McCusker pours $20 million into home-health business

2013-02-28T00:00:00Z 2014-07-30T17:17:19Z McCusker pours $20 million into home-health businessStephanie Innes Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 28, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Local executive Fletcher J. McCusker is launching a Tucson-based home-health-care business with more than $20 million in capital.

McCusker announced Wednesday that he has started Sinfonía Healthcare, which has immediate plans to acquire four Tucson home health providers and hopes to expand into New Mexico, Florida and California.

McCusker would not disclose the names of the four Tucson-based providers that Sinfonía is in the process of purchasing.

The for-profit business, which officially incorporated Wednesday, is based out of a 10,000-square-foot warehouse at 1 E. Toole Ave. in downtown. It will focus on the rapidly expanding home health industry driven by the changes in federal health law, company officials said.

Sinfonía currently employs six people but expects its workforce to grow, and in particular expects to need skilled nurses, McCusker said. If deals on acquiring the four local home health providers go through, that will immediately add 50 employees, he said.

Among other things, the business will offer home-based nursing, physical therapy, speech therapy, hospice, companion care, durable medical equipment and pharmacology, he said.

McCusker predicts that full implementation of the federal health law will drive a need for his business. When provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act kick in, millions of previously uninsured Americans are expected to be covered by health plans, and there will be an even greater need to keep people out of hospitals, he said.

The Tucson community already has an adequate offering of good home health agencies, many that have been here for a long time, said Jim Murphy, president and chief executive officer of the Pima Council on Aging. But he said McCusker is correct that there is a huge and growing need to reduce readmissions to the hospital.

"In the future, I think the market might stand increases, but today it's fairly well covered," Murphy said.

Sinfonía's funding includes a commitment of more than $20 million for acquisitions from Alliance Bank of Arizona and Petra Capital of Nashville, McCusker said, adding that the company is still raising money.

McCusker was the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Tucson-based Providence Service Corp., a social service firm he left at the end of 2012. He is also a major booster of downtown redevelopment. He was named chairman of the Rio Nuevo downtown development authority in June.

McCusker is Sinfonía's founder and chief executive officer. Joining him will be former Providence Chief Financial Officer Michael Deitch and former Providence director of IT network operations Jeff Pochily.

The company's name comes from the Spanish word for symphony, an appropriate symbol for a company that is bringing together different home health functions to work together as one entity, McCusker said.

"We want to build a home-health-care business whose primary focus is on quality of care, care coordination and patient outcome," he said.

"Most providers of home health are organized vertically, providing just one type of service. No one is approaching home health in an effort to operate the full continuum of care. We believe this creates a great opportunity for consolidation in a very fragmented industry."

An incredible amount of consolidation is already occurring in the home-health-care sector, said Pima County Medical Director Dr. Francisco Garcia, adding that he is not familiar with Sinfonía.

"No point of the Affordable Care Act jumps out as putting a tremendous demand on home health. But I do think the emphasis on quality of care means sometimes it's better to get care in the home than in an institution," Garcia said.

Innovations in home-based geriatric and hospice care are emerging in the Tucson area, and Garcia said he can see where that kind of medical care would make sense for meeting the quality care that the health law both promotes and demands.

"We know bad things can happen in hospitals, like falls and medication errors," he said. "So there are reasons for trying to deliver care in a noninstitutional setting."

Contact reporter Stephanie Innes at sinnes@azstarnet.com or 573-4134.

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