Tunstall Americas acquires Providence Lifeline Medical Alert Service

New Tunstall Americas CEO Oscar Meyer announced today (6 Sept) the acquisition of Providence Lifeline Medical Alert Service from parent Providence Health & Services, a division of Providence St. Joseph Health, a nonprofit Catholic health system with 50 hospitals and over 800 clinics in seven Western states. Terms were not disclosed. The sizing was also not disclosed beyond ‘thousands of customers’. Evidently from its statement, Providence Health will continue to contract with Tunstall and expand PERS health monitoring for its clients: “Providence looks forward to a collaboration that will help people stay safe and independent at home.” Another interesting affirmation is that Tunstall is resuming its collaborating or acquiring “highly regarded regional, state, and local providers of telecare, medical alarms, and medication management services.”  Release (PR Web)

Tunstall Americas has a new president/CEO (updated)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Big-T-thumb-480×294-55535.gif” thumb_width=”175″ /]Updated Softly, softly. Rumors of a change at the top of Tunstall Americas were confirmed by the appearance in late May of Oscar Meyer as president/CEO on the leadership page of their website. This Editor was tipped earlier that Casey Pittock’s name had disappeared from the page at some point prior to mid-May. Inquiries at that time to their UK press contact were not returned. As of June 6, there is still is no formal press release announcing the change on PRWeb, their usual release site, or posted on the website.

The leadership page gives the barest bones of Mr. Meyer’s background: most recently North America Commercial Operations team for Invacare Corporation, a DME company primarily in the long-term care market, with most of his career at J&J. His LinkedIn page also adds in an adjunct professorship at Xavier University, a brief VP stint at Gambro (acquired by Baxter 2013) and Snow Creations, LLC, giving his location as Ohio. Tunstall Healthcare Group CEO Gordon Sutherland also is a veteran of Invacare (as head of EMEA) and Gambro.

Our Readers will recall the sudden change at Tunstall Americas three years ago when Mr. Pittock was ‘unveiled’ at the Medical Alert Monitoring Association meeting by then Tunstall Group CEO Paul Stobart, replacing Bradley Waugh [TTA 14 Mar 14]. Mr. Pittock was still listed on the Tunstall Group website as CEO North America through May 26, but as of this writing (June 6) the leadership roster has been updated with Mr. Meyer’s picture and brief bio. 

This Editor hopes that Mr. Meyer makes headway in the complex and crowded US PERS and safety market. Tunstall acquired in 2011 one of the most successful PERS/monitoring businesses here, AMAC, but failed to build substantially on their established business. One of the last appearances of Mr. Pittock in the press was in February for the Ripple Network Technologies personal safety device, where Tunstall Americas was providing the 24/7 emergency monitoring [TTA 1 Feb]. A great idea, but by March 3, Ripple had canceled its Kickstarter fundraising and their last Twitter post was March 21, indicating the company has gone dark or out of business. It is another example of how difficult it is to make headway here in the Americas. Is it acquire another company–or go home?

A curious ‘Ripple’ of an announcement involving Tunstall Americas

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/ripplenetwork_5890862790fc7.jpg” thumb_width=”300″ /] A startup company in the US, Ripple Network Technologies, announced on 31 January its Kickstarter campaign for what appears to be a small, stylish personal safety device styled like a small metal lock or locket. The release states that “Ripple users can discreetly signal their monitoring team for help with the click of a penny-sized Bluetooth wearable, designed by the creators of 360fly and Misfit Shine” that connects to a smartphone. One of the features is that there’s a partnership with Tunstall Americas to provide that 24/7 monitoring, with an extensive quote from CEO/president Casey Pittock.

It’s clearly aimed at a younger market than typical for PERS, concerned with stylish safety in ‘lone’ situations and not with ‘falling and I can’t get up’. The stated Kickstarter price is also appealing: $129 for the standard sensor, $199 for a specially designed sterling locket style, both inclusive of one year of monitoring service. Release is scheduled for April.

Despite this announcement, the Kickstarter site is not up yet. The Ripple website has a flashy animation homepage without detail, found only through their LinkedIn company page which also is bereft of details. Other than the release pickup on ReadItQuik.com, this Editor cannot locate the release on the standard PR release sites such as Business Wire or PRWeb. (The Tunstall Americas website has not been updated for news since last August.) A curious start indeed.

