TTA’s Bipolar Start to May: Teladoc’s big loss, telemental health and drugs scrutinized, Allscripts’ CEO goes bye, as does 500 Noom staff, but positive announcements during ATA, more!

 

 

Weekly Alert 

Thank you for your patience over the last two weeks!


An unusual April has wrapped, but May has gotten off to an unsettling start, from the stock market to telehealth’s leaders such as Teladoc. Hot areas like telemental health and prescribing are (deservedly) under scrutiny, and Noom’s losing more than pounds. But a sign of normality is that ATA is back in person, and there were many announcements with significance. 

Weekend news and deals roundup: Allscripts closes sale of hospital EHRs, closing out CEO; DEA scrutiny of Cerebral’s ADHD telehealth prescribing; more telehealth fraud; Noom lays off; fundings; and why healthcare AI is only ML (Looks like some cleaning up is going on)
ATA conference roundup: a new board chair, a digital app review pilot, and company announcements (Hopkins study, BioIntelliSense, Connect America, AliveCor, Withings, more)
Some thoughts on Teladoc and the Week That Was in telehealth (When the whales are in trouble, there may be opportunities for the minnows)

April is proving to be an active month for something other than rain and blooming cherry trees. A new CEO for Tunstall. Tivity and MobileHelp are sold. UnitedHealth and Optum won’t give up on Change, including a hefty break fee, nor big buys. On the retail front, Walmart finally opens up Florida superstores powered by Epic, and Walgreens ‘corners’ with Blue Shield in California. Some local telehealth grants and the surprising vitality of audio telehealth for the underserved. And, to no one’s surprise, digital health got off to a slow start in Q1.

Tunstall Healthcare announces new group CEO, Emil Peters (More changing of the guard) 

Weekend roundup: telehealth claims ticked up again in January, Walmart opens Florida health ‘superstores’, Blue Shield California partners with Walgreens’ Health Corners 
Thursday roundup: UHG/Optum, Change extend merger deadline to 31 Dec, buys Kelsey-Seybold; $2B Tivity Health sale; General Dynamics enters derm AI diagnostics; MobileHelp PERS sold to Advocate Aurora (A recovery in the works?)
Digital health funding’s Q1 hangover from 2021’s bender–and Q2 is a question mark, even for Rock Health (Some companies have aching heads still)
Wisconsin’s $5M for child psychiatry, community telehealth; FQHC patients prefer audio-only telehealth–Rand (Back to the roots of telehealth for less health served populations)


Have a job to fill? Seeking a position? See jobs listed with our new job search partner Jooble in the right sidebar!


The first full week of Spring turned out to be a busy one, from big buys by UHG/Optum in home and mental health, a significant one by LetsGetChecked, and more health tech fundings. Babylon’s Higi integrates their chatbot. Optum’s physician telehealth study shows there’s a way to go, along with Laurie Orlov’s aging tech studies and articles. The former Practice Fusion’s miseries with DOJ continue. And Amazon Health’s looking for talent.

Weekend wrapup & reading: Amazon Health on talent hunt, Practice Fusion fined $200K for violating $145M prosecution agreement, and must-read studies and articles on older adults tech (Read in between spring cleaning)
What do physicians really think about telehealth, now that they’ve used it? Lower use, substantial frustrations remain. (Another needle puncturing the bubble)
Friday roundup: LetsGetChecked buys Veritas Genetics, Everly Health adds CMO, Babylon sends chatbot to Higi, ConcertAI’s $150M Series C, AmplifyMD’s $23M, and two ‘Brights’ raise $155M (Reviving market?)
UnitedHealth Group makes two jumbo buys for Optum: LHC Group home health for $5B, Refresh Mental Health (Optum not letting grass grow with the Change DOJ lawsuit)

Winter turned into Spring, it’s raining, and it’s time for pleasant thoughts of a cheerful movie about the Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Speaking of France, Glooko’s European tour picked up DIABNEXT. Action in Asia-Pac with Vietnam’s Jio Health and Pear for sleepless Japanese. Certainly Sunny Balwani isn’t getting much sleep lately with the kickoff of Theranos Trial #2. And after 25 years of one man at the top, it’s a young tech-savvy woman in charge at Centene–and their cubies are hanging on.

