Alpine Home Health and Hospice enjoys growth under new owner

PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON—Alpine Home Health and Hospice had a ribbon-cutting Nov. 29 at its office at 2764 Compass Drive, Suite 110. Alpine Hospice is under new ownership

Alpine Home Health and Hospice has been able to expand its hospice and home-health sides since new ownership took over last year.

Austin, Texas-based Harden Healthcare acquired Alpine in August 2010 when Harden purchased Voyager Hospice Care Inc., which had owned Alpine since October 2008. Harden owns senior-care facilities in 14 states.

Alpine Home Health and Alpine Hospice have operated separately but cooperatively since 2008 and are located side-by-side at 2764 Compass Drive in suites 108B and 110, respectively. Alpine Home Health and Alpine Hospice also have side-by-side locations in Glenwood Springs and Montrose and opened an office earlier this year in Durango. The company opened another office a year ago in Westminster under the name Colorado Hospice.

Alpine Hospice added up to 25 new positions on the central Western Slope since Harden purchased the company, according to Judith Shue, director of patient services at the hospice’s Grand Junction, Montrose and Glenwood Springs offices. Gay Anderson, business development specialist at Alpine Home Health in Grand Junction, said the home health office doubled its nursing positions to eight since the 2010 buyout.

“The buyout has been phenomenal because we have a lot of things now that we never had before as a small independent,” Anderson said, referring to the seven years before Voyager and Harden, when Alpine operated independently.

In addition to adding staff, Alpine Home Health introduced a new disease-management program and offers patients and their families a booklet that describes diseases in plain English.

Anderson said the company has been able to expand because the number of in-home health care patients it serves has grown. The home health care industry is bracing for possible cuts in Medicare funding, she said, but for now, the business “is holding its own.”

Client numbers also increased at Alpine Hospice, which provides end-of-life care to terminally ill patients. Shue said the hospice division went from no patients at its opening in 2008 to having 40 to 60 patients in 2009 before doubling in 2010. Alpine Hospice currently serves an average of 100 to 120 people at a time, she said.

Shue said a combination of earning people’s trust through quality care and providing an alternative to Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado has helped the business add clients.

“We’re the first second hospice in the community,” Shue said. “This community only knew one hospice for several years. When you go to a metro area, there are dozens of hospices.”

Shue said she is thrilled the company was picked up by a large company like Harden.

“We’re local people serving local people, but we have the stability and experience of a larger company behind us,” she said.

The company’s future goals include extending services into other areas, such as Meeker, Shue said.


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