Mid-week corral: CVS closes Signify Health; Bertolini to lead Oscar Health; ViVE highlights from Wellvana, AWS, Everly Health; Better Therapeutics lays off 35%, CoverMyMeds 815

CVS closed its acquisition of Signify Health today. This $8 billion transaction ($30.50/share) adds a network of more than 10,000 clinicians nationally, including the 170-provider Medicare ACO group originally organized by Caravan Health. It was beneficial to the major shareholder group, New Mountain Capital and their investors, which owned 60% of Signify and have a tidily profitable exit. The CVS press release stated that Signify would continue to operate as a ‘payer-agnostic’ business within CVS Health. As earlier stated, Kyle Armbrester, Signify’s CEO, will continue to lead the business. Also Healthcare Dive (updated)

The bulldog engineer of the CVS-Aetna merger, Mark Bertolini, now tapped to head Oscar Health. Bertolini, the former chairman/CEO of Aetna (center), in the past three years since his unwilling (according to him) departure from the CVS board of directors [TTA 6 Feb 2020], has not been idle. From 2022, he was co-CEO of asset management firm Bridgewater Associates, and in the last 18 months, he has been a ‘strategic advisor’ to insurtech Oscar. Now he moves to the CEO office effective next Monday (3 April) and joins their board. Co-founder Mario Schlosser (left) steps back from CEO to president of technology, reporting to Bertolini, and joins the board. Joshua Kushner, a co-founder and major investor (Thrive Capital), as well as executive chairman of the board, is on the right in the leadership picture supplied with the Business Wire release.

Once a skeptic of insurtechs like Oscar, Bertolini by his statements is now a true believer. In a call with investors on Tuesday, he cited their technology that included digitization, individualization, and personal care. A major factor is that consumers are more comfortable since the pandemic with telehealth. Oscar was a pioneer in offering free telehealth with their plans.

Investors have pressed Oscar to get over to a profitable state by next year. Oscar has not been profitable since its 2012 founding by Schlosser, Kushner, and the long-departed Kevin Nazemi. In the time since Bertolini joined as an advisor, they have largely shed their Medicare Advantage business and concentrated on their individual market and ACA plans, which have seen huge growth along with overall record enrollment on the exchanges. But Oscar paused on new ACA signups in Florida and hauled back its glitchy and over-featured +Oscar tech platform [TTA 24 April 2021], which is now available unbundled. 2022 financials were substantially in the red with a loss of $610 million on revenue of $4 billion (Oscar release). However, the news of Bertolini moving to Oscar’s helm was met with a round of investor confidence. Share price moved from Monday’s close of $3.41 to $6.70 midday Tuesday and has largely stayed in the $6.00 range. Oscar release on Business Wire, FierceHealthcare, Healthcare Dive, YahooFinance

ViVE, the digital health spinoff of HLTH, concluded its annual meeting in Nashville this year with an announced attendance of 7,500, including 650 startups, 425 investors, and 330 hosted buyers. The energetic start on Sunday was sadly marked on Monday with the shooting at the local Covenant School where six were killed. Impressions from an anonymous attendee to HISTalk today were that most of the sessions were panels (which gets more people up front, but can be sunk by a dull moderator) versus individual speakers (who can either be fabulous or duds). Content could have been more inspiring and, as usual, many speakers are throwing out headlines for those in media to write about. This Editor has read relatively little so far but more will come this week. Highlights so far:

  • Nashville-based Wellvana Health, which provides technology for healthcare providers and health systems to implement value-based care, raised a stunning Series B of $84 million for a total raise of $140 million. Heritage Group and Valtruis co-led the investment with participation from Memorial Hermann Health System. The funding will be used to expand from its present 22 states and over 100,000 lives. Their current agreements are with multiple payers, Medicare Advantage, and three national contracts for the 2023 ACO REACH model. FierceHealthcare, Mobihealthnews
  • Everly Health is moving beyond its current home testing kits to integrate lab testing with telehealth. This will cover certain conditions, such as COVID-19, flu, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), urinary tract infections (UTIs), thyroid, weight management, and men’s and women’s health. Cost is out of pocket $59 and if insurance covers, $10-50. In its weight management program, Everly will offer GLP-1 drugs, a class of drugs that includes Ozempic and Wegovy, to qualified patients. FierceHealthcare
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced 23 startups for their 2023 Healthcare Accelerator: Global Cohort for Workforce. This year’s accelerator cohort is finding solutions for the healthcare industry in three core areas for healthcare employees: retention, deployment, and training. More on the accelerator here and the list here, including 10 from the UK. FierceHealthcare
  • Health systems are demanding a quick ROI on their digital expenditures, according to a panel of CIOs and digital officers from Providence, Allegheny Health Network, Sutter Health, and Adventist Health. It should not be a surprise to anyone that they are looking for returns in the next year or so–yet are pushing forward with investments because of inflation and increased workforce pressures. FierceHealthcare

Another digital cognitive behavioral therapy trims. Better Therapeutics is reportedly releasing 35% of staff, or 15 people, in yet another cutback of another company in the formerly high, wide, and flying sector. Better specializes in prescription digital therapeutics to address cardiometabolic diseases such as diabetes. Better SPAC’d in 2021 [TTA 8 April 2021] hitting the market at $10.25 and currently trading on Nasdaq at about $0.60. According to their SEC filing, they are trying to stretch remaining cash to reach potential FDA marketing authorization and subsequent commercial launch of BT-001 in Type 2 diabetes. Better is in the same jam as competitors Pear Therapeutics and Akili Interactive, both paring back to the bone and looking for buyers, according to Mobihealthnews. Also LayoffsTracker

CoverMyMeds, a division of healthcare giant McKesson, is also laying off 815 by mid-April and closing its Scottsdale, Arizona office. The Arizona office has the company’s patient support center; workers there will be given the option to move to Columbus, Ohio. Other offices including Columbus (Franklinton) and Atlanta will be condensed and space leased out. CoverMyMeds automates the prior authorization process for medications for payers. What is unusual is that the company, bought for about $1 billion in 2017, accounted for $1.1 billion of McKesson’s $70.5 billion in 2022 revenue, and $136 million in McKesson profit–the most profitable of their four divisions. Columbus Dispatch, Layoffs.fyi

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