Simione Healthcare Consultants, a Conn.-based consulting firm in home health and hospice care, announced that it acquired Boyd & Nicholas, Inc., itself a health care consulting firm based in Rohnert Park that was co-founded by Thomas Boyd and Thomas Nicholas.

The acquisition combines the two teams and opens a formal West Coast operation for Simione, which focuses on operations, finance, compliance, sales and marketing, technology and mergers and acquisitions.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

 "We are delighted to welcome the Boyd & Nicholas team to further improve clinical and financial performance for our nation’s home health and hospice providers," Robert Simione, managing principal at Simione, said in a statement. "Cost reporting remains a cornerstone on which Simione was founded, and our joining together will enhance access to expertise as challenges continue to increase for home health and hospice organizations. We believe this partnership will help more health providers minimize risk and eliminate barriers to financial success at a time when increasing demands threaten the livelihood of so many home care and hospice organizations." 

Boyd & Nicholas has specialized in cost report preparation, a requirement for home health agencies receiving Medicare reimbursements, financial analysis, accounting and due diligence since 1993. Mr. Boyd will join Simione as vice president of reimbursable services, with nearly four decades of Medicare reimbursement expertise, including 12 years with a Medicare intermediary for home health providers. A frequent national and state speaker, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the 2013 National Association for Home Care and Hospice Financial Managers Conference. He is a member of the Home Care and Hospice Financial Manager’s Association. 

Simione Healthcare Consultants, founded in 1966 and based in Hamden, operates in 23 states, providing business solutions for the home health and hospice industry. It includes performance improvement across the health care landscape, ranging from hospitals, health networks and agencies for more effective delivery of home health and hospice care. More than 1,000 organizations use Simione’s services, the company said.***

Santa Rosa-based Oakmont Senior Living is highlighting the recent opening of The Terraces, which it said creates new care options for regional families with loved ones afflicted by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

The 33-unit community in Santa Rosa, located on the recently opened, $52 million Fountaingrove Lodge retirement campus, offers a continuum of specialized memory care services designed to meet the physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of individuals with early to advanced stages of memory loss, according to Oakmont.

Oakmont Senior Living said the number of individuals with memory loss disorders continues to escalate each year, creating demand for specialized care that effectively handles patients' conditions as memory, judgment and reasoning skills decline. Many forms of dementia are degenerative; and as symptoms become more severe, drastic behavioral changes set in and the ability to perform daily living activities deteriorates, according to Oakmont.

Specialty therapy and assisted care programs are designed to help prolong a sense of independence, improve communication and mood, encourage physical activity, and drive social interaction among residents.

Additional services range from gourmet cuisine, housekeeping and sleep monitoring to medication management, bathing and dressing assistance and ongoing health assessments. The Terraces staffs licensed nurses, care providers, medication technicians and activity directors to provide these services.***

Sonoma Valley Health Care District said it has completed refinancing of the 2009 general obligation bonds, resulting in a $2.36 million reduction in interest paid on the bonds.

Refinancing the GO bond was a priority, according Board Chair Sharon Nevins, because when they were issued in 2009, bond interest rates were at a high point. The bonds were sold with a five-year option to refinance because it was believed rates would be lower in five years. "This is exactly what happened and the board was quick to take advantage of it," she said.

The transaction was completed on Feb. 4 and involved the sale of nearly $12,500 in Sonoma Valley Health Care District General Obligation Refunding Bonds. The final interest rate for these bond was 3.78 percent, which produced a total savings, after adjusting for costs of issuance, of more than $2.36 million

District property owners voted to approve a general obligation bond in 2008 to allow the hospital to upgrade the facility to meet California seismic standards while covering the cost of new construction and equipment. The work has been completed. The bond was supplemented by the $11 million recently raised by the community campaign to fund the hospital’s new wing, which includes a new emergency department and surgery center.***

