Mid-week roundup: Wisconsin’s Marshfield Clinic zeros out telehealth staff; Komodo Health lays off 9%; epharmacy Medly’s Ch. 11, PharmEasy layoffs; OneStudyTeam releases 25%

Year-end brings reckonings and reorganizations….and may leave you feeling like Pepper.

Marshfield Clinic, located in rural north central Wisconsin, eliminated its 18-person telehealth department on 1 December. It is not clear from reports whether telehealth is being eliminated (HISTalk) or whether this is being maintained by current IT staff. This follows news of ongoing financial difficulties in this network of 12 community and rural hospitals and 65 clinics. In August, they renegotiated some loans in the wake of losing $25 million that month–and their CFO departed. The health system is also in the throes of replacing a 30-year-old homegrown EHR with Cerner. Like most rural hospital systems, Marshfield has been keelhauled between increasing wage and supply costs plus the ending of CARES Act subsidies. It has had ongoing merger discussions with Minnesota’s Essentia Health. WSAW-TV 7 (Wausau WI)

Recently fast-growing Komodo Health is laying off 9%, or 78, staff.  The layoffs were positioned as a ‘restructuring’ to remaining employees. Interestingly, Komodo has about 40 positions recently posted and listed as open on LinkedIn, not including its CFO who is departing at end of this year.

Komodo is reportedly planning to IPO in 2023. In early November, it completed a structured equity infusion of $200 million from Coatue and Dragoneer. Reportedly, Komodo’s annual recurring revenue is $150 million but is not yet profitable. Last March in its Series E, it was valued at a rich $3.3 billion. 

Komodo is in the complex analytics business of creating data maps out of de-identified patient data. From this, they create software applications that reveal patient behaviors, can guide treatment, highlight care gaps, and, in their words, ‘reduce the global burden of disease’. Like mapping patient health journeys, everyone agrees it is valuable, but then debates on how to apply it. Is it the whole truth and nothing but? Or are my patients different? Whether strapped health systems and health plans see that Komodo’s applications are necessary, given their in-house data, with the knock-on cost of integrating it into their systems, is entirely another question that influences Komodo’s growth. TechCrunch, FierceHealthcare, Mobihealthnews  

Two epharmacy operations have run into significant financial difficulties.

  • Brooklyn’s Medly filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on 9 December, closing 20 stores. A scrappy upstart founded in 2017 that grew from a storefront in Brooklyn to over 20 physical locations in New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia plus four same-day prescription delivery centers, they went through a cash crunch in August that derailed their filling prescriptions for close to one month. Precipitating this was their purchase of Boulder-based integrative pharmacy Pharmaca in late 2021 to add 21 locations in 20 markets across nine states, first-half losses of $35 million, and failure to obtain over the summer a $100 million loan. Medly owes about $121 million plus $47 million in trade debt, unpaid salaries, and other unsecured debt. A bidder, MedPharmaca Holdings Inc., will have an opening bid of $18.5 million at a bankruptcy auction for almost all of Medly’s assets, including the Pharmaca stores.

A complication–employees are also suing the company in a class action lawsuit for mass layoffs. 1,100 of 1,900 employees were not given up to 90 days written notice, as required by Federal and NY State Worker Adjustment and Retraining (WARN) Acts. WARN act notices were posted after the layoffs, according to the lawsuit. Employees also lost salary, commissions, bonuses, accrued holiday pay, and 401(k) contributions. Oddly, their website lists about 20 open positions, but this Editor is sure that is due to the website manager also being laid off.  FierceHealthcare, Boulder Daily Camera, Digital Health Business

  • Nearly 8,000 miles away, PharmEasy of Mumbai, India has laid off an undisclosed number of people in a second round of layoffs, primarily in product technology, quality analytics, and support verticals. Their problems, reported in India’s Inc42, center on mounting losses, a funding crunch, and a shelved IPO. India’s Business Standard reported that the layoffs will go into the hundreds. PharmEasy is an online store covering most of India that delivers everything from medications and lab tests to doctor referrals and Dettol. 

