Board of Health approves sale of High Country Health Systems
Last modified: Dec. 6
The sale High Country Health Care Systems, a nonprofit home health and hospice care organization located in Jefferson, has been approved by the Appalachian District Board of Health, according to Appalachian District Health Department Director of Health Beth Lovette.
Lovette said the board of health approved the asset purchase agreement and noncompete clause with South Carolina-based Medical Services of America during a Nov. 29 meeting.
“At this point, all organizations are working on a comprehensive press release,” said Lovette. “This week is MSA's annual meeting and most of the folks that would work on such things are tied up at the moment.”
Lovette told the Ashe County Board of Commissioners on Nov. 5 that South Carolina based Medical Services of America was, “The top company in the running.”
“I say in the running because the deal could fall apart and we could be looking at the second best deal,” said Lovette.
MSA is a “comprehensive home healthcare provider that offers home healthcare, hospice service, home medical equipment, diabetic supply, and respiratory services,” according to the company's website.
The company reportedly began its business based on the concept of, “total home health care,” and said the company's expansion “has been guided with that concept in mind.”
Each of the companies offices is company owned (not franchised) “to ensure the highest quality of home care services.”
Prior to the sale, the Appalachian District Health Department owned 66.5 percent of High Country Health Care Systems that has provided healthcare services to Alleghany, Ashe and Watauga Counties for more than three decades.
The remaining 33.5 percent of the hospice provider was owned by Ashe Memorial Hospital.
Beginning in June, Appalachian District Health Department searched for potential buyers of HCHCS when the agency first announced public meetings to discuss the sales process.
“After declining revenues over the last couple of years, we've pulled in a consultant and we're in the process of evaluating and planning to sell High Country Health Care Systems,” Lovette told Ashe County Commissioners on Nov. 19.
Bids were then displayed in the HC offices to the public.
Lovette told commissioners MSA appeared to be a “good company to work with.”
“I have to commend the staff of High County Health Care because they have been absolutely really good to work with and as positive about this big change in their lives,” said Lovette. “I also think they're looking forward to working with a larger, stable company.”
Lovette said if the deal remains attractive to all parties, she anticipates the board of health will take official action to approve the sale to Medical Service of America on Nov. 29.
“After that, there is some additional approval that has to go on by folks in Raleigh ... it's a very difficult process because we're a public entity and High Country is a nonprofit,” said Lovette.
“We anticipate that the closing date for the sale will be no sooner than 30-60 days after Nov. 29 and could be much delayed.”