A Bradenton health care company that specializes in both staffing and senior care is getting a do-over, after a major rebrand reset the focus to company culture.
The rebrand of the business, Arboreta Healthcare, combined with some transformative acquisitions, also highlights both the significant growth and opportunities. Revenue, after toiling at under $1 million for several years, is projected to grow from $78 million to $118 million this year — which would be an increase of 51.28%.
Formerly under the name Assisted 4 Living Inc., Arboreta Healthcare is now the parent company of Arboreta Health and Rehabilitation skilled nursing and long-term care centers and Arboreta Assisted Living Communities. Arboreta is publicly-traded on the over-the-counter market, under the symbol ASSF. The acquisitions added the entities Banyan Pediatric Care, a nurse-staffed pediatric day care center for medically complex children; health care staffing firm Trillium Healthcare Consulting; and Grace Care Centers, a Texas company with three long-term care centers, to the Arboreta portfolio.
Prior to those deals, in 2020, Arboreta reported $880,000 in revenue, public filings show. In 2019 it had $392,000 in revenue. The bulk of the revenue gains comes from the new companies, a spokesman says. "In addition to the increased revenue from those acquisitions, the company has consistently increased census at Trillium and Banyan, and Banyan opened two new centers after the acquisition," the spokesman adds in an email.
'Culture is a daily practice for us. Culture for us is making sure folks know they’re heard. They’re part of the process of change.' Louis Collier, Arboreta Healthcare
The business was incorporated in 2017 and the current owners took over in 2020. The rebranding began in June 2021, after the company acquired Trillium, which provides licensed nurses, physical and occupational therapists and speech pathologists. “I’m not a big fan of rebranding so (the reason) had to be fairly drastic,” Arboreta CEO Louis Collier says.
With the acquisition of the new company, there were noticeable problems — a stale culture and no growth in several years, officials say. The rebranding was a way for the company to reestablish itself in a new direction. “Sometimes I think you’ve got to make that rebranding change as sort of a new jumpstart for the employees,” says Collier.
Working with St. Petersburg-based B2 Communications and Roger West Creative & Code, in Tampa, the company chose a new name, brand and website. Before, under the Assisted 4 Living name, it was implied the company was just an assisted living company. “We’re a lot more than that,” Collier says. “I think we needed to find a brand that would be recognizable.” The company provides skilled nursing, rehabilitation, assisted living and independent living programs.
It took about a year to completely rebrand. Collier, who joined the business in 2021, says it feels like a fresh start. “We just came out of one of the toughest, most challenging three-year periods in health care,” he says, pointing to the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s almost like we turned a page.”
The previous page was additionally filled with acquisitions: Banyan Pediatric Care in March 2021; the Trillium deal in June 2021; and Grace Care Centers in December. Officials declined to disclose how much was paid for each acquisition.
In addition to making outside changes, the company was also focused on the inside. Building a foundation of providing basic quality care through an organization that is patient and family driven was important. But the top priority, Collier says, was employees.
“I’m really a big believer (that) if your employee engagement is at a place where folks want to come work for you, the quality is always there,” Collier says. “I think employees will take care of patients if they’re happy where they work.”
Arboreta also spent time building an executive team that includes Collier; Dale Poe, COO; Diane Harden, CFO; and Sandra Bowers, chief nursing officer. Each executive boasts over 30 years of experience. Prior to stepping into his current role in 2021, Collier was the CEO for Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Petersburg and UVA Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital, both in Virginia.
Now Collier has Arboreta positioned for growth. Daily attendance at Banyan Pediatric Care Centers, has nearly doubled, from 47 to 85, while Arboreta Healthcare’s population census grew from 937 to 1,215. More growth could come in more acquisitions.
“We’ll be very selective in our growth, acquisitions and opportunities,” he says. “We don’t want to be growing (just) to be growing. There will be strategic decisions made that make sense for us and our footprint.”
Managing the growth, in addition to building a top culture, also drives Collier and the leadership team. The company, for example, created new software for financial services, operations, medical management and human resources to improve care quality and expand the company’s capabilities. The platforms allowed the organization to create company-wide consistency, which is important for a business that runs 31 facilities across five states.
“Those (platforms) had to be in place for us to grow and manage effectively,” Collier says. “We could not have grown eight to six months ago.”
Implementing those new strategies is nothing compared to the staffing shortages challenge Arboreta Healthcare has had to face. That’s why creating a solid culture has been a big focus.
“The best referral is from a current employee,” Collier says. “Culture is a daily practice for us. Culture for us is making sure folks know they’re heard. They’re part of the process of change.”