By   – Reporter, Louisville Business First

 

Louisville-based Confluent Health LLC has expanded its rehabilitation and therapy business into Florida by acquiring a controlling stake in two rehabilitation clinic groups — Lake Centre for Rehab and Rehab Therapy Works.

Terms were not disclosed in a news release announcing the deal. Also, Larry Benz, Confluent Health founder and CEO, declined to discuss terms in an interview.

Lake Centre for Rehab and Rehab Therapy Works, which have the same ownership group, provide outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy across nine clinical locations in The Villages, Leesburg, Mount Dora, Hudson and Spring Hill, Fla., according to a news release.

After this deal, Confluent Health has 188 outpatient clinics in 11 states.

“Confluent is thrilled to be in the unique [The Villages] area of Florida, where there is high utilization because of its population,” Benz said. “That’s going to help us grow those companies.”

Benz added that seniors generally, but especially in The Villages, have become more active later in life and that rehabilitation services help seniors maintain activity.

He said the deal reflects the strategy Confluent Health has used in other recent transactions, such its previous deal to buy a stake in Johnston, R.I.-based Pappas Physical Therapy LLC.

Confluent Health and the owners of Lake Centre for Rehab and Rehab Therapy Works invested in each other, with Confluent taking a controlling interest in the two companies and the owners of the two groups acquiring a minority stake in Confluent.

As part of the deal, Lake Centre and Rehab Therapy Works also have access to Confluent Health’s shared management services. These services include accounting and finance, talent acquisition, marketing and staff development opportunities.

Lake Centre and Rehab Therapy Works’ owners are Robert and Gerald Goldstein, Donna Rodriguez-Goldstein, Joseph Lavore and Sheryl Smith.

The local branding, ownership and leadership of Lake Centre and Rehab Therapy Works will not change, Benz said.

He added that Confluent Health’s investment will focus on helping Lake Centre and Rehab Therapy Works increase their scale in the region and on integrating Confluent Health’s other brands into the Florida operations.

Lake Centre and Rehab Therapy Works clinicians will be able to access Confluent Health’s physical therapy post-professional education company, Evidence In Motion LLC. The groups also will have access to Confluent Health’s nationwide occupational therapy and workplace injury prevention company, Fit For Work.

Because of its large senior population, the Florida market has major significance for many of the health care companies based in Louisville.

For example, Florida is the largest market for Humana Inc.’s retail insurance business. The Louisville-based health insurer and health services company had 1.4 million members, 8.4 percent, of its retail insurance business residing in the Sunshine State as of Dec. 31, 2018, according to the company’s annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Signature Healthcare LLC, a Louisville-based long-term-care and post-acute care provider, has 34 of its 126 locations in Florida. Kentucky is Signature’s largest market with 42 locations, according to Signature Healthcare’s locations webpage.

People age 65 and older represented 19.4 percent, or 3.9 million, of Florida’s roughly 20.8 million residents in 2017, and the state has the nation’s largest senior population as a percentage of its overall population. In total, Florida had the second most seniors, trailing only California’s 5.1 million senior population, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

The Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research projects the senior population will jump to 6.6 million, or 25.5 percent of Florida’s population, by 2040.