Choice Health acquires privately held Instant Care, enters Arizona market

Texas-based Choice Health at Home entered the personal care space with the acquisition of Instant Care of Arizona for an undisclosed sum.

The transaction also gives Choice its first foothold in the Grand Canyon State. Established in 2003, Instant Care of Arizona provides senior home care and care support to patients and their families in Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, among 15 other cities in the Maricopa County area.

The deal aligns with Choice’s goals of geographic expansion in the Southwest while building the continuum of services they offer to patients in their service regions of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and now Arizona.

“When we really think along the lines of this complete continuum [of home-based care], we are developing our provider line or home health and hospice line,” Choice Health at Home CEO David Jackson previously told Hospice News. “We have plans in those states over the next two quarters to really expand our footprint.”

Originally founded in 2008 as a provider of rehabilitation services, Choice expanded into home healthcare in 2012 and later into hospice in 2018. In 2020, the company partnered with investment firms Trive Capital and Coltala Holdings to expanded its reach as a post-acute care company.

Earlier this year, Choice secured a $190 million credit facility led by Oxford Finance, a global specialty finance firm focused on life sciences and healthcare investments. With this injection of capital, Choice purchased Kindful Hospice and Amed Home.

Kindful Hospice operates six locations in Oklahoma and Kansas, and Amed has eight offices in Texas. Amed is not affiliated with publicly traded home health and hospice provider Amedisys (NASDAQ: AMED ).

In 2021, Choice completed 10 transactions within home health and hospice. These include the acquisition of two Oklahoma-based companies, Alpha Home Health and Hospice and Angelic Hospice.

“Our journey at Choice has always been about creating a continuum of care in the home,” Trina Lanier, Choice president and co-founder of the hospice and home health segments, said in a statement. “This is a great step and one that creates an excellent start for the state of Arizona.”

Similar to national demographic trends, the demand for serious illness and end-of-life care is expected to swell in Arizona. The state’s 1.3 million seniors represent 18.3 percent of its total population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. By 2050, nearly 2.5 million people in the state will be 65 and older, the Arizona Department of Health predicts.

The state ranks third in the nation in hospice use. More than 58 percent of Medicare beneficiaries in Arizona chose hospice in 2018, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Instant Care COO Oliver Fultz has led the company for more than a decade and will join Choice as regional vice president of operations.

Deal volume for non-medical home care companies outpaced that of hospice or home health in the first half of the year. As of the end of the second quarter, that included 23 deals, compared with 17 each for Medicare-certified home health care and hospice, according to a report by mergers and acquisitions advisory firm Mertz Taggart.

In addition, a growing number of hospice providers are showing interest in the personal care space, often through acquisitions.

“We see this (personal care) service as very supportive of home health and hospice,” Jackson said in a statement. “To that end, we are expanding private obligations in the state of Texas to meet similar needs in that state. We will continue to look for quality businesses in home health, companionship, personal care and hospice.”

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