past year, with traditional medical settings upended, home health and end-of-life services have become increasingly important to patient care,” Bob Crants, Pharos founding partner and chief investment officer, said in a statement. “From its home base in Southern California, Charter has expanded to additional markets in Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Salt Lake City. [It is now] pleased to take its post-acute platform to Omaha.”

Moving forward, former Physmed and Serene Care CEO Panowicz will serve as Charter’s new vice president of home health, responsible for nationwide operations, growth and clinical-quality initiatives.

“We are pleased to partner with Charter, as they share our mission of providing the best complex care solutions for patients, families and caregivers,” Panowicz said in a statement. “Charter’s culture and vision is similarly focused on improving patient outcomes and quality of care while reducing the total cost of care provided to chronic, complex and end-of-life patients.”

Charter’s latest home health and hospice deals come after four acquisitions in 2020.

SCAN Group makes new strategic investment

SCAN Group — whose holdings include SCAN Health Plan — has made a strategic investment in Monogram Health. Financial terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Monogram Health is a kidney care management company that provides at-home care and data-driven solutions for patients living with chronic kidney and end-stage renal disease. The investment is the first time SCAN has made an investment in an outside entity, according to the senior care-focused organization.

“This strategic partnership marks an important new chapter for SCAN and a valuable investment in the health of America’s seniors,” Dr. Sachin Jain, president and CEO of SCAN Group and SCAN Health Plan, said in a press release. “SCAN recognizes the tremendous challenges faced by the growing population of patients experiencing chronic kidney and end-stage renal disease, and we believe Monogram Health is doing the right work at the right time to serve this patient population.”

About 31 million Americans are living with chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease, according to the United States Renal Data System. Of those, more than 26 million are over age 65.

On its end, Monogram Health partners with health plans, physician practices, dialysis providers and clinically integrated health systems to develop personalized care plans that keep patients independent and at home.

Typically, Monogram’s in-home care model has helped it achieve hospital readmission rates far lower than the national average.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the home as a safe health care setting for dialysis and other kidney-related care,” Michael Uchrin, Monogram Health’s CEO and co-founder, said in the release. “Monogram’s solutions empower vulnerable patients with renal disease to be treated in the comfort and safety of their own homes. This innovative approach to managing kidney care delivery is improving health outcomes for a population that drastically needs and deserves better care.”

Monogram Health currently operates its renal disease care management programs across 20 states.

Bill Frist — a well-known health care innovator, former U.S. senator and the co-founder of Frist Cressey Ventures — serves as Monogram’s board chairman.

“We are pleased to partner with SCAN to offer advanced solutions that expand access to evidence-based therapies and proactive planning,” Frist said in the release. “By leveraging the power of Medicare Advantage plans to provide better care to older adults at a lower cost, both of our organizations will work together to ensure that people with kidney disease can take greater control of their health and quality of life.”

SCAN Health Plan is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit Medicare Advantage plans.

Shifting the treatment of chronic kidney disease into the home was among the top priorities of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Trump administration.

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