Short takes for Thursday: TimeDoc’s timely $48M, Glooko buys France’s DIABNEXT, Jio Health’s $20M, Pear’s Tokyo sleep-wake, Antidote’s $22M, and Centene’s new, young CEO signals big changes (More consolidation, funding, and a changing of the guard after 25 years)
The Theranos Trials, ch. 3: Sunny and Elizabeth were in it together, all the way (Balwani’s rerun of Holmes’ trial)
DOJ lawsuit to block UnitedHealth-Change Healthcare’s acquisition now set for 1 August trial (UHG and Change not giving up)


Read Telehealth and Telecare Aware: https://telecareaware.com/  @telecareaware

Follow our pages on LinkedIn and on Facebook

We thank our present and past advertisers and supporters: Legrand/Tynetec, Eldercare, UK Telehealthcare, NYeC, PCHAlliance, ATA, The King’s Fund, DHACA, HIMSS, Health 2.0 NYC, MedStartr, Parks Associates, and HealthIMPACT.

Reach international leaders in health tech by advertising your company or event/conference in TTA–contact Donna for more information on how we help and who we reach. 


Telehealth & Telecare Aware: covering the news on latest developments in telecare, telehealth, telemedicine, and health tech, worldwide–thoughtfully and from the view of fellow professionals

Thanks for asking for update emails. Please tell your colleagues about this news service and, if you have relevant information to share with the rest of the world, please let me know.

Donna Cusano, Editor In Chief
donna.cusano@telecareaware.com

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Some thoughts on Teladoc and the Week That Was in telehealth

Yes, your Editor has, for the past few weeks, felt like Pepper the Robot, moving at two speeds–crazed and off. (‘Off ‘ to the left. Now cart me off.) Home renovations, with strangers tramping through your abode, noise, dust, and the corresponding moving of furniture, packing and unpacking, pre- and post-cleaning, then trying to put things right and get your life back will do that. Add to that an unexpected gushy kitchen sink that took three ‘fixes’ to get actually fixed. Then there were technical problems with our email sender that Editor and Administrator Emeritus Steve had to work through. One becomes more appreciative of order, routine, and Peace and Quiet.

Speaking of Peace and Quiet, there is little to be found in telehealth. Instead, there is a lot of Feeling Off. The Big News of late last week, of course, was Teladoc’s troubles. In the words of Seeking Alpha, they had one horrific quarter. The horror show started with writing off the Livongo acquisition– a noncash goodwill impairment charge of $6.6 billion, for a massive loss of $41.11 per share for a total of $41.58 per share. To compare, last year’s Q1 loss was $1.31 per share. While revenues were up almost to projection (25%), it was still a $3 million miss and in context, it was the cherry on a very nasty sundae. After rosy projections last year, Teladoc lowered their 2022 revenue guidance from $2.6 billion to $2.45 billion.  

Moving forward from the questionable Livongo acquisition at the absolute peak of the market, CEO Jason Gorevic admitted some hard truths to investors that deepened the hole: much more competition, particularly in telemental health; the rising cost of paid search advertising and the keywords driving towards direct-to-consumer telehealth driving up the cost of acquisition; and difficulty closing B2B deals. This creates, in the terms of analyst SVB Leerink’s Stephanie Davis quoted in FierceHealthIT, “a direct-to-consumer air pocket that business-to-business sales (and their inherently longer cycles) are too slow to fill” at least, in her view, until the end of the year.

