Christine Stuart photo
Eric Reimer, CEO of Care Centrix and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (Christine Stuart photo)

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy acknowledged this week in his State of the State that there’s been a national conversation about economic development and whether it makes sense to have states competing against one another for jobs.

However, while that conversation is happening he’s not going to sit on the sideline as other states try to lure away Connecticut companies and jobs.

On Friday, he attended a ribbon cutting ceremony at Care Centrix in Hartford.

The home health care company, which currently employs 240 people, recently took advantage of the Malloy administration’s “Next Five” program and could receive up to $24 million in state grants for creating 300 jobs over the next five years.

The company will get a $12 million grant if it retains its current staff of more than 200 jobs for a five-year period, and another $12 million if it adds close to 300 positions.

The state pounced at a chance to help the company relocate its offices in East Hartford to Hartford when it became aware that it was seriously considering offers to relocate to Kansas and Florida.

“I just want to be frank — without the governor’s program we wouldn’t be here today,” CareCentrix CEO Eric Reimer said back in June when the announcement was made. “We wouldn’t be able to retain these jobs and we certainly wouldn’t be able to grow these jobs.”

Catherine Smith, the state’s economic development commissioner, said Care Centrix sits at the intersection of two of the biggest drivers in Connecticut’s economy: healthcare and insurance. She said those industries have the greatest potential for growth in the state.

Malloy praised Care Centrix’s vision for serving a population in their homes at a lower cost than more traditional medical settings. The company partners with private insurance companies to provide home health benefits to their customers. He said the company has gone from doing $300 million in business with 60 employees in 2008 to $700 million a year with 240 employees in 2012.

“I’m not sure we’re going to grow Connecticut’s economy as rapidly as you all have grown this company,” Malloy said. “But we’re going to try.”

In 2008, Care Centrix partnered with a private equity firm focused exclusively on health care to become a standalone company. It had been a division of Gentiva Health Services.

Saturday Job Fair

Reimer said the company has already hired 27 people since it moved from East Hartford to its new home on Church Street in Hartford. This Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at their Hartford offices, Care Centrix plans to host a job fair where Reimer hopes to hire 110 more employees.

“We think very quickly we’ll be approaching 150 people, which is the first three years of our commitment to the state and we’re in the first few months of the program here,” Reimer said. “We’re so excited we’re meeting and exceeding the employment targets we committed to.”

He said the company is thrilled it’s one of the fastest growing in the state. He attributed the growth to the value it gives to the health plans and it members. The company has relationships with private insurance companies to offer care to its customers in their homes. The result is lower hospital readmission rates and savings to health insurance companies.

Care Centrix is one of nine companies to receive a grant from the state for promising to create more than 200 jobs.