- Associated Press - Monday, June 20, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas is selling a home health care program to a Kentucky company for $39 million, state officials announced Monday

The Arkansas Department of Health announced it had signed an agreement with Kindred Healthcare, Inc. to sell the agency’s in-home health care operations. The state announced last August it was phasing out the program, which provides in-home services to about 3,380 people around the state.

As part of the deal, the Louisville-based company has agreed to retain 280 state employees and 1,500 contract employees who work on the program, the agency said. State officials had cited financial constraints and competition from the private sector as reasons for phasing out the program.

“It strengthens our state financially, but it also turns over to the private sector a mission that we were in essence competing with them on. That made no sense to me,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters.

Kindred also agreed to serve all of the program’s current customers under the deal.



The company was among six firms that bid to take over the program, according to the Health Department.

“We look forward to the agency’s caregivers joining our team and believe we can provide our new colleagues with enhanced opportunities for professional growth and development,” Benjamin A. Breier, Kindred’s president and chief executive officer, said in a news release.

Hutchinson said the money for the sale will go toward the state reserve fund and the state is paying employees who stay with the program through the transition a bonus.

Participation in the program has declined steadily over the past several years, and revenue has dropped from $71.5 million in the 2011 fiscal year to $58.6 million in the fiscal year that just ended.

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