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June 27, 2024 News No Comments

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Walgreens Boots Alliance reports Q3 results: revenue up 2.6%, adjusted EPS $0.63 versus $1.00, beating revenue expectations but falling short on earnings. The company also lowered FY 2024 EPS guidance, citing inconsistent consumer spending. Shares shed 22% of their value following the Thursday morning announcement, dropping their price to 1997 levels.

Walgreens will reduce its stake in primary care provider VillageMD and will no longer hold a majority share. CEO Tim Wentworth, who took the job in October, says that Walgreens will no longer seek majority ownership of primary and specialty care provider businesses and will instead pursue “capital-light services” with a larger range of providers and payers

Walgreens will close a “meaningful percent” of its underperforming stores, which represent about one-fourth of its 8,600 locations. Its review of stores to close will include proximity to other Walgreens and the local crime level in some cities. It says it will work with state Medicaid programs and local law enforcement as the “last company standing” in areas that would be pharmacy deserts otherwise. The company had already closed 625 locations.


Reader Comments

From Steve Shihadeh: “Re: your ‘Death of a Salesman’ response. Pretty good considering your experience and contempt Smile.” Industry long-timer Steve of Get-to-Market Health adds these insights:

  • The best salespeople have a great balance of product and service knowledge, relationship skills, and a real appreciation for what drives the buyer.
  • AI gives good salespeople the chance to be better prepared and have more compelling presentations and facts.
  • While AI is all the rage today, in some ways it is like every big technical evolution. PC, Internet, Search, WiFi, etc. The best sales people will learn about it and find the way to relate it to what the customer needs and how it impacts them in a positive manner.

From Vince Remembered: “Re: ‘Death of a Salesman.’ Your response about salespeople was slightly cynical before turning positive, but not nearly as much so as the late, great Vince Ciotti in your 2019 interview.” I love that interview with industry long-timer Vince and re-read it often. Here are Vince’s thoughts about salespeople, which may or may not remain relevant several decades after his experience:

We hired salesman at SMS and they spent one day walking around all the offices, saying hello, shaking hands. Who are you? What do you do? Oh, OK. Then boom, after one day, they were out there selling. They had no idea what they were selling. It doesn’t matter. Sales is commissions. If you sell a lot of systems, you make a lot of money and you get promoted and you become a big cheese. If you don’t sell any systems, you get fired. You’re going to go to another company and try again. You don’t learn the product. You haven’t been an installer or a customer service rep. You haven’t worked with the system. You have no idea how the system works. What you know how to do is smile, be pleasant, buy lunch, buy dinner, shake hands, be charming, have people trust you, get them to sign the contract, and then run like hell because you’ve got to make some more sales.


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Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Data platform and analytics vendor Arcadia acquires CareJourney, which offers claims-sourced provider cost and quality data.

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Patient access managed services vendor Hummingbird Healthcare closes a $10 million Series A funding round that was led by UCHealth. CEO Jeremy Schwach was formerly CEO Of Bluetree Network, which was acquired by Tegria in 2019.

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The Private Equity Stakeholder Project publishes “The Pillaging of Steward Health Care,” which notes that former owner Cerberus Capital Management generated $1.2 billion by selling off the real estate its hospitals sat on, paid fund investors a $484 million dividend from the proceeds, expanded the chain to become the country’s largest private operator of for-profit hospitals, then dumped the investment with the help of its real estate landlord having made $800 million over its 10-year ownership. The report observes that Steward paid its ownership a $111 million dividend, after which Steward CEO Ralph de la Torre bought a $40 million yacht and the company splurged on two private jets. Meanwhile, Steward missed rent payments, racked up patient safety concerns, laid of employees, closed hospitals, and last month filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy with $9 billion in liabilities, most of it due to the real estate company to which Cerebrus sold the real estate. Terms that were part of new financing require the company to close hospitals that it can’t sell in a bidding process that started this week, as officials in the eight states in which Steward operates hospitals worry about loss of services.

New Jersey-based Atlantic Health System will acquire Saint Peter’s Healthcare System.

Amazon renames its 18-month-old Amazon Clinic to Amazon One Medical Pay-per-visit, which will offer pay-per-visit telehealth – $29 for message-based visits, $49 for video — and a membership program for on-demand virtual care and next-day appointments at One Medical offices.


Sales

  • Findhelp announces new SDoH network customers Stanford Children’s Health, Virginia Association of Free & Charitable Clinics, and Connxus.
  • Community Health Network will implement Microsoft Azure and Nuance Dragon Medical as it increases its use of DAX Copilot and Dragon Medical One.
  • Emergency Services Inc. will implement the recently launched Augmedix Go ED ambient AI for emergency medicine at an unnamed large hospital in central Ohio.

People

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Healthcare IT Leaders names Jody Buchman, MBA (Clarivate) as SVP of continuous services and David Unger (MedKick) as VP of EHR and RCM.


Government and Politics

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Federal authorities will seize the $8 million Chicago mansion of Outcome Health founder Rishi Shah, one of three former company executives who are facing prison time for fraud involving electronic advertising in waiting rooms.Outcome was valued at $5.5 billion before its collapse, with Shah’s net worth estimated at $3.6 billion. The Outcome name was retired in 2021 with the acquisition of its remains by healthcare digital marketing company PatientPoint. Update: 38-year-old Rishi Shah was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison on Wednesday. Co-founder Shradha Agarwal was sentenced to three years in a halfway house on Thursday.

The VA says that it is so far behind on paying contract provider claims due to Change Healthcare’s ransomware downtime that it won’t catch up until February, a year after the original incident. It also expects that its payments from insurers won’t catch up until October.


Privacy and Security

San Diego’s PBS TV station notes that Palomar Health Medical Group’s phones and computer systems remain down from a May 5 cyberattack. Patients report problems getting paper prescriptions filled and nurses relying on the patient to tell them the doctor’s diagnosis.


Sponsor Updates

  • Inovalon publishes a new study, “Race/Ethnicity and Socioeconomic Position in Emergency Department Utilization in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma.”
  • FinThrive publishes a new case study, “Lawrence General Hospital Successfully Switches to FinThrive After a Cyberattack.”
  • Imperial Beach Community Clinic (CA) adds AI, patient engagement, and AI-powered medical scribe capabilities to its implementation of EClinicalWorks.
  • First Databank will share information from RxEOB’s prescription pricing transparency application through its FDB Vela prescribing network.
  • Healthcare IT Leaders CMO Alex Gramling joins the United Way of Southern Maine’s board.
  • Visage Imaging will showcase new enhancements to its Visage 7 Enterprise Imaging Platform at the SIIM annual meeting in National Harbor, MD this week.
  • Children’s National Hospital (Washington, DC) expands its use of Laudio’s AI-enhanced workflow platform to include nurse educators.
  • Linus Health leaders publish a new peer-reviewed paper, “Towards a lifelong personalized brain health program: empowering individuals to define, pursue, and monitor meaningful outcomes.”
  • Loyal achieves TX-RAMP Level 2 Certification for its Chatbot solution from the Texas Department of Information Resources.

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