CareFinders has expanded its footprint in the Northeast once again. This time, the expansion comes in Pennsylvania via a move that’s consistent with the growth strategy CareFinders has followed and accelerated since CEO Jim Robinson took charge in October 2018.

The Hackensack, New Jersey-based personal home care agency announced Tuesday that it had acquired the Clarks Summit-based At Home Quality Care and Philadelphia Home Care Inc. These recent moves, on top of its October entrance into Connecticut, now puts CareFinders in three states in the Northeast. 

CareFinders did not disclose financial terms of the two Pennsylvania acquisitions.

There’s a long and diligent process that precedes the acquisitions, Robinson told Home Health Care News.

“For us, we don’t need to go mile-wide, inch-deep — we’re really looking for depth,” Robinson said. “Because this is such a mom-and-pop business, you really have to do a fair amount of due diligence. Not just on the financial part, but specifically on the clinical side — the quality of care, patient chart-checking, and employee file-checking as well. That way, we have as good of a handle as possible on the quality of the organization.”

In addition to that due diligence, CareFinders also seeks agencies with scale and an outlook of solid growth moving forward, he added.

“But we’re really looking for the ability to quantify the quality of the care that they’re providing and the quality of the work experience they’re providing for their home health aides,” Robinson said.

CareFinders has expanded aggressively and has 19 locations in New Jersey, three in Connecticut, and two in Pennsylvania with the latest acquisitions. Today, it is one of the biggest home care agencies in the Northeast.

At least for the time being, its growth strategy will be confined to that area.

“On the macro-level for CareFinders, we have a pretty tight focus on regional density,” Robinson said. “You’re not going to catch us looking for acquisitions in Hawaii or California. We’re really focused right here in the Northeast. We’re big in New Jersey, we’re bigger in Connecticut, and now into Pennsylvania.”

Overall, the personal care market for New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut adds up to a roughly $3 billion market, according to the CEO.

Further potential expansion aside, CareFinders’ 2020 outlook is optimistic.

The hope is to position itself to turn forecasted industry challenges into opportunities in the coming year.

For instance, a state like Pennsylvania — where CareFinders is now present — has a Medicaid population too large to deal with on its own. Managed care organizations (MCOs) will continue to prefer outcome-based care, and CareFinders feels like it can find a way to assist in that mission.

“By quantifying our outcomes, we’re very close to providing skilled, home health-level outcomes at a non-skilled rate, and that’s a significant challenge for us to do,” Robinson said. “But at the same time, it’s a huge opportunity. It can be a headwind for a lot of people because the managed Medicaid providers are looking for outcomes.”

Agencies need to prove that having someone in the home, helping out with patients’ daily activities, will in the end save money for managed Medicaid — all at a rate not far from minimum wage.

That issue also gets placed in the CareFinders’ folder of challenges-turned-opportunities, according to Robinson.

“It’s a huge opportunity. You can see dollars spent shipping to the companies and organizations that can do that because it’s much more cost-effective,” Robinson said. “That whole concept of in-home quality care that’s not skilled, but is kind of maintenance and in-home, is appreciated by the state because they certainly don’t have the dollars to put everyone in a facility.”

Regardless of the potential headwinds and tailwinds, CareFinders will be bigger — and, they hope, better — moving into 2020 and beyond.

As of October, CareFinders provided in-home care services to more than 8,500 patients. Prior to the two Peennsylvania deals, its most recent acquisition was DanielCare Caring Choice in Connecticut, a mostly private-duty in-home care provider.

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