BrightSpring buys AHC, Empath Health and Stratum Health System merge, GV invests in defibrillator

Steven Loeb · March 6, 2020 · Short URL:

In-home devices, week of 3/6/20

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In a strange way, healthcare seems to be reverting back to a style that had gone out of fashion many years ago, with an increased amount of health taking place in the home. There are now around 12 million people who are now getting in-home care, from more than 33,000 providers, and last year the annual expenditures for home health care were projected to be over $72 billion.

This is thanks, in large part, to technology and, more specifically, to connected in-home devices that can easily collect and send data to a physicians in real-time. This allows patients to be monitored remotely, without constant trips to the doctor, and for physicians to do more timely interventions based on patterns picked up by AI and machine learning.

In June, Vator, HP and UCSF Health Hub will be holding an event centered around these devices, and how they are affecting the healthtech space. Every week until then we will be doing a roundup of some of the news around in-home devices and what some of the major tech companies are up to in this space.

BrightSpring buys Advanced Home Care's home health team

BrightSpring Health Services, a provider of complementary pharmacy and home and community-based services, acquired two divisions from home health and infusion pharmacy company Advanced Home Care: its home health and specialty infusion businesses.

AHC’s home health team will join BrightSpring’s Adoration Home Health and Hospice business and will operate as Advanced Home Health. Its infusion and specialty pharmacy teams will join PharMerica’s Amerita division and will operate under the name Advanced Home Infusion.

The acquisition will add 10 Advanced Home Health locations to BrightSpring in North Carolina, 

“The majority of BrightSpring’s and PharMerica’s clients and patients require multiple, integrated health services,” Jon Rousseau, BrightSpring President and CEO said in a statement.

“The addition of AHC is consistent with our quality and growth strategies to enhance our home health and pharmacy platform through a unique set of complementary offerings. Our companies share similar missions of providing high-quality, compassionate care, and together we have an opportunity to build on each other’s unique strengths, providing greater benefits to clients and patients, as well as community and payor stakeholders.”

Google Ventures invests in $145.6 million round for wearable defibrillator

Element Science, a company developed a wearable defibrillator, raised $145.6 million in a Series C funding round led by Deerfield Healthcare and Qiming Venture Partners USA. Cormorant Asset Management and Invus Opportunities also participated, along with existing investors Third Rock Ventures and Google Ventures.

The new funds will be used to complete clinical studies through commercial launch of the company’s initial product, the Jewel Patch Wearable Cardioverter Defibrillator (P-WCD), a personal defibrillator designed to detect and treat life-threatening arrhythmias in patients with an elevated temporary risk of Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD). SCD is a condition that affects more than 500,000 patients in the US every year.

“Our next-generation digital wearable is a unique breakthrough in personalized digital healthcare based on years of extensive research and testing. The Jewel platform supports both therapeutic and diagnostic capabilities and is designed for ease of wearability to facilitate high compliance and efficacy,” Dr. Uday Kumar, Founder, President and CEO of Element Science, said in a statement.

“Given the broad potential for the Jewel platform to save and improve the lives of patients worldwide, we welcome the strong support of this impressive consortium of investors.”

Empath Health merges with Stratum Health System

Empath Health, an integrated care network that supports patients with chronic or advanced illness, merged with Stratum Health System, which is focused on managing the continuum of care through hospice and home-based care. The new organization will care for more than 6,000 people a day.

Rafael Sciullo, President and CEO of Empath Health, will serve as the CEO of the joint company, while Jonathan Fleece, President and CEO of Stratum Health System, will serve as the President of the as yet unnamed new organization. The two companies plan to be fully in integrated by the beginning of 2023, at which time Sciullo plans to step down with Fleece taking over. 

The companies are already establishing the Mission Services Organization (MSO), the first team of professionals brought under the new organization, which will provide shared services across the organization to provide a foundation to build integrated care services. This includes innovation, technology, finance, human resources, quality and compliance. It is anticipated that the MSO will launch in 2020.

“This is an exciting and historic day as we move forward, together, to provide trusted, integrated care solutions for those lives for whom we are blessed to care, including the tremendous support we provide to our patients’ families and our communities,” Empath Health President and CEO Rafael Sciullo said in a statement.

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The Pennant Group teams with Scripps Health for home health venture 

Cornerstone Healthcare, a home health and hospice portfolio company owned by the Pennant Group, entered into an agreement to form a home health joint venture with Scripps Health, a  nonprofit integrated health system. The joint venture is expected to be finalized in the third quarter of this year. 

The joint venture will be managed by a Cornerstone affiliate and will provide home health services to patients throughout San Diego County and surrounding areas.

“While we have operated successfully in the San Diego market for a number of years, we are thrilled to partner with Scripps to expand our collective capabilities to provide exceptional home health services to the residents of San Diego,” Daniel Walker, Pennant's Chief Executive Officer and President, said in a statement.

“As the post-acute landscape continues to shift and we see a stronger trend toward value-based payment reimbursement models, it is critical that we work closely with integrated health systems like Scripps to help patients and their families navigate the various care settings in the post-acute care continuum.”

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