Teladoc’s difficulties, as this Editor has noted, started after a peak in early 2021 as the pandemic started its protracted wind-down and telehealth volumes plunged to well below 5% of claims as practices reopened. The stock value is down over 90% from last February, not helped by a volatile market triggered by war and inflation. Similar difficulties are plaguing Amwell (down 92% since February 2021), Talkspace (down to a paltry 16 cents and in court for misleading investors), SOC Telemed (taken private at a 70% drop in value, TTA 8 Feb), and other health tech companies. For our Readers, this is no surprise: the telehealth bender is ovah.

One industry leader in a post-ATA conversation with this Editor cited a less obvious factor–that hospitals and other health providers are now putting together their own telehealth/triage packages tied into population health and case management software, with and without ‘white label’ providers such as Bluestream Health and Zipnosis (acquired by insurtech/payvider Bright Health a year ago). Teladoc is a late entry to this provider/payer market with Primary360, where they also compete with Babylon Health [TTA 7 Oct 22]. And health retailers have joined the primary care telehealth game. Walmart last week announced a virtual health diabetes care program for employers through their recently acquired MeMD.

Big Telehealth’s troubles may depress investment in related earlier stage companies–or help those in niches such as telemental and population health, or remote patient monitoring (RPM) systems that have telehealth features (e.g. TytoCare), as VC investment seeks a brighter home. Right now, this Editor’s Magic 8 Ball is saying ‘outlook, cloudy”. 

TTA’s April Showers: digital health funding’s slow start, UHG/Optum sticking with Change, buys Kelsey-Seybold, Walmart’s health superstores, Walgreens/Blue Shield CA’s Health Corners, Tivity & MobileHelp sold, more!

 

 

Weekly Update

April is proving to be an active month for something other than rain and blooming cherry trees, including company sales of Tivity and MobileHelp. UnitedHealth and Optum won’t give up on Change, including a hefty break fee, nor big buys. On the retail front, Walmart finally opens up Florida superstores powered by Epic, and Walgreens ‘corners’ with Blue Shield in California. Some local telehealth grants and the surprising vitality of audio telehealth for the underserved. And, to no one’s surprise, digital health got off to a slow start in Q1.

Weekend roundup: telehealth claims ticked up again in January, Walmart opens Florida health ‘superstores’, Blue Shield California partners with Walgreens’ Health Corners 
Thursday roundup: UHG/Optum, Change extend merger deadline to 31 Dec, buys Kelsey-Seybold; $2B Tivity Health sale; General Dynamics enters derm AI diagnostics; MobileHelp PERS sold to Advocate Aurora (A recovery in the works?)
Digital health funding’s Q1 hangover from 2021’s bender–and Q2 is a question mark, even for Rock Health (Some companies have aching heads still)
Wisconsin’s $5M for child psychiatry, community telehealth; FQHC patients prefer audio-only telehealth–Rand (Back to the roots of telehealth for less health served populations)


Have a job to fill? Seeking a position? See jobs listed with our new job search partner Jooble in the right sidebar!


The first full week of Spring turned out to be a busy one, from big buys by UHG/Optum in home and mental health, a significant one by LetsGetChecked, and more health tech fundings. Babylon’s Higi integrates their chatbot. Optum’s physician telehealth study shows there’s a way to go, along with Laurie Orlov’s aging tech studies and articles. The former Practice Fusion’s miseries with DOJ continue. And Amazon Health’s looking for talent.

Weekend wrapup & reading: Amazon Health on talent hunt, Practice Fusion fined $200K for violating $145M prosecution agreement, and must-read studies and articles on older adults tech (Read in between spring cleaning)
What do physicians really think about telehealth, now that they’ve used it? Lower use, substantial frustrations remain. (Another needle puncturing the bubble)
Friday roundup: LetsGetChecked buys Veritas Genetics, Everly Health adds CMO, Babylon sends chatbot to Higi, ConcertAI’s $150M Series C, AmplifyMD’s $23M, and two ‘Brights’ raise $155M (Reviving market?)
UnitedHealth Group makes two jumbo buys for Optum: LHC Group home health for $5B, Refresh Mental Health (Optum not letting grass grow with the Change DOJ lawsuit)

