Olsten and Caretenders each shift focus with name changes

By MEREDITH BONNER

HHBR Editor

Two major players in the home care arena are hoping a change will do them good. Olsten Health Services (Melville, NY), which recently spun off from its parent Olsten Corp., is now operating under the name Gentiva Health Services. And Caretenders (Louisville, KY), hoping to turn the focus on its more profitable adult day care services, has changed its name to Almost Family.

In August, Olsten Corp. announced plans to merge its staffing and technology businesses with temporary staffing firm Adecco S.A. (Lausanne, Switzerland) and split off its health services business as an independent, publicly held company, a move that some analysts called a mistake at the time. But Olsten has given itself a new name and is hoping a fresh name will give its problem child a fresh start in the industry.

Olsten’s CEO, Edward Blechschmidt, will lead Gentiva Health Services as chairman, CEO, and president once the deal is completed, Olsten said. Blechschmidt said the new organization is built around key business segments as opposed to geography, which will best leverage Gentiva’s strategic direction.

"From the start, we want to be viewed as a company that cares about its patients, customers, and shareholders with the highest level of integrity and trust," said Blechschmidt.

Chris Anderson will serve as chief compliance officer, Richard Christmas as senior vice president, chief information officer, and John Collura as executive vice president, CFO, and treasurer.

Caretenders focuses on adult day care

Caretenders shareholders have approved changing the company’s name to Almost Family, a name that Chairman/CEO William Yarmuth said will be recognized. Twelve of the company’s 23 adult day care centers have always operated under the name Almost Family, said Yarmuth. The others, he added, have operated under the Caretenders name – a name that he said has been long associated with home care.

The company’s visiting nurse operations will retain the Caretenders trade name, the company said.

"(The name change) underscores our focus on adult day health services, which provide alternatives for seniors and other special needs adults who wish to avoid nursing home placement," Yarmuth said. "It will enable us to build a single brand name with which our customers can identify."

Effective Feb. 1, the company’s stock began trading under the symbol AFAM, still on the Nasdaq.

Almost Family opened its newest center last week in Frankfort, KY, and said it plans to open its next center later this month in Owensboro, KY.

Almost Family reported a 3Q99 ended Dec. 31 net income of $234,437, 8 cents per share, down from a 3Q98 net income of $1.1 million, 34 cents per share. The company saw total revenues of $11.9 million in 3Q99, compared to 3Q98 revenues of $10.2 million.