Joanne LaMonica, MD, joined Adventist Health-owned Ukiah Valley Medical Center, relocating from New York State to Mendocino County. As a general urologist, Dr. LaMonica specializes in treating both male and female patients and brings extensive skills in performing minimally invasive, advanced laparoscopic procedures. She will be joining Robert E. Blackwelder, MD, who has been providing excellent urological care in Ukiah for over 35 years, Martha Kilkenny, FNP, who has been practicing with the group for 17 years, and Bonnie Henderson, FNP, who has been practicing with the group for three years. Dr. LaMonica is now accepting new patients at the Urology office in Ukiah at 260 Hospital Drive, Suite 201.***

St. Joseph Health-operated Queen of the Valley’s CARE Network in Napa was honored by Premier, Inc. with the 22nd annual Monroe E. Trout Premier Cares Award for providing a disease management and transitional care program for patients who have been recently hospitalized or who are at high risk for hospitalization. As part of the award, the CARE Network -- short for case management, advocacy, resources and education -- received $100,000 from Premier.

The Queen’s CARE Network was selected out of six finalists nationwide that work toward improving care and health outcomes at a lower cost, according to the hospital. In order to be considered, organizations must provide creative solutions to health status improvement, demonstrate outcomes and impact on a specific population, and have programs that can be replicated in other communities. 

"The CARE Network is a cornerstone of Queen of the Valley’s community benefit programs that bring health, healing and empowerment to people in Napa most in need. It is one of our most visible and concrete examples of putting our mission and values into action," said Walt Mickens, president and CEO the 191-bed hospital. "We are thrilled to receive this award, which is further validation the CARE Network positively impacts lives and improves the health of our community."

Patients served by the CARE Network are provided with medical case management to address various chronic health conditions and psychosocial support for behavioral health problems. In fiscal year 2013, the community outreach program achieved a 72 percent decrease in emergency room visits and a 62 percent decrease in hospitalizations for the patients it served. It helps more than 400 individuals annually better manage their own health needs through wellness efforts, disease prevention and education while also reducing overall health care costs.***

Kaiser Permanente said it has distributed grants totaling $49,000 to establish community partnerships with 12 elementary schools within the Santa Rosa City Schools District and two elementary schools -- Laurel Dell and Short Elementary -- in San Rafael, as part of its Thriving Schools grants across Northern California. All told, Kaiser distributed 15 such grants, totaling $367,500.

In both Santa Rosa and San Rafael, grants of $24,500 will support Kaiser's Healthy Choices, Healthy Families Leads to Healthy Scholars project. The grants aim to build "healthy, sustainable communities by creating a culture of health in schools," according to Kaiser, providing prevention-focused, evidence-based wellness tools--at no cost--to any school.

Schools, Kaiser said, can have a positive impact on the health of community while likely improving academic performance by helping students, staff and teachers be more active and eat more healthfully. The grants are good through November 2014.

"We are committed to wellness for our students, staff and community, said Rachel Monarrez, assistant superintendent at Santa Rosa City Schools. "Grants like these that support healthy choices and overall wellness are invaluable and appreciated. Through supportive partnerships and on-going collaboration we will continue to thrive in Sonoma County."

For more information, visit kp.org/communitybenefit/ncal. To learn more about Thriving Schools, visit kp.org/thrivingschools.***

Hospice by the Bay will hold a free seminar, "The Life of Your Estate After Death: Probate and Trust Administration," on Wednesday, March 19, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. It will be held at the Sonoma County Community Center, at 276 E. Napa St. in Sonoma. The cost is free, but registration is required. 

The seminar will focus on: "Who decides what happens to your assets after your death and how does it work? Learn about choosing successor trustees and fiduciaries to implement your estate plan, and how to make choices to prepare for a smooth transfer of assets -- large and small -- to intended beneficiaries, limiting administrative hurdles, cost and heartache. Attendees receive a complimentary estate-planning organizer."

The non-profit Hospice by the Bay is the second oldest hospice in the nation and the first in California. It operates in Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco and Northern San Mateo counties, and the City of Napa. For more visit www.hospicebythebay.org....

Submit items for this column to Staff Writer Dan Verel, dverel@busjrnl.com.