When catheter manufacturer C.R. Bard Inc. (NYSE: BCR) recently announced plans to purchase Liberator Medical Holdings Inc. (NYSEMKT: LBMH) for $181 million, CEO Timothy Ring recognized the growing need to treat at patients at home.
“As the population ages and more health care is expected to occur outside of the hospital setting, we believe that having direct access to the patient in the home is strategically important,” Ring said at the time. Stuart, Florida-based Liberator is a direct-to-consumer distributor of home medical supplies, such as catheters, including some of Bard’s products.
It is not just an aging population that is driving deals in the home medical space, but also financial pressure on providers. The Affordable Care Act has been cutting reimbursement payments to health care professionals across the board, lowering margins, especially for smaller players. This has been a reason for companies to consolidate, not just in medical device distribution, but also among personal service providers, such as hospice and home nurses.
Home care provider Amedisys Inc. (Nasdaq: AMED), headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, reported in November 2015 its intentions to buy Infinity HomeCare from HealthEdge Investment Partners LLC for $63 million. Sarasota, Florida-based Infinity provides home-based health care to more than 14,000 patients through about 600 nurses, therapists, medical social workers and home health aides.
Home Nursing provider Almost Family Inc. (Nasdaq: AFAM) has also been active with deals. In November 2015, the company announced plans to purchase Black Stone Operations LLC for $40 million. Black Stone, based in Kenwood, Ohio, provides home nursing care. In 2015, Almost Family completed its purchase of Will Health Care, another provider of home health services. Almost Family, headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, indicated that will continue seeking acquisitions that would expand its geographic presence.