Update: Ripple’s communications director in the Comments has supplied the Kickstarter link which went live on 1 Feb, and is here. The website now has an Order Now button which links to the Kickstarter page. Key features: click once to receive a call from the monitoring center, or click 3 times or more to summon emergency help or a call per your profile setup. A potential drawback: no two-way communication except via phone and the BTE connection, which if you are separated from it (for instance, your purse is stolen), the system won’t work.

The requested raise is $50,000 by 3 March. PRNewswire release.

Tunstall Americas adopts belle

We haven’t heard much from Tunstall Healthcare in the past two months, but Tunstall Americas has announced that the belle PERS unit has been added to the US line of products which now . The belle is on the AT&T GSM cellular network for two-way voice communication with their 24/7 call center and GPS location technology. The pendant has a rechargeable battery that can last up to 30 days on a single charge, and can be either worn or carried in pocket or purse. Also new in the line is the Tunstall flood detector which signals the call center through the Vi+ and CEL.  Release, Tunstall Americas website.

A flurry of news from Tunstall Americas and UK

Tunstall Healthcare has been, quite untypically (for years) and aseasonally, burning up the newswires with press. The first we’ll mention is from Tunstall Americas announcing the availability of smoke detection sensors as part of their their newly introduced Vi+ and the CEL mobile PERS. The units when triggered by heat or smoke sound an audible alarm and generate an alert over to the 24/7 monitoring service. Like last week’s announcement of ambient temperature sensing, there’s nothing revolutionary here but these add-on features are extremely helpful to older people who use these systems. It also is a bit of sales upsell for their growing network of local home monitoring monitoring dealers/services [TTA 3 Aug]. Tunstall release.

We’ve also noted a new surge of activity in Australia (the Staying Strong telehealth pilot) with vital signs monitoring using the myclinic telehealth hub in the homes of older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In the UK there is the PegasusLife new Malt Yard assisted living development for care alarms, Wakefield District housing and providing extra care services at Hare Hill-Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH). Roundup here on their press page. For their LTC work at Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Community Services, Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Tameside Metropolitan Council (TMBC), Tunstall UK won the HealthInvestor Technology Provider of the Year Award. Tunstall telehealth solutions reduced hospital admissions by 38 percent or £2.7m where mymedic was used. Release

Tunstall Americas’ Vi+ offers free temperature monitoring

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Big-T-thumb-480×294-55535.gif” thumb_width=”150″ /]Last week Tunstall Americas emerged from a long period of quiet with their introduction of Tunstall’s Vi+ telecare home unit [TTA 3 Aug]. We noted that Vi+ included an integral ambient temperature sensor which could alert their response center on extremes in home temperature and that the release highlighted it. This week, we learned the reason why, as on Tuesday they announced marketing that capability as free Temperature Extremes monitoring for subscribers of their medical alert monitoring service. When the ambient temperature sensor is activated, their call center will be alerted when the room temperature rises above 89°F or falls below 50°F. The subscriber and registered contacts are then notified so that the person can be checked and the situation corrected. Tunstall release (PRWeb)

Tunstall Americas introducing Vi+ telecare home monitoring

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Big-T-thumb-480×294-55535.gif” thumb_width=”150″ /]We don’t hear much from Tunstall Healthcare in the US other than their traditional/mobile PERS business (formerly AMAC‘s). That may be changing with their introduction (finally) of the Vi+ telecare home unit. It has medical alert, fall detection (via ‘intelligent pendant’) and integrates with home monitoring an array of what they call ‘Virtual Sensors’–motion and other sensors to monitor activity in the home, including wireless sensors for fire, flood and gas leaks. They do make a point of having an integral ambient temperature sensor which will alert their response center if an unsafe high or low temperature is detected.

Other than the press release, no information on Vi+ is on the Americas website yet, including pricing. (Vi without the sensor array has been sold for some time.) Vi+ is marketed in most Tunstall countries in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The fact sheet from Ireland is representative of Vi+ in most markets.

