News roundup: Transcarent raises $126M; 98point6 lays off; Oscar notches first profit; Steward Health’s Ch. 11; Amazon Clinic GM leaves; Amwell’s down but hopeful Q1; Hims founder gets political

A study in contrasts

Already well-funded Transcarent gains another $126 million in a Series D round. Total outside funding is $424 million that boosts its valuation to $2.2 billion. This round will fund expansion and development efforts plus enhancing the platform’s AI capabilities. The Series D round was led by General Catalyst and Glen Tullman’s 7wireVentures, with participation from new investors Memorial Hermann Health System and Geodesic Capital, along with existing investors. As noted in our Rock Health analysis (but not in the company’s release), this raise had a ‘sweetener’ of a 2.5x return should the company IPO or M&A.  Transcarent is an enterprise health navigator that enables employees to use a single platform to navigate their needs for medical, surgery, pharmacy, and mental health care. Transcarent’s differentiator in this space for large self-insured employers is that Transcarent steers employees to higher quality, lower cost care settings. Their pricing is also based on actual users only in risk-based agreements, versus the more common per member per month (PMPM) care management model. Transcarent also pays health systems up front for surgical procedures.

Tullman, who is also Transcarent’s CEO, is well known for creating high profile companies that eventually are sold or IPO’d for high valuations. These deals make his followers money, but often not the buyers (ask Teladoc) or the employees left in the lurch. This Editor does wonder, given the state of US business right now, how this competitive enterprise care management niche earns this kind of investment and valuation. Release, Mobihealthnews 

One of Transcarent’s buys last year was 98point6’s virtual care and related assets that included 98point6’s physician group, self-insured employer business, and an irrevocable software license in a deal worth potentially $100 million according to publicity. 98point6 then had a well publicized and $32 million-financed pivot to being a software company and licensor, acquiring remaining assets from asynchronous telehealth provider Bright.md this past January for 55% in equity and 45% in cash. Despite all this, little noted was that at the end of April was that 98point6 laid off an undisclosed number of its estimated 100 US-based staff. One wonders if this affects service to Bright.md’s provider customers. GeekWire

On the health plan side, rebooted insurtech Oscar Health finally got into the black with $177.4 million in net income for Q1 and beat earnings per share estimates. It’s no surprise to those of us who’ve followed the modus operandi of Mark Bertolini, who took the reins a year ago March [TTA 30 Mar 2023] and stated at the time that his focus was moving Oscar to profitability. Total revenue was $2.1 billion, a 46% increase versus Q1 2023, driven primarily by higher membership, rate increases, and lower risk adjustment as a percentage of premiums. Release. Becker’s, FierceHealthcare Their full 2024 is projected at $8.3 to $8.4 billion in revenue, $125 to $175 million in adjusted EBIDTA. Oscar solely offers ACA exchange plans for individuals and small groups, having exited Medicare Advantage after 2022. Release

Steward Health Care filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy on 6 May. As forecast when the company moved to sell its provider group Stewardship Health to Optum [TTA 18 Apr], Steward’s debt load in its 31 hospitals and operations forced the restructuring on Monday. What’s owed: $1.2 billion in total loan debts, about $6.6 billion in long-term lease payments, north of $600 million to 30 of its largest lenders (Change Healthcare, Philips North America LLC, Medline Industries, AYA Healthcare and Cerner). There’s $289.8 million in unpaid compensation obligations: $68 million to its own workers in unpaid employee salaries, $105.6 million in payments for physician services and $47.7 million owed to staffing agencies. Topping it off–$979.4 million outstanding in trade obligations, of which approximately 70% are over 120 days past due.

Debtor-in-possession is now Medical Properties Trust (MPT) which will finance $75 million up front extending to $225 million more if Steward’s asset selloff milestones are completed on time. MPT will need to be far more forthcoming about Steward’s finances than Steward has been. The Stewardship Health sale to Optum now has to pass through the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas as well as Massachusetts regulators. Becker’s, Healthcare Dive 6 May, 7 May

Amazon Clinic loses its general manager, Nworah Ayogu, MD. He departed for Thrive Capital, a secretive VC (based on its website) that invests in technology, internet, and software companies. Dr. Ayogu, who doubled as chief medical officer of Amazon Pharmacy, stated the move will enable him to focus “exclusively on healthcare” after nearly four years with Amazon. He launched Clinic in November 2022 to a full 50-state rollout of the asynchronous and synchronous telehealth service last August, after a privacy challenge that escalated to the Senatorial level and forced a rollout delay [TTA 1 Aug 2023]. It sounds more like the doctor needs to go on a break. Amazon has not announced a replacement nor has Thrive issued any information. Becker’s, Modern Healthcare

Amwell’s soft Q1 reflective of telehealth as a whole. Its Q1 revenue of $59.5 million was 7% below Q1 2023’s $64 million, and missed Mr. Market’s forecasts. Where there was improvement was that net loss narrowed considerably to $73.4 million from prior year’s $398.5 million, when it took a hefty non-cash goodwill impairment charge. The bright spot Amwell is forecasting is that their Federal contract with Defense Health Agency, jointly with Leidos, will impact by Q4. Their part of the Digital First initiative for the Military Health System (MHS) will replace the current system, MHS Video Connect, with Amwell Converge [TTA 15 May]. Their pending NYSE stock delisting they plan to remedy with a reverse stock split to be announced.  Healthcare Dive, Amwell’s SEC Form 10-Q

Hims CEO and founder Andrew Dudum Does a Dumb. Mr. Dudum made a statement that on X that was interpreted by most to be encouraging the disruptive anti-Israel university and elsewhere protests which have roiled cities like New York and Los Angeles for weeks and are canceling graduations at Columbia University and University of Southern California. A statement like “If you’re currently protesting against the genocide of the Palestinian people & for your university’s divestment from Israel, keep going. It’s working.” and went on to say that companies would be eager to hire them is plain and clear. It immediately garnered criticism from investment group, industry, and software heads, as well as conservative and moderate media. This Editor will put on her marketing cap and remind Mr. Dudum of Marketing 101–be memorable, but do not offend the customer or investors who give you money. You have, after all, a company that depends upon appealing to a wide spectrum of people with easy and recurring telehealth prescriptions for hair loss, weight loss, skin problems, women’s health concerns, and erectile dysfunction. Your statement was not only completely unnecessary but also inflammatory at a bad time–it offended many customers no matter what religion or beliefs. Stock dropped. Customers canceled. Note to Mr. Dudum: if you want a thriving business, don’t live up to your name. FoxBusiness

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