Winter turned into Spring, it’s raining, and it’s time for pleasant thoughts of a cheerful movie about the Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Speaking of France, Glooko’s European tour picked up DIABNEXT. Action in Asia-Pac with Vietnam’s Jio Health and Pear for sleepless Japanese. Certainly Sunny Balwani isn’t getting much sleep lately with the kickoff of Theranos Trial #2. And after 25 years of one man at the top, it’s a young tech-savvy woman in charge at Centene–and their cubies are hanging on.

Short takes for Thursday: TimeDoc’s timely $48M, Glooko buys France’s DIABNEXT, Jio Health’s $20M, Pear’s Tokyo sleep-wake, Antidote’s $22M, and Centene’s new, young CEO signals big changes (More consolidation, funding, and a changing of the guard after 25 years)
The Theranos Trials, ch. 3: Sunny and Elizabeth were in it together, all the way (Balwani’s rerun of Holmes’ trial)
DOJ lawsuit to block UnitedHealth-Change Healthcare’s acquisition now set for 1 August trial (UHG and Change not giving up)

We edge closer to Spring and our Headline News is a little here and there. ElliQ launches its desktop companion robot for seniors, GE Healthcare and AliveCor partner for cardiac monitoring, and Komodo Health and Included Health may IPO. NHS Digital is also playing catchup. All’s well in Walmart’s World. But given the real Headline News, insurer Anthem made a Myopic Move in announcing a name change now.   

Friday short takes: ElliQ companion robot launches, Tunstall pilots chronic condition support in Ireland, Walmart Better(s)Up, TytoCare surveys virtual primary care, Microsoft closes $19B buy of Nuance (A Friday potpourri)
NHS Digital roundup: £200M allocated for research, COVID-19/cancer cross-research using the new Trusted Research Environment (TRE) (TRE is high value for research)
Thursday news roundup: Walmart hiring 50K workers including health, Anthem name-changing, GE Healthcare-AliveCor partner, IPO for Komodo Health amid slowdown? 

It was nearing the Ides, but absent health tech reckonings in the run up to HIMSS next week and many digital health types partying at ViVE in Miami. (The hot war in Ukraine more than qualifies.) Congress was busy spending US taxpayer money in a 2,000-page+ spend bill that happily included some long-debated telehealth expansions. Tunstall expands in Germany with BeWo acquisition. Amwell maneuvers with LG into the hospital market, CVS stakes a claim in the metaverse, budget smartwatch Orbic debuts, and have a think around how you partner.

Weekend short takes, UK edition: Tunstall acquires Germany’s BeWo, AWS UK healthtech accelerator launches, Fidgetbum bed sleep aid gains US patent 
Friday news roundup: CVS filing for metaverse patents; Orbic-Verizon smartwatch debut, Amwell and LG partner for hospital digital health–and what *doesn’t* make for a good partnership (Is there life in the metaverse?)
What can be the long-term drivers of remote patient monitoring growth? (Simplify, simplify)
Congress may extend emergency telehealth flexibilities for Medicare, high-deductible plans for five months in spending bill (House passed Wednesday, but what’s telehealth’s fate later this year, in the runup to the midterms?)


Read Telehealth and Telecare Aware: https://telecareaware.com/  @telecareaware

Follow our pages on LinkedIn and on Facebook

We thank our present and past advertisers and supporters: Legrand/Tynetec, Eldercare, UK Telehealthcare, NYeC, PCHAlliance, ATA, The King’s Fund, DHACA, HIMSS, Health 2.0 NYC, MedStartr, Parks Associates, and HealthIMPACT.

Reach international leaders in health tech by advertising your company or event/conference in TTA–contact Donna for more information on how we help and who we reach. 


