June 28, 2012 | last updated June 28, 2012 2:24 pm

UMass Announces Sale Of Home Health Care Business To VNA

UMass Memorial Medical Center has agreed to sell its home-based health care services arm to VNA Care Network & Hospice, the center and VNA announced.

The sale of UMass Memorial Home Health and Hospice comes after UMass saw its budget surplus fall by more than two-thirds in 2011 to $27.9 million, a result of investment portfolio losses and a deficit in its Health Ventures business, of which the home health group is a part.

The sale is expected to be completed in the fall. Stephen Tosi, senior vice president and chief medical officer at UMass Memorial Health Care, said UMass faced competition in its home health business.

"To continue to provide the acute care services our community relies on, we recognized we must choose to stop providing some services that other community resources can provide more affordably and with the same high quality," Tosi said.

UMass Memorial said as the transition gets underway, it will continue to care for its home health and hospice patients and accept new referrals. Its staff makes about 85,000 home health and 28,000 hospice visits annually.

VNA was chosen after UMass Memorial reviewed proposals from other state and national providers of home-based care because officials believe its mission, vision and values match those of UMass Memorial's. UMass Memorial's home health business has about 150 employees and Tosi said they could make the move to nonprofit VNA.

"We recognize that a sale impacts our employees and are pleased that by working with VNA Care Network & Hospice we can keep as many jobs as possible within our community as VNA Care Network & Hospice has expressed its interest in discussing potential employment opportunities with our highly trained staff affected by this sale," Tosi said.

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UMass Memorial Cutting 140 Jobs

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