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WillCare purchase for $51 million gets State Health Department review

The state Health Department on Thursday will begin its review of a Kentucky company’s proposed $51 million purchase of WillCare HealthCare, a Buffalo-based provider of home health care services.

A committee of the Public Health and Health Planning Council will discuss Almost Family’s planned acquisition of WillCare, which has 2,000 employees in New York, Connecticut and Ohio, including 800 clinicians, therapists, field staff and administrators in the Western New York area.

Almost Family has filed four required documents, known as certificates of need, with the Health Department related to its acquisition of WillCare’s operations in the state. Department staff has recommended approval of the ownership transfer of those operations. If the council committee agrees, the full council will review the transaction Aug. 6.

Under the terms of the deal originally announced in February, Almost Family would continue to use the WillCare name following the purchase of the Buffalo-based home health care agency.

The purchase price of $50.9 million includes $10 million in equity and $40.9 million financed through a five-year, $175 million revolving credit facility, according to paperwork filed with the state.

WillCare, which had $72 million in revenues last year, serves nearly 5,000 patients from 11 branches in Western New York and the Hudson Valley, three branches in Connecticut and one in northeast Ohio. Almost Family, headquartered in Louisville, has 245 locations in 14 states.

WillCare executives previously said they plan to stay on through the sale closing but they haven’t made a decision about their future roles with the company under Almost Family’s ownership.