Episcopal Senior Communities closes home care business, names preferred provider

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Episcopal Senior Communities' Spring Lake Village.
Episcopal Senior Communities' Spring Lake Village.

Episcopal Senior Communities has shuttered the home care business it operated in its six San Francisco-area continuing care retirement communities and has named Home Care Assistance its preferred provider of home care services.

Home Care Assistance will convert space in ESC communities to branch offices.

“We brought over all the ESC employees, and they are now HCA employees,” Katie Roper, Home Care Assistance vice president of healthcare strategy and partnerships, told McKnight's Senior Living. A total of about 100 caregivers will work at the communities, she added.

Residents continue to be able to use any home health agency they wish, as long as the choice conforms to ESC guidelines for background checks, certification, insurance, training and similar issues.

“But we will be the provider with whom Episcopal contacts directly for care they pay for,” Roper said.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Home Care Assistance CEO Lily Sarafan said that as part of the partnership, her company will provide some financial support for ESC residents in need through the organization's foundation.

The ESC Foundation raises funds to support life plan community residents who have outlived their financial assets (4% to 5% of residents), community engagement programs and special needs at the organization's affordable housing communities, said ESC Senior Vice President of Organizational Advancement Mary McMullin.

ESC' six CCRCs in California are in Pacific Grove, Oakland, Los Gatos, Santa Rosa, Palo Alto and San Francisco. The organization also provides no-cost and low-cost housing and services to seniors in need.

ESC has worked with Home Care Assistance on an ad-hoc basis for years, and the organization's leaders say they were impressed by the home care company's efforts during a recent emergency situation.

“We really got to see their willingness to go above and beyond in the care and support they provided during the Northern California wildfires last fall,” said ESC Chief Operating Officer Ron Schaefer. “Not only did they provide tremendous caregiving resources to our residents, but they also helped us supply around-the-clock-care to our most vulnerable evacuees.”

ESC's Spring Lake Village in Santa Rosa was the community most affected by the fires.

“We provided additional staffing in the communities like [St. Paul's Towers] in Oakland, which took in evacuees, because they needed additional hands,” Roper explained. “We also collected donations of supplies like toiletries, blankets and other things the people needed to be comfortable while they were away from their communities.”

Also, McMullin said, when ESC reopened a skilled nursing floor that had been closed for renovation in its San Francisco community to accommodate evacuees, “Home Care Assistance was able to help us staff 27 nursing beds within hours, which allowed for many Spring Lake Village residents to stay within our family of communities.

“Several independent residents developed support needs during the evacuation and relocation due to the upheaval and trauma of the situation and again, and we relied on Home Care Assistance for support, which they provided,” McMullin continued.

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