Gentiva adds to managed care biz

Monday, March 31, 2003

MELVILLE, N.Y. - Gentiva Health Services gained entrée to a nice chunk of business in February when its homecare network - which coordinates DME, IV, O&P, respiratory therapy and nursing services - signed a statewide contract as a preferred provider for Sloans Lake Managed Care.

CareCentrix will manage and coordinate the full-range of home care services for Sloans Lake.

While a number of provider networks, including HME networks Legend Healthcare and the Coram Resource Network, couldn’t cut the competition or signed unprofitable contracts and went out of business, CareCentrix has grown steadily in recent years.

Since debuting in 1996 when Gentiva signed the largest capitated deal in the home care industry with Cigna Healthcare, CareCentrix has added 2,500 to 3,000 provider locations and now handles 16 managed care contracts. Apria Healthcare provides much of CareCentrix’s DME and respiratory therapy needs.

Gentiva President Al Perry sees future for growth for CarCentrix, but acknowledges the company sometimes has to overcome some “historic negative experience” due to past network failures.

Nevertheless, “We are seeing a lot of interest and in some degree it’s due to the caregiver shortage,” Perry said.

Additionally, for larger manage care networks, the one-stop-shop provider network delivers savings of time and money, said Dave Kazynski, president VGM’s provider network Home Link, which grew 35% last year with minimal marketing.

When it comes to provider networks, managed care companies no longer look just for the guy with the lowest price, Kazynski said.

“I think they are more cautious,” he said. “They ask a lot more questions. They do more due diligence. They are looking for someone who provides good quality service because they want their beneficiaries taken care of. It isn’t as rate driven.” HME