Rivercross Hospice has completed an acquisition that expands its Oklahoma footprint east to the Arkansas border.
Mark Rowe, Rivercross president and owner, said his five-year-old company has acquired the Coweta and Muskogee, Okla., operations of SolAmor Hospice. The Wichita-based company also operates locations in Wellington and Winfield. Its other Oklahoma operations are in Bartlesville, Pryor and Tulsa.
Rowe said the acquisition brings Rivercross’ patient total to more than 400. The company has more than 160 employees.
“The acquisition allows the hospice to provide more service to patients and families,” Rowe said Wednesday.
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Most of all, Rowe said, it gets Rivercross to the point where it has economies of scale on items such as salaries. Last year, for example, he said Medicare implemented a new regulation that required hospices like his to have physicians or nurse practitioners visit the patients it takes care of. That’s in addition to other licensed staff, such as registered nurses.
The simple act of acquiring two operations from California-based SolAmor means that “we can afford to do that,” Rowe said. He added that the cost of complying with the new regulation cost Rivercross about $200,000.
He said the acquisition also included an electronic medical records system, “and our folks that are actively seeing patients are exponentially more efficient.”
“It’s really been a great investment for us,” Rowe said.
Rivercross is Rowe’s second hospice. He was the founder and CEO of Hospice Care of Kansas, which was sold to Texas-based Voyager HospiceCare in 2004. Harden Healthcare, also in Texas, acquired Voyager in 2010.
Rowe said he had plans to get out of the hospice business with the Hospice Care sale but realized “this is what I love.”
He started Rivercross in 2007 in Oklahoma because a noncompete agreement with Voyager would not allow him to start another Wichita hospice until 2008, he said.
About 60 percent of Rivercross’ business is in Oklahoma; Kansas accounts for the remaining 40 percent.
Rowe said he doesn’t expect to make more acquisitions this year.
“I think we’re done buying things,” he said. “The plan is to open two or three more sites this year.”