Abington Health to acquire North Penn VNA
Abington Health announced Tuesday that it plans to acquire the North Penn Visiting Nurse Association, expanding its home health care services in a greater geographic area.
The parent of Abington Memorial and Lansdale hospitals said it signed a letter of intent Nov. 2 to bring the NPVNA under its corporate umbrella. The transaction is expected be completed in April 2013, following a 60-day due diligence period.
“We are excited to explore the opportunity to bring this organization to Abington Health as part of our strategy to form partnerships in preparation for the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” Abington Health President and CEO Laurence M. Merlis said in a Nov. 13 press release.
The acquisition will allow Abington Health to “integrate and expand as more health care will take place at home,” Merlis said in a Wednesday interview. Going forward, care will be provided at “the most appropriate needs and level,” he said. “The trends in medicine do allow many patients to have care on an outpatient or home care or office-based” basis, rather than in the hospital.
“Our organization is able to provide a full continuum of care,” Merlis said. In addition to its own home health care services, “this is another part of the market to partner with an organization that has a longterm quality reputation in home health care.”
The NPVNA provides services in the greater Lansdale area and already works with Lansdale Hospital, Merlis said.
“It provides a lot of synergy,” he said of the acquisition.
Located on the same campus as Lansdale Hospital, the NPVNA has “always had a professional relationship with the hospital [formerly North Penn and Central Montgomery] there,” NPVNA Executive Director Kitty Fitzgerald said Wednesday. “We are respected for our strength in the community as a health care provider and as a preferred provider for health care services.”
In addition to providing home health care and hospice services, NPVNA offers adult day services, chronic care management, Meals on Wheels, a children’s clinic and dental clinic, health education programs, support groups, health screenings and CPR training.
The decision to partner with “a well-respected organization will position them in response to the Affordable Care Act and health care in the future,” Fitzgerald said. “Abington was a wonderful choice for visiting nurses.”
The health care reform act is designed to “provide patients with more seamless, efficient health care; it can improve the quality of outcomes,” she said. By aligning with other providers, “integrating home and acute care will benefit outcomes and being able to share information will benefit outcomes.”
The 100 NPVNA nurses, therapists and home health aides will become Abington Health employees, joining the 200 employees in Abington’s home health department who provide home care and hospice to residents in parts of Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.
As part of Abington Health, the VNA’s programs “will be appropriately aligned with programs in the Abington system,” said Fitzgerald, who will become director of home care for all of Abington Health. The merger of the two will mean a “reorganization and realignment” for the visiting nurses association, but there will be no layoffs, she said.
“It’s an opportunity to see growth,” Merlis said. “We expect in time to hire additional people.”
“One of the things organizations are looking to do is come together; a certain synergy and scale makes sense,” he said. “When cultures are so similar … the mission and purpose, there are advantages to both organizations.”
Abington had attempted a larger merger earlier this year, announcing a joint venture with Holy Redeemer Hospital June 26, but that plan was dropped in mid-July following a public and internal backlash to the Catholic hospital’s insistence that the deal preclude Abington Memorial Hospital from providing abortion services.
There will be “other partnership opportunities for Abington … we’re all looking for ways to collaborate,” Merlis said, but the health system is “not negotiating with anyone at this time.”
The acquisition will enable Abington Health to grow its services and provide additional resources to the community “in our focus on the future of health care,” he said.