Peachtree Hospice in Fort Smith sold to South Carolina company

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 935 views 

Charleston, S.C.-based EPI Group has acquired Fort Smith-based Peachtree Hospice and will pull Peachtree under its Heart of Hospice operations in eastern Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Peachtree has been in operation since 1995 and employs more than 100 people. Peachtree operates in six counties in western Arkansas and six counties in eastern Oklahoma. It has two facilities in Fort Smith and a location in Booneville, Ark., and Poteau, Okla.

“We are excited to join forces with Heart of Hospice to enhance the services we provide in our community. The combination of experienced hospice staff at Peachtree and the resources offered by Heart of Hospice will allow our organization to focus on caring for our patients in a rapidly changing healthcare environment,” Peachtree CEO Jim Petrus said in a statement.

Heart of Hospice told Talk Business & Politics that most of Peachtree’s employees will stay with the combined operation.

“Heart of Hospice retained 96 percent of Peachtree Employees. Importantly, all of the interdisciplinary care-giving team was retained. We look forward to continuing the quality care Peachtree has provided, and to building on the strong reputation that Peachtree has established in its communities,” the company noted.

With the acquisition of Peachtree, Heart of Hospice will employ around 550. Also, the combined operation will provide services to more than 1,000 patients a day, with around 800 of those being in the Louisiana and Mississippi markets. Heart of Hospice also has a facility in Helena, Ark.

“I am delighted that we have the opportunity to expand our vision of providing quality end-of-life care to hospice eligible patients by building on the strong foundation that Peachtree Hospice has established in Western Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. We are thrilled to add to our family and work with the great caregivers at Peachtree Hospice to serve patients and families that need our care,” Heart of Hospice CEO Carla Davis said in the statement.

The EPI Group acquired Heart of Hospice in 2014, and may not be finished expanding its hospice division.

“Heart of Hospice continues to seek opportunities to expand our service area and fulfill our vision throughout the Southeast, particularly in markets contiguous to our existing footprint,” the company responded when asked if other hospice acquisitions are planned.

EPI Group is a privately held company with more than 2,000 employees. In addition to Heart of Hospice, the company’s portfolio includes:
• Evening Post Publishing, which has 17 publications in South Carolina including the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winning Post & Courier;
• Cordillera Communication, a network of 11 broadcast television stations covering 2.3 million households;
• EPI Health, a specialty Dermatology Pharmaceutical Company; and
• Clear Night Group, a digital marketing agency based in Minnesota.

The Evening Post Publishing Co. was formed in 1896 by rice planter Arthur Manigault to acquire the Charleston Courier, which began publishing in 1803.