‘Friendly Home Care Competitors’ Family Tree and Evergreen Announce Merger

Two of the largest concierge-level caregiving, private nursing and care management firms in Houston, Texas, have merged.

On Tuesday, Family Tree In-Home Care and Evergreen Private Care of Houston announced that the two companies have formally joined forces. The announcement echoes the increasing amount of consolidation happening in the home-based care space, as operators try to achieve scale and a diversification of services to better serve payer and health system partners.

“We’ve got two of the biggest brands in all of the Houston area, provide very similar services and are the No. 1 competitor of each other — by far,” Daniel Gottschalk, president of Family Tree, told Home Health Care News.

Founded in 2011, Texas-based Family Tree is a concierge home care agency with locations in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. The company also has offices in Denver and Boulder, Colorado.

Meanwhile, Evergreen was founded in 2009 and operates in Texas. The company provides personal care and skilled nursing care services.

When it comes to mergers and acquisitions, most companies can pinpoint exactly when dealmaking negotiations began. In the case of Evergreen and Family Tree, their parallel journeys meant the two companies crossed paths long before a deal was on the table, Laura Cook, co-founder of Evergreen, told HHCN.

“We’ve known Alex Bonetti since about 2014,” she said. “We were in communication with each other just as industry peers. We just appreciated each other’s standard of excellence, and passion to do something different and better in the private pay sector.”

Alex Bonetti is the founder and CEO of Family Tree. Bonetti will serve as CEO of the newly merged company.

Gottschalk will serve as president, with Cook continuing to lead in a regional director position with expanding influence over the combined company’s platform.

The right time

Family Tree and Evergreen always had what could be considered a “friendly competition.” The idea of the two companies merging was first floated in 2015.

In early 2021, the timing finally felt right to both parties, according to Gottschalk.

“We’ve definitely been in these talks for a long time, with [Family Tree] being the pursuer,” he said.

For Evergreen, the history with Family Tree ensured that the two companies were aligned in terms of mission.

“This is not just a new player or an investment firm coming in and doing this for business sake,” Cook said. “It’s far more meaningful. It was super important to us, on the Evergreen side, to only merge with people that we knew. Our hearts were beating in tandem on how we viewed the business and what our goals were.”

Strategically, the merger gave both Evergreen and Family Tree a chance to ultimately strengthen operations.

“For a while, we’re going to actually maintain independence between the two brands,” Gottschalk said. “We’re going to operate them very separately and intentionally for a number of months, … and what we’re doing is studying each other. We’re learning what Evergreen is doing better than Family Tree — and what Family Tree is doing better than Evergreen.”

Gottschalk noted that after this period of time, the two companies will unite operationally under one brand. Already, leadership has determined that Evergreen is the standout when it comes to private-duty nursing.

“Private-duty nursing is a very special place for Evergreen because they’re so nurse-driven and nurse-led,” Gottschalk said. “They can show us the light on how to have a meaningful private-pay health care practice in the home with their nursing practice.”

On its end, Family Tree brings scale to the union.

“They’ve got the infrastructure and platform in a broader reach,” Cook said. “It’s taking our strengths — clinical complex nursing care — and just putting it in that platform for exponential growth.”

At the end of the day, Family Tree and Evergreen are looking to elevate and personalize care with their concierge model.

“This plan only is for you. It’s very personalized down to crispy bacon on the blue plate — care is truly that specific,” Cook said. “There are nuances to everyone’s care. What fits one is not for everyone and … rounding out a care plan with what’s optimal for the client to truly deliver something that is customized will always get the greatest outcomes.”

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