Almost Family and LHC Group announced on Nov. 16 that they will merge into a company with more than 31,000 employees and a revenue of $1.8 billion.
This merger will lead to a combined company with 781 locations in 36 states, a release states. 
Some home care providers, such as Jody Wilk of Compassionate Care Home Health Services in West Branch, Mich., weren't concerned about the merger.  But other providers contend the merger is huge for home care providers.
"They’re going to wipe the little guys out," says Tina Carlyle, vice president of business and marketing development at All At Home Healthcare in Port Orlando, Fla.
Under the deal, Almost Family shareholders receive 0.9150 shares of LHC Group for each Almost Family share.
And upon closing of the deal, LHC Group shareholders will own 58.5% of the merged company. Almost Family shareholders will own 41.5%.
The transaction deal is expected to be completed in the first half of 2018, according to the release.
"Almost Family shares our vision for making a difference in the communities we serve by delivering quality, outcomes-focused, patient-centered care to the most vulnerable in society," Keith G. Myers, LHC Group’s chairman and CEO, said in the release. "This merger is truly a transformative event for both our companies and our patients nationwide and a unique opportunity to bring more than 30,000 dedicated and talented employees together to lead the in-home healthcare industry’s transition to value-based reimbursement and highly coordinated care.”
Almost Family has a number of locations in Florida and news of the merger sent Carlyle immediately to the phone to let fellow agency leaders know the news.
“I see that we are going to have to step it up a notch,” Carlyle says.
The agency recently took on a joint venture to expand their coverage area, but the merger shows the agency will need to continue to push the envelope, Carlyle says. Diversifying services and thinking outside the box will play into plans to remain competitive. That may mean expanding into transportation or developing a beauty day for female clients to get out of the house and get their hair and nails done, Carlyle says.