Dare commissioners agree to sell home health, hospice agency to Kentucky-based firm

The Dare County Board of Commissioners has voted to approve the sale of the Dare County Home Health & Hospice agency to BrightSpring Health Services for $2.9 million.

The votes to approve the resolution authorizing the sale of the agency were cast during the Dare County Board of Commissioners meeting that was held at 5 p.m. on Monday, June 21, 2021. The resolution passed with a 6-0 vote. Commissioner Rob Ross was not able to attend the meeting and therefore was unable to cast a vote.

Dare Home Health & Dare Hospice is a county-owned agency that provides in-home, medical services and hospice support services to residents of Dare County ranging in age from newborns and infants to elderly individuals. In late 2020, Dare County Manager Bobby Outten received approval from the Dare County Board of Commissioners to explore the option of selling the agency, primarily due to staffing shortages that have limited the number of patients that could be cared for by the agency.

In addition to holding public hearings to obtain public comment on the potential sale of the agency, the Dare County Board of Commissioners also carefully studied the future needs of the agency and the needs of the patients that it serves. After extensive consideration, Dare County officials determined that the sale of the agency was the most appropriate course of action to take in order to maintain a proper level of care for patients throughout Dare County and their families.

The county received four bids in the spring of 2021—including BrightSpring’s $2.9 million offer—and at the Dare County Board of Commissioners meeting held on April 7, 2021, the board voted unanimously to approve a non-binding Letter of Intent with BrightSpring and to move forward with discussions about the sale.

At the Board of Commissioners meeting held on May 3, 2021, the board unanimously approved a retention bonus that would be awarded to current Dare Home Health & Hospice employees who remained employed with the agency following its then-proposed sale.

This retention bonus—which was intended to help alleviate some of the financial concerns of employees and also to ensure a continuity of care for patients—was set at 10 percent of an employee’s salary. Employees will receive 50 percent of their bonus upon the closing of the agency’s sale to the new provider, and they will receive the remaining 50 percent of the bonus after they have been employed by BrightSpring for a period of six months.

At the June 21, 2021, Board of Commissioners meeting, Outten emphasized that—in addition to the retention bonus—all county employees who are currently employed by Dare Health & Home Hospice will be guaranteed a job with BrightSpring, as well as healthcare coverage.

Per the contract of the sale of Dare Home Health & Hospice, BrightSpring’s services must cover the entire service area of Dare County, and if the agency breaches that agreement the certificate of need will revert back to the county. In addition, the contract also states that BrightSpring cannot transfer the certificate of need—which would effectively sell the agency—to another entity for a period of three years.