Apria consolidates billing, distribution facilities

Sunday, November 13, 2005

LAKE FOREST, Calif. - Apria Healthcare will close its Sacramento, Calif., billing office and lay off 75 people in January. Also in January, the national will open a 100,000-square-foot Woodland, Calif., distribution center that employs 75.

Both moves are part of the provider's strategy to reduce the number of billing and distribution facilities nationwide to save money in the face of reimbursement cuts, according to the Sacramento Business Journal. While it wants to keep services like in-home visits as close as possible to its patient base, the provider plans to consolidate back-office services like billing and distribution.

For instance, Apria plans to pare down the number of billing centers from 38 to less than 20 by the end of 2006. The provider claims neither move has anything to do with lackluster earnings for the third quarter, with its spokeswoman telling the business journal that consolidation has been something that the provider has had in its sights for a while.

Apria has more than 11,000 employees in 500 branch offices nationwide.

In other news, Apria repurchased approximately 7.3 million shares of its outstanding common stock last week. The transaction occurred Nov. 7 at a price per share of $23.83 for a total purchase price of $175 million. The repurchases are part of the company's previously announced $250 million share repurchase program.