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PERS/RPM catchup: VRI bought by ModivCare for $315M; Connect America buys AI-powered RPM 100Plus, opens new SC center

ModivCare buys VRI. While your Editor was on holiday leave enjoying the beautiful beaches of late-late summer, the long-rumored sale of PERS and remote patient monitoring provider VRI [TTA 9 July] closed on 22 September. The buyer is a non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT), home care (Simplura), and meal delivery company once known as Circulation and now ModivCare. Purchase price is $315 million, subject to customary purchase price adjustments. VRI generated $56 million of revenue and $21 million of adjusted EBITDA for the twelve-month period ended June 30, 2021. The majority owner of VRI since 2014 was Pamlico Capital. VRI will... Continue Reading

Amazon Care confirms five more cities, beefs up DC lobbying–but what’s the real game?

...first six months of the year, and spent $18.7 million in 2020.” The (unfortunately paywalled) report in STAT confirms the hire of Claire Winiarek from PCMA to be their new director of health policy. This Editor’s opinion remains as in June–that Amazon’s business plans for Care and Pharmacy, and generally in healthcare, are really about accumulating data, not user revenue, and are certainly not altruistic no matter what they say. Amazon will accumulate and own national healthcare data on Amazon Care and Pharmacy users far more valuable than whatever is spent on providing care and services. Amazon will not only... Continue Reading

Theranos, The Trial of Elizabeth Holmes, ch. 4: we deceive those who want to believe

...not, we're faced with the threat or promise (take your pick) of industrial healthcare (of which Theranos is an example, albeit extreme) where we, as patients, become little more than commodities - our bodies seen as a mass of components, our measures harvested and data-hungry algorithms fed. Full credit to TA for highlighting some of the issues, for featuring the Elizabeth Holmes trial - and also highlighting other areas for concern in a world where greed and rampant commercialism may (as pointed to in the work of Victor Montori) lead us to lose the things we value about personal care.... Continue Reading

News and deal roundup: Babylon’s $200M raise, Best Buy buys Current Health, Virgin Pulse-Welltok, Devoted Health’s $1bn raise, Withings watch gains FDA ECG clearance

...unusual. Terms were not disclosed other than it was a cash deal and that Current’s CEO Christopher McCann will be remaining with the company. Best Buy extends its reach into digital home health, following on their 2019 buys of GreatCall, Critical Signal Technologies for RPM, and partnership with Tyto Care. Current had achieved FDA Class II clearance in early 2019 [TTA 7 Feb 2019], had piloted with Mount Sinai Brooklyn and in the UK, Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust for a post-discharge monitoring program, and recently had created a “Community” initiative to build diverse longitudinal datasets for decentralized clinical trials... Continue Reading

Babylon Health’s SPAC closing later this month at $4.2 billion value, buys California medical practices

...Services, a suite of digital self-care tools for patients and doctors, including an AI-enabled symptom checker. Expansion has been as far flung as Rwanda and the US, although in the crowded US telehealth market, Babylon has found it difficult to make a strong impression versus Teladoc and Amwell, though they cover three million lives and has licensed providers in all 50 states. They recently bought two California-based medical practices, Meritage Medical Network and First Choice Medical Group, opening an office in Palo Alto. Babylon also optioned to buy Higi health kiosks after a $30 million investment [TTA 30 May 20],... Continue Reading

Theranos, The Trial of Elizabeth Holmes: ch. 1

...testing to FDA-approved devices versus the Edison labs. The cross and the bickering went on into Friday and probably will resume on Tuesday next week (@doratki). Also on Tuesday was brief testimony from Celgene manager Victoria Sung, who drew a picture of more Theranos fabrications around how pharmaceutical companies (Celgene owned by Bristol Myers-Squibb) had not “comprehensively validated” Theranos technology. 2012 results showed that Theranos labs performed “out of range” versus standard tests, and other tests were not run. Last week, Theranos employee Surekha Gangakhedkar in her testimony stated that she did not think GSK’s report validated Theranos’ tests. Mercury... Continue Reading

Walgreens may acquire Evolent Health: report

...through New Century Health. Notably, Walgreens would grow ever closer to primary care providers through Evolent Care Partners, a 1,000 provider, six-state ACO network covering 90,000 lives. Last week, Walgreens bolstered its pharmacy operations through a majority investment of $970 million in specialty pharmacy company Shields Health Solutions, also a fit with the proposed Evolent acquisition with their specialty care management area. Should this go through, it further differentiates Walgreens from rival CVS Aetna as a services provider. Evolent is a public company trading on the NYSE with a current valuation of $2.71 billion, so it won’t come cheaply. Reuters... Continue Reading

Is healthcare too much for Big Tech’s Google and Apple? Look at the track record. And David Feinberg’s $34M Cerner package.

With Google scattering Google Health to the four winds of the organization--the heck with what employees recruited for Health think of being reorg’d to, say, Maps or YouTube and falling through the corporate rabbit hole–more detail has leaked of Apple’s struggles. This time, on the scaleback list (a/k/a chopping block) is Health Habit. It’s an app in the Apple Store that connects users with AC Wellness, a doctor’s group in Cupertino, California. The ‘eligible participants’ are restricted to Apple employees. From the app site, they can check weight, nutrition, blood pressure, and schedule wellness checks. It seems to be the... Continue Reading

Deal and news roundup: Humana closes $5.7B Kindred at Home buy, Unite Us SDOH buys Carrot Health for data, Carrot Fertility raises $75M, Maven Clinic at $1B value, Privia partners with Babyscripts for moms, Tyto Care and Prisma Health

Home care continues to rock with the third move in two weeks. Payer giant Humana closed its acquisition of home care giant Kindred at Home, completing the acquisition of the approximately 60% Humana did not already own for $5.7 billion. Kindred provides home health, hospice, and personal care services to over 550,000 patients annually, making it the largest US home health company. Humana will integrate Kindred into their Home Solutions business, sunsetting the Kindred name for CenterWell Home Health starting in 2022. CenterWell is payer-agnostic, which is a fancy way of saying that they sell to other payers. An interesting... Continue Reading

Comprehensive “clinic-on-the-wrist” digital health sensor system debuts. Apple Watch of future? (UK/US)

...system uses an infrared (IR) spectrophotometer that generates a large number of discrete laser outputs from a single silicon chip covering a broad optical band which can penetrate underneath the skin. The module communicates with custom cloud-based analytical engines via a Rockley smartphone app (far right). Obviously, Rockley is seeking to commercialize this through partnerships with consumer electronics companies in digital health and fitness monitoring. Rockley is a key supplier to Apple for sensors. Release, FierceHealthcare Financially, on 9 August they closed their SPAC with SC Health Corp. of Singapore after the UK courts approved the business combination. As of... Continue Reading