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St. Joseph's, Hackensack Meridian team up on home health, hospice services agencies

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John Lloyd of Hackensack Meridian Health, from left, Kevin Slavin of St. Joseph's Healthcare System and Robert Garrett of HMH sign the agreement.
John Lloyd of Hackensack Meridian Health, from left, Kevin Slavin of St. Joseph's Healthcare System and Robert Garrett of HMH sign the agreement. - ()

St. Joseph’s Healthcare System and Hackensack Meridian Health announced a jointly owned home health services agency and hospice services agency that would provide care to residents in Bergen, Passaic and parts of Morris counties.

The partnership will form two entities: Visiting Health Services of New Jersey and VHS Hospice Services of New Jersey.

The former is a full-service home health provider and Medicare-certified home care agency, and the latter provides a team including a physician medical director, certified nurses trained in hospice and palliative care, licensed clinical social workers, chaplains, hospice aides and trained volunteers.

Prior to Meridian’s merger with Hackensack, St. Joseph’s was in talks with Meridian, which has a reputation for home health care services, to work on a home and hospice care partnership.

“We’ve both been in the business for 30 years, so it’s not like it’s a new business we are getting into,” said John Lloyd, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health.

An aging population has created greater demand in the market for services, and especially for in-home health care.

Home health services

The agencies will provide:

  • Visiting skilled nursing, Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses;
  • In-home physical, occupational and speech therapy;
  • Home health aides who assist with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing and meal preparation;
  • Medical social workers who provide counseling, coordinate community services and assist with long-term planning;
  • Certified hospice services;
  • Nutritional counseling;
  • Wound care nursing;
  • Medication review and education;
  • Programs such as specialized home orthopedic and joint replacement, stroke, brain injury, bariatric and other condition-specific recovery programs.

 “St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, through Visiting Health Services, has been dedicated to providing quality care to patients in their homes for the past three decades,” said Kevin Slavin, CEO and president at St. Joseph’s. “Our partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health will further enhance our mission to improve the health and quality of life in the communities we serve. It will also ensure more patients experience a seamless transition from hospital to home, providing patients the professional care and support they need to accelerate their recovery or improve their quality of life with loved ones in the comfort of their own homes.”

In 2016 alone, the combined home visits between St. Joseph’s and HMH was 400,000.

A partnership with that much volume makes sense, said HMH co-CEO Robert Garrett.

Especially as the population requiring such services grows, which will rely on larger scale to improve cost of care, Slavin said.

Michelle Mendelson, vice president, Hackensack Meridian Health At Home, said, “Home care treatments and services are a critical part of our care continuum to successfully safeguard the health and well-being of our patients and families.”

Mendelson said the growth of business will translate into a need for more positions. Currently the venture is looking at adding up to 40 more positions, with further growth as needed, she said.

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