County hopes to sell home health agency

Published 9:23 am Thursday, July 30, 2015

It wasn’t an easy decision. It wasn’t that difficult, either.

County Manager Mike Ruffin announced last week the county’s intent to sell the home health agency operated through the Davie County Health Department.

The hard part of the decision: 18 people will be losing their jobs with the county. The easy part: the county has been losing about $312,000 per year.

Ruffin said he thinks that 15 or so of the employees could be hired by the purchasing agency; and the other three will be in line for county jobs when they become available.

The plan is dependent on county commissoners adopting a declaration of intent to sell at its meeting Monday evening.

Ruffin said reimbursements as a result of the Affordable Care Act are some of the main reasons for the change.

“Several factors have contributed to the decline of the agency – none of which are the fault of county home health employees,” he said. “The changes in home health services reimbursements have had a significant impact on our department. The effects of managed care the the Affordable Care Act have decreased payment rates, making it nearly impossible for small departments such as ours to even break even.

“We recognize the financial loss the department is experiencing and consider this our best course of action for Davie County and the patients we serve.”

If commissioners approve the intent, the county will accept proposals from other home health agencies. Proposals will include a number of details, including the possibility of future employment for current home health staff by the new entity. The sale should be completed by the end of the year, Ruffin said.

“This is a tough decision for all involved, but in order to make up the loss of home health revenues and ultimately avoid a funding crisis, we feel this is in the best interest of all parties. High priority will be given to ensuring that our patients receive the same level of quality care we are now providing.

“We plan to work closely with staff who are affected by the sale throughout the process to answer questions and hopefully secure employment for them with the new buyer. We want to assure our patients and staff that we are advocating for them during this process.

“The successful purchaser will be a company that embraces the values and philosophy we have shown in providing this important service,” Ruffin said.