It’s interesting that Tunstall Americas has chosen to enhance their PERS/call center services with sensors, versus entering the hotter telehealth area. Sensor-based activity/danger monitoring is hardly new. (more…)

Tunstall acquires Hawaii monitoring service, tracks wandering in Australia

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Big-T-thumb-480×294-55535.gif” thumb_width=”120″ /]Tunstall Americas has made a second acquisition of a home monitoring service and distributor in Hawaii, Lifeline Hawaii Services. Based in Honolulu and providing monitoring throughout the Islands, it appears from a statement by CEO Casey Pittock that the 15-year-old company will be merged with an earlier acquisition, Kupuna Monitoring Systems. Monitoring services will be provided on the mainland in New York City and Rhode Island. This marks the eleventh acquisition of local monitoring services Tunstall has made since late 2014. A caution to Mr Pittock: Editor Donna having some experience with a mainland company managing a significant Hawaii presence, albeit in a different industry (Avis car rental), the kama’aina (local) market prefers on-island presence and service, the more personal the better. One of the biggest challenges will be when that Hawaii emergency call comes in, to understand local expressions and to know that on the Big Island, Hilo is not around the corner from Kona but nearly two hours away; even on Oahu outside of Honolulu, help can get far away quickly. Hawaii News Now (Tunstall release)

Down Under, Tunstall maintains a steady level of activity unlike their US brethren who are hard to find at industry events. They began distribution before Christmas of the latest version of the wander alerting Find-Me Carers Watch for the cognitively impaired which just received a AU $3 million investment from local VC OneVentures. Retirement community Living Choice has also contracted with Tunstall to update their emergency call systems for five villages. Since last July, they have transitioned  and customized 700 units across five villages. Residents now can access the National Home Doctors Service and 24/7 monitoring by Tunstall’s centers in Australia and New Zealand. Australian Ageing Agenda Technology Review

Another Tunstall Americas distributor acquisition

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Big-T-thumb-480×294-55535.gif” thumb_width=”150″ /]Another press release from Tunstall Healthcare Group is also about Tunstall Americas, in this case the acquisition of Syracuse NY (Central NY State)-based Health Care Monitoring Systems (HMS). This continues this year’s strategy of purchasing or partnering with local home care providers. Like Mountain Home and Kupuna Monitoring (previously in TTA), HMS’ website prominently features a competitor–Philips Lifeline. Notable in the spare release is that the HMS founder notes “strong relationships with referral partners and government agencies.”  Release

Tunstall Americas allies with Apria Healthcare (US)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Big-T-thumb-480×294-55535.gif” thumb_width=”125″ /]Tunstall Americas continues its home care provider-centric strategy through an expanded product marketing relationship with Apria Healthcare. Apria, in addition to home care services, markets directly to customers a range of medical devices and durable medical equipment; they will be selling Tunstall’s brands under their medical alert category. This is the first we’ve seen in the US the Tunstall Vi and iVi pendant, along with the CEL cellular PERS unit. Tunstall will also be providing Apria with custom branded products, along with call center, ordering and fulfillment services.  Apria is the US’ fourth largest home care provider (2014 Home Care Market Outlook) with 1.6 percent of a highly fractionated market. Our sources tell us that the initial relationship precedes the Tunstall acquisition of AMAC.  PR Web

Tunstall Americas gets active with QMedic

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Big-T-thumb-480×294-55535.gif” thumb_width=”150″ /]Tunstall Americas’ monitoring providers will have something new to distribute: the QMedic activity tracker. The QMedic bracelet (alternatively pendant) has an alert button and a base station like a conventional PERS, but also tracks sleep quality and activity levels. It has two way monitoring and also generates alerts and texts to loved ones if the bracelet isn’t worn or no wake-up is detected, plus recurring wellness reports on activity, sleep, and safety in the home. Fall detection presumably is inferred Tunstall’s reseller agreement includes all its local healthcare service providers. This Editor also observes that after a very long period of quiet, Tunstall in the US is demonstrating its own activity. Release. Earlier in TTA: Tunstall Goes Hawaiian with Kupuna Monitoring acquisition

Tunstall Goes Hawaiian with Kupuna Monitoring acquisition

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Big-T-thumb-480×294-55535.gif” thumb_width=”150″ /] Tunstall Americas is acquiring Kupuna Monitoring Systems of Aiea (northwest of Honolulu), Hawaii, a medical alarm and medication manager provider. In the press release, CEO Casey Pittock confirmed that Tunstall Americas’ strategy is to acquire regional monitoring services, as we noted in their Mountain Home (Denver) purchase last year. Locally owned (kama’aina) and serving the four major islands, Kupuna (‘elder’) is currently using Philips Lifeline monitors and Philips med dispensers. We hope they are welcomed with warmest aloha. (Hawaii as a market and culture is like no other in the US, and in this Editor’s experience in a totally different industry, can be fiercely local.)

