The right experience, expertise and passion


By Holly Riddle 

If you caught HappyValley Industry’s senior care series earlier this year, then you’re familiar with how rapidly the industry is growing in the region, and also how costs for senior care, particularly for residential senior care, can be substantial. Assisted living facilities, on average, cost residents $60,000 per year, while more specialized facilities, such as those for patients with dementia, cost residents $80,000 per year.

Not every senior wants or needs to live in such a facility, but they still need some level of professional care. While our earlier senior living series did not feature in-home care providers to any large degree, a recent response to a HappyValley Industry survey revealed that this option is also seeing increased in demand in the region, and one growing business is rising to meet it.

Growing demand, but a lack of options

Bellefonte’s Willow Tree Home Health Care is a nurse-owned company with more than 50 years of combined experience in the health care industry.

Owner Marleen Matsko said, “We started Willow Tree Home Health Care because we saw a need for high-quality, personalized and affordable home health care services in the community. We believe that healing at home whenever possible as opposed to an inpatient setting results in better outcomes for our patients. Our mission is to provide compassionate and professional care to our clients/patients, while respecting their dignity, privacy and preferences. Our vision is to make a positive difference in the lives our clients/patients and their families.”

We are confident that we have the experience, expertise and passion to overcome these challenges and seize these opportunities

Now, Willow Tree Home Health Care offers skilled nursing, personal care, companion care, respite care and rehabilitation therapy to not just seniors, but also those with disabilities or chronic illness, or those recovering from an injury, illness or surgery.

“We found that there is a growing demand for home health care services in Happy Valley, as the population is aging and more people prefer to stay at home rather than move to institutional settings,” said Matsko. “There is a lack of adequate and affordable home health care options in Happy Valley to provide service to the community members, [and] there is a niche opportunity for a nurse-owned and operated home health care agency in Happy Valley, as nurses have the clinical expertise, the professional network and the trust of the community.”

Looking to the future, Matsko plans to expand Willow Tree Home Health Care’s service area, to cover more counties throughout Pennsylvania, while partnering with local health systems and the community to improve care coordination and patient outcomes, and to raise awareness and advocacy for home health care. While Matsko reports she has a clear vision of how to get there, though, she acknowledges there are challenges within the industry. For example, while there is increasing demand for services like Willow Tree Home Health Care offers, due to aging populations and rising chronic diseases, there’s also growing competition.

Matsko said, “[There is] growing competition and consolidation in the home health care market, especially with the entry of new players such as retail pharmacies, tech giants and insurance companies, [as well as a] changing regulatory and reimbursement landscape… and evolving consumer expectations and preferences, such as the desire for more personalized, convenient and transparent care.”

Still, Matsko remains confident that the business can continue to grow and serve Happy Valley’s seniors.

“We are confident that we have the experience, expertise and passion to overcome these challenges and seize these opportunities,” she said. “We are committed to providing the best home health care to our clients/patients and their families, and to making a positive impact on our society.”

Read HappyValley Industry’s full senior living series.


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