Thursday, June 16, 2011

Freseni-opoly and the Latest Acquisition News

Whatever happened to the company formerly known as Fresenius Perfusion? It's been a while since I've blogged about them, but seems like quite a flurry of activity is happening these days. I'm reminded of the classic game of Monopoly - high finances, buying and selling, bankruptcy, taking a "chance" card. So if you don't know by now, the latest acquisition by Specialty Care / HCSG (formerly Fresenius/ Edwards Lifesciences/ Baxter/ Psicor) is Advanced Perfusion Care (APC), a really good company based out of Pinehurst, NC. It certainly caught a lot of people by surprise, especially the employees. We wish them the very best... they now are part of a new monopoly game based out of Wall Street, who join those clinicians who feel like they've passed GO and didn't collect their $200.

But that's not the most interesting news. When you look at what's going on you see a deliberate strategy and the folks that NOW have the power are not in Nashville, but in New York City. Back in May, American Securities, a private equity investment firm bought a controlling interest in Specialty Care and now owns the majority share of the this patchwork mosaic of perfusion service companies. You might want to ask, what do private investment equity companies do? Well, they do have a primary focus. They sell Boardwalk and Park Place for profit.

So in the latest move of monopoly pieces, what happens to everyone who worked all their lives in committed service to the patient? Perfusion service is a relationship business whereby people are its hallmarks, not mopheads, widgets, or Pakistani surgical instruments. They are real-live people with abiding interest in the patient and the people for whom they serve.

There's nothing wrong with monopoly. There's nothing wrong with making money. But now... in the case of Specialty Care, perfusion services are part of a profit center that generates revenues for a cost center that benefits a few. Being in a minority position with majority of shares owned by an investment firm means being obligated to outside investors whose focus could be blurred by the requirement of a predetermined return on investment. Jussayin'

Seems like (as Yogi Berra used to say) it's deja-vu all over again.

Your comments are always welcomed.

Ralph E. Jordan
Founder & CEO
Trident Health Resources, Inc.


ACJCCP said...

The acquisition of APC by Speciality Care has far reaching implications. The profits from this company are being filtered off to a larger conglomerate and incentives to the 'trench' providers are few and far between. In the board game analogy, this company has the chance to run the board again. Given the history of their prior laps, I don't see anything positive coming to the perfusionists who serve them.

heartlungjr said...

Mergers and acquisitions are becoming the norm in the medical world. Trident advertises and solicits them in their newsletter. Hospitals buying practices and then employing the physicians is an everyday occurance. This happens in for profit hospitals. I don't see that what Specialty Care is doing is so much different. We all need to face the fact that medicine is now a business. Obamacare has enhanced that idea. While I may not agree/be happy with all these changes that doesn't mean that I can't practice perfusion to the best of my ability and continue to give my patients the highest quality care I can deliver.