Telehealth & Telecare Aware: covering the news on latest developments in telecare, telehealth, telemedicine, and health tech, worldwide–thoughtfully and from the view of fellow professionals

Thanks for asking for update emails. Please tell your colleagues about this news service and, if you have relevant information to share with the rest of the world, please let me know.

Donna Cusano, Editor In Chief
donna.cusano@telecareaware.com

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Digital health funding’s Q1 hangover from 2021’s bender–and Q2 is a question mark, even for Rock Health

Chug the Pedialyte and pickle juice, down those milk thistle caps for the liver. It’s a morning after quarter that we knew was coming. After 2021’s mighty year for health tech investment, doubling 2020’s, capped by a $29.1 billion total across 729 deals [TTA 29 Jan], the slump we knew would arrive, did. Rock Health’s tracking of 2022’s Q1 proved to be a less than stellar $6.0 billion across 183 deals. It mildly lagged 2021’s Q1 but was still 75% more than 2020’s depressed Q1 at the start of the pandemic.

Even in January, the 2022 projections were iffy. Silicon Valley Bank projected, based on anemic post-IPO performance, that there would be ‘massive consolidation’ and even acquiring companies to hire talent [TTA 14 Jan]. Rock Health and Silicon Valley Bank noted the waning of SPACs as an easy way to IPO for a variety of reasons, including SEC scrutiny. A combination of both was SOC Telemed. which IPO’d via a SPAC at $10, and was taken private seven months later at $3 per share–after trading at $0.64. SOC was not an outlier–larger telehealth brothers Amwell and Teladoc had taken major share price kicks in the head at 50% and more by February [TTA 8 Feb].

The rest of the story is mixed as the economy continues to open up with the pandemic over, but the stock market is wobbly, inflation soars as does a Russia-Ukraine war. 

  • Average deal size was $32.8 million, again below 2021
  • January was a cheerier month than the following two, with companies raising $3.0 billion. Some of this was carryover from 2021 deals that didn’t quite make it past the post. February slumped to $1.4 billion while March ticked up to $1.6 billion, not a good trend going into Q2.
  • Rock Health’s Digital Health Index (RHDHI), a composite of publicly traded digital health securities, fell 38%, far below the S&P 500’s 5% dip over that same time period.
  • SPACs tumbled along with the market, continuing their fall since 2021. Deals were canceled, taken private (SOC Telemed), and companies sued for misleading investors (Talkspace).
  • Late stage deals continued to roll: mega Series D+ deals in Q1 2022 included TigerConnect ($300M), Lyra ($235M), Alto Pharmacy ($200M), Omada Health ($192M), and Ro ($150M). D and above deal size fell by $16 million. But average deal size fell off at every Series, less so for B and C.
  • Lead clinical investment areas were mental health continuing far in the lead, followed by oncology, cardiovascular, and diabetes. Oncology rose from the fifth spot in 2021 to #2 in Q1, displacing cardio. In value proposition, the top three were on-demand healthcare, R&D, and clinical workflow–this up from the 11th spot.

A weak start for 2022, but only compared to 2021. Q2 and maybe even Q3 will be the test in this mid-term election year. Rock Health Q1 report

The end of the bubble? SOC Telemed, SPAC’d at $10 per share, acquired for $3 and $300M by Patient Square Capital

SOC Telemed (NASDAQ: TLMD), one of the earliest health tech SPACs [TTA 4 Aug 2020], is going private in a deal with the Sand Hill Road healthcare investment firm Patient Square Capital. Patient Square is paying $3 per share in cash.

Based on the 100,840,000 shares outstanding (MarketWatch), this Editor’s best estimate of the transaction is about $303 million. Holders of 39% of the outstanding shares have already voted in favor of the transaction. The deal includes a 30-day “go shop” period in which SOC Telemed’s board of directors can solicit additional bids. Unless there is a superior bid, the deal with Patient Square is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022. 