Tunstall adds services for Australian veterans, upgrades US call centers

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Big-T-thumb-480×294-55535.gif” thumb_width=”150″ /]Tunstall has been quiet on the newsfront lately, so these two items from Australia and the US are to be noted. In Australia, the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) rehabilitation appliances program (RAP), which provides subsidized personal response systems to veterans, now includes Tunstall’s PERS, iVi fall detector pendant, PIR movement sensor and GPS watch. The program requires that veterans be evaluated for need by a qualified health provider. Tunstall has participated in the RAP program since 2002. Pulse+IT (Australasia) In the US, a significant part of Tunstall’s purchase of AMAC were medical answering service operations in Long Island City, NY, Pawtucket, RI, and Newington, CT. A $10 million upgrade of their 24/7 service includes CRM for healthcare providers for after-hours, overflow support, appointment reminders, insurance verification and help desk services. Release

Tunstall’s challenging year: results reported

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Big-T-thumb-480×294-55535.gif” thumb_width=”150″ /]Breaking News. The topline of Tunstall Healthcare Group’s 2014 results (through 30 Sept 14) is now (partly) public thanks to the Yorkshire Post, Tunstall’s ‘hometown paper’. (We do note that it was published on 23 Dec, in the ‘dead of night’ rolling up to the Christmas holiday.) Notably, there is no report on the Tunstall website and it is too early to show on standard corporate reporting sites such as DueDil and CompanyCheck. The YP article appears to be written partly in press release-speak, which we do not fault them for on limited news available. In summary:

  • In the 2014 FY ended 30 September, revenues were £215 million. FY2013 was £221 million, a decrease of £6 million (2.7 percent).
  • A corresponding but greater EBITDA (earnings before interest taxation depreciation and amortization) drop to £43.0 million. FY 2013 was £52.7 million, a decrease of £9.7 million (18.4 percent).
  • The good news: revenues up 6.8 percent in the Nordics, Southern Europe, Central Europe, and Australasia; Spain’s Televida as a market leader also a bright spot [TTA 19 Dec].
  • No such good news in UK and the US  (more…)

Tunstall adopts new Tactio in patient management

Tunstall Healthcare is partnering with Canadian mHealth developer Tactio Health Group in what is a distinct first for them: creating a mobile care management system that is 1) smartphone-based for the patient and 2) prominently integrates non-Tunstall apps and devices. The patient uses the smartphone and the Tactio-developed mTrax app to collect a wide spectrum of data–everything from activity, sleep, pregnancy, body fat and mood tracking to the traditional constellation of vital signs. This uploads to the care provider’s tablet mPro Clinical App which overviews, details and reports the data for each patient and patient groups in care. The data comes from well-known mHealth apps outside the Tunstall world: BodyMedia, Fitbit, Fitbug, Garmin, Jawbone UP, Medisana and Wahoo Fitness, as well as connected (presumably Bluetooth) medical devices from A&D Medical, Mio, iHealth, Telcare, Withings and Nonin. Tunstall has also added two-way patient coaching and  health journal features.

Tunstall’s positioning for what they call Active Health Management or AHM is “supported self-management” and “shift(ing) from reactive care to cost-effective active care.” (more…)

Tunstall Americas finds a Mountain Home

Gold in dem der hills? Tunstall Americas, Tunstall Healthcare Group’s US subsidiary, on Monday announced the acquisition of Mountain Home Medical, a Denver, Colorado-based telehealth provider of medical alarm and medication manager systems for the home market. In its announcement, Tunstall Americas gave the reason as “The acquisition demonstrates Tunstall’s commitment to expand its service footprint across the United States through acquiring or partnering with highly regarded regional, state, and local providers… ” Mountain Home is certainly the latter with business only in the state’s 53 counties, serving Medicaid eligible and private pay customers. Industry estimates put their subscriber base at under 5,000 customers.

A change in US strategy? Unlike Tunstall in the UK and Europe, the Americas subsidiary has maintained a low profile since the 2011 acquisition of AMAC, which at time of sale (more…)