Rural hospitals face growing sustainability threats on multiple fronts, AHA says

A multitude of challenges is threatening the stability of rural hospitals in America, a report from the American Hospital Association (AHA) found. Recruitment and retention of healthcare professionals is an ongoing challenge and expense, which is further complicated by geographic isolation. The report noted isolation could also be a barrier to professional development and continuing clinical education, and contributes to low availability of services, including primary care, behavioral health services and dental care. According to Health and Human Services data cited in the report, while almost 20 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural areas, less than 10 percent of U.S. physicians practice in these communities. The AHA also pointed to emerging threats like the opioid epidemic, a rise in cybersecurity threats, medical surge capacity issues caused by natural disasters and rising levels of violence within communities, noting that rural hospitals often lack sufficient medical staff and resources to respond to such emergencies.

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Healthcare Analytics

WellSky Expands Post-Acute Offerings Through Corridor Acquisition

WellSky | October 13, 2023

WellSky has officially declared its acquisition of Corridor, a comprehensive technology-enabled service platform tailored to address the most formidable challenges in the post-acute care industry. This strategic move is intended to aid care providers in enhancing their efficiency and overall performance across various domains, encompassing clinical, financial, operational, and compliance aspects. The acquisition has been facilitated through the purchase of Corridor from HealthEdge Investment Partners, a private equity firm with a dedicated focus on healthcare. Bill Miller, CEO of WellSky, highlighted providers' need for quality care support and reduced administrative burdens. He stated, As we looked to strengthen our services offerings, Corridor emerged as an ideal partner. Together, WellSky and Corridor help more post-acute care organizations succeed against industry challenges. [Source – Business Wire] Des Varady, CEO of Corridor, expressed that for over three decades, Corridor has remained dedicated to its mission of enabling clients to optimize their performance and resources through robust technology-based solutions. He conveyed his enthusiasm for Corridor's continued commitment to advancing this mission as an integral part of the WellSky team. By gaining access to WellSky's technology-driven solutions, focusing on enhancing outcomes, reducing expenses, and enhancing patient and family satisfaction, Corridor is better positioned to serve its clients more effectively. With the integration of Corridor into its portfolio, WellSky aims to broaden its spectrum of services in medical coding and revenue cycle management. About WellSky Known for its proven software, analytics, and services, WellSky, a prominent U.S. healthcare technology company, drives better outcomes and cost savings across the healthcare and community care spectrum. It empowers providers, payers, health systems, and community organizations to streamline processes, enhance collaboration, leverage data analytics, and improve results by integrating clinical and social care. About Corridor The Corridor Group Holdings, LLC (Corridor) is a prominent post-acute healthcare sector entity offering top-tier technology-driven outsourced coding, revenue cycle, and educational solutions. It specializes in improving documentation quality and getting better client reimbursement outcomes, including for large health systems, national chains, and smaller, independently managed agencies.

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Health Technology

Verily Introduces Viewpoint Workbench to Boost Biomedical Research

Verily | October 09, 2023

Verily, an Alphabet subsidiary focused on precision health technology, has unveiled Viewpoint Workbench, a new enterprise-grade platform created to consolidate multimodal data and expedite biomedical research. Workbench offers a secure collaborative setting for data generators, researchers, and biopharmaceutical organizations to oversee and analyze their data. This platform is a component of Verily Viewpoint, a comprehensive suite of solutions that enable the generation of evidence necessary for expediting the availability of safe and effective therapies to individuals in need. Scott Burke, Chief Technology Officer, Verily, said, Researchers are gathering more data of more types than ever, but it is challenging to effectively store, access, and analyze it while complying with data governance mandates. [Source – Business Wire] Scott Burke added that Workbench can adapt to any organization and helps researchers use data to advance scientific understanding. Workbench integrates technology and optimal methodologies honed over several years of constructing data infrastructure for extensive research undertakings, including National Institutes of Health's All of Us Research Program, Accelerating Medicines Partnership Parkinson's Disease (AMP PD) program, and Project Baseline Health Study. Dr. James Lu, MD, Ph.D., CEO and Co-Founder of Helix, emphasized the importance of a platform that can effectively integrate multiple data layers to advance their work significantly. He expressed enthusiasm about integrating Verily's Workbench, which will facilitate collaborative research and yield more informed insights. Additionally, Manish Raisinghani, MBBS, Ph.D., President and CEO of Target ALS, stressed the need to maintain momentum in accelerating ALS drug discovery. He mentioned that Workbench aligns with their ambitious initiative to create a comprehensive biosample and dataset collection for ALS and to provide unrestricted access to scientists worldwide, thus promoting progress in their research endeavors. Workbench enables secure collaboration among data generators, research sponsors, and biomedical researchers. Users can analyze multimodal data, ensure data governance through access control, and engage with a growing network of researchers to advance scientific progress and promote reproducible research. About Verily Verily, an Alphabet health technology company, specializes in research, healthcare delivery, and health financing. Its mission is to advance precision health and promote healthier lives by operating at the intersection of technology, data science, and healthcare. The company develops tools to accelerate evidence generation, creates products for more personalized care, and introduces approaches to enhance cost predictability.

