By Matthew Liptak
Hospice of the Chesapeake announced the finalization of its acquisition of Calvert Hospice Friday, June 17. Executive directors of both organizations said the move was a necessity as a result of economic and labor consequences of the pandemic.
“The pandemic absolutely informed our board’s decision to pursue a partnership with a larger organization,” stated Calvert Hospice Executive Director Sarah Simmons in an email. “Staffing challenges exacerbated by COVID-19, as well as an increasingly challenging regulatory and reimbursement environment were key factors in deciding to pursue this acquisition. We’ve collaborated and shared best practices with Hospice of the Chesapeake for many years, and…Hospice of the Chesapeake was a natural choice.”
Hospice of the Chesapeake Chief Executive Mike Brady agreed that COVID-19 was a strong factor in the acquisition. “The supply and staffing shortages we all experienced in 2020 and 2021, and in some cases continue to experience, made it clear that like-minded not-for-profit hospices needed to band together,” he wrote. “Better together is our new motto.”
Hospice of the Chesapeake acquired Hospice of Charles County in 2020 and has doubled the number of patients cared for each day, Brady noted.
Simmons said most of the staff from Calvert Hospice would transfer to Hospice of the Chesapeake, which is based in Pasadena. “As part of a larger not-for-profit organization, everyone involved, including patients, will benefit from a greater level of resources, economies of scale and collective bargaining opportunities ” stated Brady. “For example, team members now will have access to significantly larger options for health benefits.”
Simmons and Brady say that patients and families should not notice any change in their quality of care. Simmons wrote that adjustments for more significant changes would be accomplished over the course of several months.
Both directors stated that they had been fortunate to work alongside their hospice staff—a career that can be both very challenging and very rewarding, especially in recent times. “Even during the darkest days of the pandemic they never wavered, they never hesitated, and honestly, they stepped forward and asked ‘What more can we do?’” Brady wrote. “That is what commitment looks like, and I’m honored to work every day to support them.”