Texas hospice power makes move on Vegas market

Altus Hospice, a Texas-based for-profit company, is planting its flag in Las Vegas by opening an outpatient hospice service and plans to add in-patient care as needed by contracting with existing facilities.

The company is managed by Houston entrepreneur Taseer Badar, founder of ZT Wealth and Altus Health Care Management Services.

The first step in expanding to Las Vegas, the firm’s first step outside Texas, is opening an office at 4465 S. Buffalo Boulevard, Suite D. This office will provide outpatient hospice care to patients and families. Services include palliative symptom management, physician guided care, distribution of medication, speech and massage therapy and social work, as well as bereavement services focusing on grief support, educational workshops, support for children and teens and counseling.

“Our interdisciplinary care team is highly trained to provide the practical, emotional and spiritual support for each patient and their family,” said Dr. Dominic Sreshta, corporate medical director, Altus Hospice. “Not only do we ensure each patient is treated with respect and dignity, we also provide stability and continuity of hospice care regardless of where a patient resides, whether inside a home, nursing home, assisted living residents, hospital or inpatient facility.”

Altus Hospice operates 13 locations throughout Texas. Last September, Badar told the Houston Business Journal the aging population in Las Vegas makes it “ripe for hospice,” and the availability of Altus doctors presented an opportunity to break ground.

Altus Health has expanded rapidly. “(In terms of) revenue, on the health care side, we’ve gone from $11 million a month in collections to $15 million a month (just) this year,” Badar told the Houston newspaper.

According to Kraig Killough, chief operating officer of Altus Health: “After much consideration and forethought, Las Vegas was chosen to be the first Altus Health entity outside of Texas. We understand the challenges of healthcare delivery and strive to provide solutions that improve access to high-quality care in the Las Vegas area. Working in concert with area physicians who share the Altus Health vision, it was an easy decision to bring this important service to the community.

“Our Altus model has always encompassed a physician ownership and partnership hence our physicians in Texas have trusted partners all over the country. Our hospice physician partnerships in Texas have blossomed into new physician partnerships in Nevada.”

Killough said Altus anticipates providing 10,000 days of care for Las Vegas patient this year with a staff of 25-30.

“Our focus is to keep our patients in their home,” he said, “but, in the event the patient’s comfort cannot be managed in the home, we have several partner in-patient facilities to choose from.”

Badar himself has won many accolades including the Houston Business Journal 2012 Fast 100, Ernst &Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist in 2012 and 2013, and in 2014, ZT Wealth and Altus Group of Companies was ranked by Inc. 5000 as 1,198 in the country with revenues of $189.8 million in 2013 (up from $40.7 million in 2010) and had added 591 employees in the previous three years.

In addition to healthcare, ZT Wealth is investing in autos with the acquisition of a Mercedes, BMW, Toyota and Mazda automobile dealership in Florida and is also in the process of acquiring 21 Popeye’s fast-food restaurants.

Despite opening the new hospice office in Las Vegas, Badar told the Houston Business Journal that his goal for the next year is to taper the proportion that health care comprises in ZT Wealth’s portfolio to 60 percent, down from the current 75-80 percent.

According to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, there are approximately 50 licensed hospice providers in Clark County. Only one — Nathan Adelson Hospice – is a non-profit organization.

Hospice and palliative care is a $17 billion industry and the aging population means that those dollars will increase. The government provides a flat rate of $155 per day per patient in per diem for hospice care.

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