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Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

Virgin Pulse and HealthComp Announce Intent to Merge to Create Comprehensive Employer Health Platform

PR Newswire | September 29, 2023

Virgin Pulse, a leading global digital-first health, wellbeing, and navigation company, today announced its intent to merge with HealthComp, a next-generation benefits and analytics platform. The merger will create a technology and data powered health platform-as-a-service organization poised to tackle some of the industry's biggest challenges. The combined entity will aim to improve health outcomes and lower costs for members and employers by empowering better information and decision making. By using an advanced technology and data platform that leverages AI, the combined organization will deploy innovative and flexible health plan designs that drive improved member health outcomes, engagement, and awareness across the most important aspects of a person's healthcare journey. As the healthcare industry evolves, the desire for an integrated experience in the employer-sponsored benefits ecosystem has grown exponentially. This combination will create a set of assets that will integrate plan design, plan management, payment integrity, health navigation, preventative care, and digital therapeutics through the Homebase for Health® user-centric platform. Together, the combined entity expects these assets will create a better experience and lower costs for members and employers, while providing expanded opportunities for insurers and brokers to continue to partner with the combined entity. "This combination with HealthComp creates a new category in the health space that will change the way employers address the two-fold challenge of reducing costs and improving member outcomes. Our two companies have a shared mission to improve individual outcomes by engaging users early and often, and making health and wellbeing more accessible, affordable, and personal for all," said Chris Michalak, Virgin Pulse CEO. "Together, we are addressing a problem that has plagued the industry for years – a misaligned, complex benefit structure that results in unmet needs and escalating costs. We are eliminating waste, friction, and preventable risks by putting members and their needs at the center of the ecosystem." "Self-insured employers pay for almost half of the nation's healthcare expenditures and now require more innovative and affordable solutions," said Chad Harris, HealthComp CEO. "With concierge-level service, rich analytics, and expert medical cost management, HealthComp ensures that employers can make informed benefits decisions that align with the needs of their employees and businesses. Powered by Virgin Pulse's daily wellbeing engagement and data-driven personalization, this transaction creates an end-to-end platform that will radically lower costs and improve member outcomes." [Source – PRNews Wire] "The combination of Virgin Pulse and HealthComp creates the first national value-based care platform company focused on employee health and outcomes. We are excited to work with Morgan Health, Blackstone, and Marlin to bring innovation at scale to this market," said Matt Holt, President, Private Equity and Managing Director at New Mountain Capital. "We have been working to build an innovation platform company in the employer space for more than five years. This transaction represents a significant milestone by forming a leading platform-as-a-service company focused on delivering better outcomes and greater affordability," added Kyle Peterson, Managing Director at New Mountain Capital. "The employer-employee health landscape is ripe for change and the mission of the combined HealthComp and Virgin Pulse is aligned with Morgan Health's mission to improve the quality, equity, and affordability of employer-sponsored health care," said Dan Mendelson, CEO of Morgan Health. Upon closing of the transaction, Chris Michalak will serve as CEO of the combined entity, where he will continue building upon the Homebase for Health vision and expanding the value proposition for clients and the market at large. The combined entity will serve more than 20 million members and address costs for more than 1,000 self-insured employers. HealthComp's powerful analytics will also benefit Virgin Pulse's health plan and health system clients by providing closed-loop data on health outcomes and the true ROI of investing in member experience and wellbeing programs. The merger is expected to close in Q4 2023, subject to regulatory approvals and satisfaction of all closing conditions under the definitive agreement. Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed. HealthComp is backed by New Mountain Capital and Virgin Pulse is backed by Marlin Equity Partners. New Mountain Capital will be the majority owner of the combined entity. Blackstone Credit has committed to support the deal with strategic financing. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as financial advisor to HealthComp. HealthComp's legal counsel was Ropes & Gray LLP. Evercore acted as financial advisor to Virgin Pulse, with Kirkland & Ellis LLP and McDermott Will & Emery LLP serving as legal advisors. About Virgin Pulse Virgin Pulse is a leading digital-first health, wellbeing, and navigation company that empowers organizations across the globe to activate populations, improve health outcomes, and reduce spend in an era of accelerating cost and complexity. Virgin Pulse's Homebase for Health® connects data, people, and technology to deliver high tech, human touch experiences that engage and reward individual journeys. Virgin Pulse impacts over 100 million people across 190 countries by helping Fortune 500, national health plans, and many other organizations change lives – and businesses – for good. About HealthComp HealthComp, a New Mountain Capital company, has a customized and responsive approach to health benefits administration. We advocate for our members to get the best possible care suited for their unique needs. Our next generation benefits and analytics platform brings together concierge-level service, best-in-class operations, powerful analytics, and expert medical cost management. HealthComp integrates seamlessly with any benefits ecosystem to drive a personalized experience that delivers higher clinical outcomes at lower costs. HealthComp has offices in California, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania. About New Mountain Capital New Mountain Capital is a New York-based investment firm that emphasizes business building and growth, rather than debt, as it pursues long-term capital appreciation. The firm currently manages private equity, credit and net lease investment strategies with over $45 billion in assets under management. New Mountain seeks out what it believes to be the highest quality growth leaders in carefully selected industry sectors and then works intensively with management to build the value of these companies. About Marlin Equity Partners Marlin Equity Partners is a global investment firm with approximately $9 billion of capital commitments. The firm is focused on providing corporate parents, shareholders and other stakeholders with tailored solutions that meet their business and liquidity needs. Marlin invests in businesses across multiple industries where its capital base, industry relationships and extensive network of operational resources significantly strengthen a company's outlook and enhance value. Since its inception, Marlin, through its group of funds and related companies, has successfully completed over 200 acquisitions. About Morgan Health Morgan Health is a JPMorgan Chase business unit focused on improving employer-sponsored health care. Through its investments and the advancement of accountable care, Morgan Health is working to improve the quality, equity and affordability of employer-sponsored health care for JPMorgan Chase employees, their families and the U.S. health system. The business is led by Dan Mendelson, CEO of Morgan Health, reporting to Peter Scher, Vice Chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and a member of the firm's Operating Committee. Morgan Health is headquartered in Washington, D.C. About Blackstone Blackstone is the world's largest alternative asset manager. We seek to create positive economic impact and long-term value for our investors, the companies we invest in, and the communities in which we work. We do this by using extraordinary people and flexible capital to help companies solve problems. Our $1 trillion in assets under management include investment vehicles focused on private equity, real estate, public debt and equity, infrastructure, life sciences, growth equity, opportunistic, non-investment grade credit, real assets and secondary funds, all on a global basis.

