(Photo by John Merkle)

Heritage Communities has announced a new service line, Heritage OnCare Home Health, that will offer Medicare-certified services, including assistance with activities of daily living, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

The Omaha, NE-based company will begin by serving residents in the 12 senior living communities it owns and operates throughout Nebraska, Iowa and Arizona, and then will branch out to serve those living in other senior living communities and in traditional homes in the greater community, a Heritage spokeswoman told McKnight’s Senior Living.

“We consider it a great honor that families trust us to care for their loved ones, but we realize not everyone is ready to make the decision to move when additional help is needed,” Farhan Khan, CEO of Heritage Communities, said in a statement. “The goal of Heritage OnCare is to facilitate in bridging that gap and providing another solution.”

New patients will be accepted as early as January, and hospice care will be added to the service line in subsequent months, according to the company.

Established in 2001, Heritage Communities serves more than 1,100 residents and employs almost 900 people. Two additional communities are under development.

Heritage joins an increasing number of operators that are adding ancillary services, including therapy services, to their offerings.

In July, for instance, Newton, MA-based Five Star Senior Living formally announced its plans to expand its rehabilitation and wellness services to communities that it does not operate. Five Star Rehabilitation & Wellness was renamed Ageility Physical Therapy Solutions.

And in August, Brentwood, TN-bassed Brookdale Senior Living said it hopes to generate more revenue through resident and nonresident use of new and existing ancillary services such as home health, outpatient therapy and hospice services.

Brookdale Chief Financial Officer Cindy Baier said that the company had $13.1 million in operating income from ancillary services in the second quarter, a $5.9 million decline from the prior-year period. The decrease, she said, was caused by a drop in volume and a lower Medicare reimbursement rate that started Jan. 1. Hospice services continue to grow and outperformed last year, Baier said.