According to the release, Dr. Chris Gallagher, CEO since September of 2021 will remain. He was previously co-founder/CEO of Access Physicians, a multi-specialty acute care telemedicine business acquired by SOC Telemed in March of 2021. SOC Telemed claims to be the largest telemedicine provider in the US acute care market, supplying virtual consults in specialty areas such as neurology, psychiatry, and ICU. 

Here is where it gets interesting–and worrisome for telehealth. SOC Telemed’s SPAC in August 2020 started at $10.00 per share and a valuation of $720 million. On 2 February, two days before the announcement, SOC Telemed was trading at $0.64 per share. That is a plunge of 94% from the SPAC, with a 72.6% drop in the prior three months that was only arrested by the buyout. The reality is that the Patient Square offer represents a 368% premium over SOC Telemed’s closing share price on 2 February. It is currently trading in about the $2.75 range. 

The worrisome trend is that since August, the publicly traded and established industry giants, Teladoc and Amwell, have also taken it in the shins on their share prices. Teladoc has tumbled by half and Amwell (American Well) by 60%. Even the private companies like MDLive and Included Health (Grand Rounds + Doctor on Demand) must take note that telehealth consults have plunged to about 4% of claims. SPACs, which had opened up an alternate, less complicated channel of public financing for health tech and had its own role in inflating company valuations, have faded due to a combination of circumstances. Will more cautious investments and fewer IPOs be the trend in telehealth for 2022?

News and deals roundup: SCP Health-SOC Telemed, Epion Health-MSU, Sensyne Health’s new data agreements, Geisinger’s RPM app

SCP adds more SOC. SCP Health, a clinical management company that provides both staff and services to hospitals, and SOC Telemed, an acute, post-acute, and specialty care telemedicine provider, are increasing their engagement. SCP presently provides specialty care staff for SOC’s Telemed IQ platform for acute care. SCP will be increasing engagement with the platform to expand into a hybrid clinical approach between onsite and virtual care for hospital medicine, emergency medicine, and critical care programs. SOC Telemed was an early SPAC less than a year ago in August 2020 and last month shelled out $196 million for competitor Access Physicians. SOC release

NJ-based Epion Health, which has a digital check in and patient messaging platform that includes telehealth, announced an agreement with MSU Health Care, the academic health center of Michigan State University. MSUHC’s 600 providers will use Epion’s platform for provider search, patient registration, check-in, patient education, and payment for services. Epion’s client base is primarily regional provider groups. Epion release.

Sensyne Health of Oxford inked two deals in the past week for expanding its already extensive medical dataset of anonymized and de-identified patient data, adding patient data from the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine (CCPM) and St. Luke’s University Health Network (Pennsylvania and New Jersey). The strategic research agreements add their data records to Sensyne’s dataset, now at 18.2 million records. Sensyne mines the data primarily for use by life science clients. When Sensyne commercializes these discoveries, they will share proceeds with CCPM and St. Luke’s respectively. Sensyne releases for CCPM and St. Luke’s.

Geisinger Health launches ConnectedCare365 app + RPM for chronic condition patient management.  The app, developed by Noteworth, monitors and analyzes multiple vital signs provided by patients directly or through devices, combining them with information from Geisinger’s EHR to send information and notifications directly to the care team. The app also connects families and caregivers with the care team via messaging. Noteworth release.

Deals and news roundup, April Fool’s Edition: SOC Telemed’s $196M acute care telehealth buy, HIMSS takes over SCAN Health, Livongo’s Burke joins Owlet board, CirrusMD text app raises $20M

(We’ve gone bug-eyed for 1 April!)