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Healthcare Analytics

Weave Introduces AI-Driven Voicemail Transcriptions for Healthcare Providers

Business Wire | October 31, 2023

Weave a leading all-in-one experience platform for small and medium-sized healthcare practices, today announces the addition of AI-driven voicemail transcriptions to its platform. Now available to Weave’s 27,000+ customers, Voicemail Transcription automatically transcribes voicemails from patients allowing for efficient, visible, and private reading experiences. With this update, users will now see the voicemail transcription when they click on the Voicemail tab within their Desktop Application or within the mobile app, improving overall user experience by making it faster to consume messages without having to listen to the audio, which can often be difficult in busy settings. said Branden Neish, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Weave. AI has exploded in popularity over the past year, and we’re taking steps to ensure Weave is delivering state of the art offerings that empower our customers to enhance patient experiences and deliver top of the line care. AI will only continue to grow in popularity and daily use, which will have a transformative impact on the future of the healthcare industry. Weave customers that have already implemented AI into their practices claim they save an average of an hour a day with the technology. [Source:Business Wire] In a new customer and consumer report conducted by Weave, the company found that patients are accepting of AI in healthcare settings and they see it leading to enhanced care and patient experiences. In fact, the majority of consumers (65%) are open to providers using AI tools in their practices. The report also found that consumers and providers are aligned with how they think AI will impact the healthcare industry, with two in three consumers (67%) and 3 in 4 (75%) healthcare providers believing that AI is likely to become a prevalent tool in healthcare. "Artificial Intelligence is the catalyst for a new era in healthcare,” says Dr. Matt Nejad, DDS of Beverly Hills, CA. “Weave's AI-enabled voicemail transcripts are a leap in this direction, providing automation and actionable insights that empower providers to focus on what truly matters: patient care." This announcement follows months of AI-driven activity from Weave to enhance features that allow healthcare providers to deliver quality care and improve patient experiences, including Email Assistant and Response Assistant. About Weave Weave is a leading all-in-one customer experience platform for small- and medium-sized healthcare businesses. From the first phone call to the final invoice and every touchpoint in between, Weave connects the entire customer journey. Weave’s software solutions transform how local businesses attract, communicate with and engage customers to grow their business. In the past year, Weave has been named a G2 leader in Patient Engagement, Optometry, Dental Practice Management and Patient Relationship Management software.

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