And last in this (depressing) roundup is Boston’s OneStudyTeam’s 25% layoff of 160 employees with the usual “restructure our team going into 2023” and “streamline operations” statements, despite being used by 70% of biopharma companies.  OneStudyTeam has a clinical trial workflow platform that enrolls and manages patients. As part of clinical trials holding company Reify Health, it is a sister company to Care Access, a decentralized research organization (DRO). In April, Reify added $220 million in Series E funding for $479.6 million in total, increasing its valuation to $4.8 billion. Mobihealthnews, Crunchbase

Midweek heat wave roundup: GE Healthcare’s new name, hospital-to-home health trending big, over 2 million patient records hacked

GE’s breakup into three public companies, announced last November [TTA 12 Nov 21], has been formalized with brand names. No surprise, the healthcare business has but a teeny tiny change to GE HealthCare (logo left) and after the spinoff will be trading sometime in early 2023 under GEHC on Nasdaq because “GE HealthCare will benefit from the exchange’s profile and track record as a market for innovative, technology-led public companies, particularly in the healthcare sector. The heritage ‘meatball’ (as we called it in marketing internally, but formally the Monogram) will be retained but the color will change from poison green to “compassion purple” to reflect more humanity and warmth and achieve greater distinction”. The hardest hit part of GE, the energy businesses, will be spun off as GE Vernova and key color an ‘evergreen’. What is left will be GE Aerospace, retaining its name and change its color to an ‘upper atmosphere’ blue that is almost black. Outer space, anyone? GE release, interview on YouTube

Au courant is hospital-to-home (H2H) and home health, digitally enabled mais bien sûr.

  • Mass General Brigham (MGB) is reportedly expanding its current 25-bed program to 200 in the next 2.5 years. Since 2016, MGB has treated nearly 1,800 H2H patients. By end of 2023, they plan 90 hospital-at-home beds managed across Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, and Salem Hospital. Their new head for home-based care will be Heather O’Sullivan, who comes from EVP and chief clinical innovation officer spots at Kindred at Home, acquired by Humana in 2021. FierceHealthcare
  • Out in rural Wisconsin, Marshfield Clinic is rolling out a H2H program with DispatchHealth, to coordinate medical care for injuries and illnesses including viral infections, COPD exacerbations, congestive heart failure, and more. The goal is to reduce non-emergency ED visits. DispatchHealth can also perform services such as onsite diagnostics, mobile imaging, and CLIA-certified labs for kidney function, electrolytes, and urinalysis. In March 2021, they closed a $200 million Series D bringing their funding to unicorn level. HealthcareITNews
  • UHG’s Optum has moved closer on its $5.5 billion acquisition of LHC Group home health and hospice [TTA 31 Mar] with shareholder approval on 21 June. Once closed later this year, LHC will be integrated into Optum Health. LHC operates in 37 states and the District of Columbia, employing about 30,000 individuals. Home Health Care News, Becker’s

And what would a week with a heat wave that melts runways at RAF Brize Norton and Luton be without a couple of big data breaches to heat up things? Stolen: an iPad chock full of 75,000 Kaiser Permanente patients’ PHI from Kaiser’s Los Angeles Medical Center’s COVID-19 testing center. While the information on the iPad included first and last names, dates of birth, medical record numbers, and dates and location of service (but not SSN or financial information), Kaiser was able to remotely erase the data. At this point, there is no evidence of theft or misuse. NBC Los Angeles, Becker’s   An even larger breach of 2 million records came via a February hack attack on health provider debt collector Professional Finance Company (PFC). Hackers got into PFC’s computers and accessed patient names, addresses, SSN, health insurance, and medical treatment data. Among the 650 client companies affected were Banner Health and Nevada physician network Renown Health. Healthcare Dive