SOC Telemed ponies up a Spritely $196 million for competitor Access Physicians. The completed combination forms, according to SOC, the largest acute care telemedicine provider in the US serving 1,000 facilities, including over 700 hospitals, across 47 states. The deal is cash and stock. No transitional information other than the CEO of Access Physicians joins the SOC Telemed board. Both companies are in the enterprise acute care telemedicine area, facilitating virtual consults between specialists and to patient bedsides. In its SEC 10-K filing released earlier this week, SOC Telemed reported $59 million in 2020 revenue, up from $66.2 million in 2019. Q4 was a mixed bag: a 95 percent increase in Q4 bookings but a 13 percent revenue decline due to reduced hospital visits. Losses are limited–a net loss per share of $3.55 which is light for like telehealth companies (more in SOC release). For 2021, the projection is $107 to $113 million in pro forma annual revenue. SOC Telemed was one of the first digital health companies to use a SPAC to go public (amazingly) less than one year ago and with substantial assets at formation [TTA 4 Aug 20]. The combined company connects specialists in neurology, psychiatry, critical care, infectious disease, cardiology, maternal-fetal medicine, and nephrology. SOC Telemed release, Mobihealthnews, Becker’s Hospital Review 

HIMSS assumes the operations of SCAN Health, a networking and events company concentrating on best practices in the healthcare supply chain. SCAN was founded by the Canadian government out of the University of Windsor’s Odette School of Business. Their events are held with over 100 partners in North America and Europe, and will transfer to HIMSS effective immediately. SCAN’s founder, Dr. Anne Snowdon, launched the Clinically Integrated Supply Outcomes Model, a supply chain infrastructure strategic roadmap, with HIMSS Analytics in 2019. HIMSS release, Healthcare IT News.

Zane Burke, former CEO of Livongo, has joined another board–this time, with ‘sock’. Mr. Burke joins the board of Owlet, the baby monitoring sock company. In February [TTA 17 Feb], Owlet announced their SPAC estimated at $325 million. The transaction is expected to complete in Q2. Becker’s Health IT

CirrusMD, an on-demand text-first telehealth app, raised $20 million for its Series C led by The Blue Venture Fund and 7wire Ventures. Total funding to date is $47 million. Visits cover primary or urgent care, chronic condition management, women’s health, pediatrics, and behavioral health with text first then connection to a board-certified physician within one minute. Release, Mobihealthnews

Health tech M&A moves: Well Health’s $45M Series C, GigHealth2/UpHealth’s $1.35 bn ‘blank check’ acquisition

Santa Barbara, California-based Well Health, a patient communication platform that connects patients and providers through the care experience including the home, earlier this week announced a $45 million Series C funding round, bringing total funds raised to $75 million since its founding in 2015. The lead investor is Lead Edge Capital, with Martin Ventures plus previous funders Jackson Square Ventures, Health Velocity Capital, Summation Health Ventures, Structure Capital and Freestyle Capital. Their target markets are providers, payers, and accountable care organizations (ACOs). Well Health’s CEO/founder Guillaume de Zwirek, claimed that annually 200,000 healthcare providers use the platform to send more than 1 billion messages with 30+ million patients.

Well Health also announced Dana Gelb Safran, Sc.D. as Senior Vice President, Value Based Care and Population Health. She was previously with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Well Health release, Mobihealthnews

GigCapital2 Inc., a publicly-traded US special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) or ‘blank check’ company, has agreed to merge with UpHealth Holdings Inc and Cloudbreak Health LLC to create a digital healthcare company valued at $1.35 billion. According to their release, UpHealth is expected to generate over $190M in revenue and $24M in EBITDA next year; 69% of the 2021 incremental revenue growth is already contracted. The combined company will be named UpHealth, Inc. and trade on the NYSE under UPH.

The new company will be organized in four lines across population health management and telehealth: Integrated Care Management, Global Telehealth, Digital Pharmacy, and Tech-enabled Behavioral Health. Global Telehealth under the Cloudbreak brand claims 100,000 encounters per month on over 14,000 video endpoints at over 1,800 healthcare venues nationwide, with telepsychiatry, telestroke, tele-urology, and other specialties.

