sign of what is to come

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A sign of what is to come?

I concluded a post recently by saying that the big corporate hospices had won another battle, and that it was going to be even harder for the small guy to make it. Guess, I may have overestimated the health of the big hospices. Trinity Hospice, which is a subsidiary of Sunrise Senior Living (NYSE: SRZ), is shutting it’s doors. Here is the “announcement” within their most recent financial report:

In October 2008, the Company determined not to provide any additional funding for ongoing operations to our Trinity subsidiary due to the continued losses experienced by that subsidiary. As a result, the Company expects to write-off the remaining goodwill and other intangible assets related to Trinity of approximately $9.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. As a result of this decision to cease funding by the Company, Trinity’s board of directors has decided it will discontinue operations by the end of the year.

Trinity’s website is already gone, so I can’t figure out how many offices Trinity had. I know there are a lot of Trinity Hospices across the nation, but I can’t quite figure out if they were all related. There is a press release from the time Sunrise acquired Trinity that says that Trinity was the eighth largest hospice in the nation and that the purchase price was 68 million dollars.

I guess there is pain all around the hospice industry. I’d love to know if the Medicare Cap, bad business practices, or just plain life was what brought this company to its knees.

If you know more about this, please feel free to leave comments to supplement the limited information I have here.

10 comments:


Anonymous
said…

Knowing someone who used to work for Trinity, they closed down and abandoned most of their patients on Friday. Of course there is a transition for some, but many nurses and staff were given a 4-hour get out. No severance, just a boot. Thankfully in some areas, such as Casa Grande AZ, other hospices in the area took up their work force and patients. But, Trinity closed well over two dozen branches, in some communities where they were the only hospice.


Anonymous
said…

As far as the reason for its failure, it was poor business practices, the failure of Sunrise Senior Living to understand a capitated payment system (they are mostly private pay), and the loss of key staff. The past CEO, Steve Plochocki, left the company in a great position upon sale to Sunrise, but the new CEO hired like minded staff and they drove the company into the ground. Want to lower nuring pay…check. Want to hire just new grads to work for below market rate…check. Want to increase patient load…check. Want to to rotate management with unexperienced staff…check. Some centers lost 70% of their patients prior to being shut down. That, combined with the OIG investigation and that Sunrise seems to believe that they can dodge any fines it by shutting Trinity down…well…the rest is history. http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS148974+18-Mar-2008+PRN20080318


Anonymous
said…

im sure it is poor business practices – everything about money all the time –

I have a bad taste for hospice – what a joke – the killing doctors – and then they are not there when it happens!!!!!


Anonymous
said…

Sunrise shut down all of the Trinity’s Nation wide I believe that there was 29 centers total that had to close their door’s. Most of which are closing on 11/14/2008. some of the staff were informed of the closure a little over a week ago. While yes the Nurse’s will be able to get other jobs, some staff will not and when a center closes in a small community it affects the whole community, not just the patients and the staff.


Anonymous
said…

The patients were transferred to other hospices if they chose to, they were not abandoned.Some Nurses and HHA, SW and SC were kept on to help with the transfers. The staff had a two day notice and there was no severance package. It was poor business practices, people who did not understand the payment system and some Sunrise Commmunites would not give Trinity a chance until it was forced on them from upper management. Not to mention the new offices that were opened in areas with numerous Sunrise communites and getting the provider number taking longer (if ever)than expected. The Trinity employees that I knew were professional, hard working and it was all about the patient and family. To all the Trinity employees my thoughts are with you as you go through this difficult time

Tim Cousounis
said…

Simply put, there are too many hospices in the US. Rather than a sign of “what is to come”, this Trinity shutdown is the latest example of “what has come” to the hospice industry. We will continue to see the closure , or consolidation, of hospices with offices serving an average daily census of less than 100.

Tim Cousounis
MDVantage Palliative Care Group

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Anonymous
said…

as a former Trinity employee at the corporate location in Dallas, it was my opinion that the demise was from the top down. Mr. Plochocki, was a turn around CEO hired by the owning private equity firm and did an outstanding job getting the company to stand on its own two feet. The day that Trinity was sold to Sunrise and Mr. Plochocki stepped down was the first day to the road to ruin. The new president of the company, the former CFO, was incompentent, listened to no one who was experienced and hired decision makers (named the VP of Finance, Rita Andrews) who knew nothing of the hospice industry was only looking at pure financial numbers. Many good hard working folks who made the company what it was were forced out if they did not tow the company line of $$$. The president of the company took off to another job the minute the writing hit the wall and this just doomed Trinity quicker. A lot of people weren’t surprised with Trinity’s closing but the quickness and the cold heartness of Sunrise was the real surprise.


Anonymous
said…

I am curious as to why the employee severance package was changed one to two days before the closing? I am also curious as to why the CEO of only six months recieved a 300,000.00 severance package. What did she do that was worth that kind of money? They could have spread that money around to the emploees who really needed it, instead of lining someones pockete who wasn’t even there long enough to make a difference one way or the other.


Anonymous
said…

I did used to work for Trinity. At first, it was a good company. Then, the hospice market boomed. There were over 15 hospices in a 20 sq mile radius. Basically, they were paying nurse managers an inordinate amount of money. Their main program managers were also getting the high end of the stick.

The marketers were abysmal concentrating mainly on “obtaining” facilities and marketing to private assisted living facilities. Marketers are for marketing services, not doing the paperwork of signing up a patient. In terms of that, there was one marketing specialist that came from Odyssey Hospice who thought that a paper bag filled with treats and a brochure was an effective way to market. She had no business sense whatsoever for this industry.

They did not try to get the word out to the community as I attempted. Doctors are going to let the patient decide for themselves which hospice they prefer. Furthermore, our own medical directors were not recommending our services.

All in all, this company was as good and bad as any other hospice company. I got out because this industry is soon going to see the days that home health experienced with all the regulation attached. It’s a shame this industry which is supposed to be palliative in nature has become so cutthroat.