By Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice on September 1, 2021
On Sept. 1, a little over two months after the Dare County Commissioners approved the $2.9 million sale of the county’s Home Health and Hospice (HH&H) Agency, BrightSpring Health Services announced the formal acquisition.
A release issued by Kentucky-based BrightSpring stated that “Dare County’s home health and hospice team will join BrightSpring’s Adoration Home Health and Hospice business and will operate as Adoration Home Health and Hospice. Adoration will continue operations in the Outer Banks, NC, and the surrounding area.” BrightSpring serves more than 60,000 clients, customers and patients daily in 50 states.
Dare County began exploring the sale of HH&H late in 2020, explaining that it could not financially sustain the operation and had difficulty retaining employees. In April 2021, the commissioners approved a non-binding Letter of Intent with BrightSpring, a for-profit agency and one of four entities that submitted offers to the county that ranged from $250,000 to the high bid of $2.9 million by BrightSpring.
But the path to the BrightSpring sale was not without its bumps. The April announcement of the Letter of Intent sparked a social media and email campaign urging commissioners to keep the agency under the county’s umbrella, arguing that the care offered to patients would suffer under the control of an outside agency. A petition to that effect also included hundreds of signatures.
At an April 19 public hearing, about a dozen local residents, include a half dozen HH&H employees, made impassioned pleas, asking the Dare County Commissioners to reconsider its plan to sell HH&H, contending instead that the county should invest and make changes within the agency.
In early May, in an effort to retain staff for a pending sale, the commissioners approved retention bonuses for current HH&H employees.
In the Sept. 1 release by BrightSpring, President of Home Health Care and Rehabilitation Services Rexanne Domico states that, “The addition of Dare County’s home health and hospice business is consistent with our quality and growth strategies to enhance our home health platform through a unique set of complementary offerings. Together we have an opportunity to provide greater benefits to patients, as well as community and payor stakeholders.”
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