GigCapital2 previously raised $150 million in an IPO in June 2019. It will raise an additional $160 million as a private investment in a public equity, or PIPE, transaction. GigCapital is located in Palo Alto and is led by CEO/President Dr. Raluca Dinu and Executive Chairman Dr. Avi Katz. The roots of the company are interestingly in the companies ultimately rolled up into GigPeak, which was sold to Newark NJ-based telecom company IDT Corporation in 2017.

‘Blank check’ acquisition companies are becoming a popular way for digital health companies to go public without the fuss and bother of the necessary and expensive filings, SEC review, financing, etc. of an IPO. In August, SOC Telemed went this route in the other direction, acquiring a SPAC [TTA 4 August]. Hims, Augmedix, and Clover Health also went public through SPACs.The former principals of Livongo, post-Teladoc, are also forming a SPAC [TTA 30 Oct]. Reuters, Fierce Healthcare

SOC Telemed will go public in unusual ‘blank check’ acquisition

Acute care telemedicine developer/provider SOC Telemed, formerly Specialists On Call, will be going public in an interesting maneuver called a ‘blank check’ acquisition. They are acquiring an already publicly-traded company, Healthcare Merger Corporation (HCMC) (NASDAQ: HCCO). HCMC is a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that had its own assets of $250 million of cash from a December 2019 IPO. A group of institutional investors, including funds and accounts managed by BlackRock Inc., Baron Capital Group, and ClearBridge Investments, have committed to a private additional investment of $165 million in common stock when the deal closes.  HCMC will disappear and the company will trade as SOC Telemed. The companies estimate the combined value to be about $720 million. 

The combination of the two companies allows SOC Telemed to go public fairly quickly without the usual routine and steeper climb of an IPO by acquiring a purpose-built public company. Given that telemedicine is hot, but markets are post-COVID volatile, it’s a smart move that others (Hims) are already rumored to be following.

According to the release, HCMC will file a registration statement (which will contain a joint proxy statement/consent solicitation statement/prospectus) with the SEC in connection with the transaction as part of their Form 8-K. The closing is expected to be in 4th Quarter 2020, subject to the usual approval and timing procedures present in public company acquisitions.

SOC Telemed is also an interesting company in that it specializes in telemedicine for the acute care market, supplying virtual consults in specialty areas such as neurology, psychiatry, and ICU. It claims to be the largest national telemedicine provider to hospitals, health systems, value-based care organizations, post-acute care, and physician networks. SOC provides services to 847 facilities including 543 acute care hospitals in 47 states, including 19 of the 25 largest U.S. health systems. It is also the largest provider of acute teleneurology and telepsychiatry. The company has delivered over one million acute care consultations. Recent acquisitions include behavioral health telemedicine company JSA in 2018 and NeuroCall in 2017.

From the release, some details about how the acquisition will work:

  • SOC’s current management and equity holders, including Warburg Pincus, will roll a portion of their equity into SOC.
  • SOC Telemed’s existing majority equity holder, Warburg Pincus, will remain SOC’s largest shareholder.
  • Proceeds generated by the transaction will be used to pay down existing debt, purchase a portion of the equity owned by existing SOC shareholders, and capitalize the SOC Telemed balance sheet.
  • Assuming no redemptions of HCMC public shares, current SOC equity holders will own 40%, HCMC shareholders will own 32%, PIPE investors will own 21%, and HCMC’s sponsor will own 7% of the issued and outstanding shares of common stock of SOC immediately following the closing, respectively.

SOC’s management team, based in Virginia, will also shuffle a bit. Paul Ricci, Interim Chief Executive Officer, will be stepping down (presumably back to Warburg Pincus where he is an advisor). John Kalix, currently President, will become CEO. Hai Tran, presently COO and CFO, will continue in those positions. At HCMC, Steve Shulman, currently CEO and a director of HCMC, will become the Chairman of the SOC Telemed board of directors.  Mobihealthnews, FierceHealthcare  Hat tip to reader Paul Costello of Boost Health Network.