Cucuel: Infusion idol

Monday, March 31, 2008

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. – HME entrepreneur Bob Cucuel has done it again. In early February, he shook hands with MBF Healthcare Acquisition and agreed to a $420 million takeover of his new company, Critical Homecare Solutions.
The move will allow the young infusion provider to ramp up its growth strategy, he said.
“The plan from the beginning has been to become the largest provider of home infusion therapy in the U.S.,” said Cucuel, CHS president and CEO. “Our estimate is that we are currently No. 4 in the market, with about 4% of the market.”
Not bad for a company that launched barely 18 months ago. But then, Cucuel is no stranger to home care. He began rolling up American Homecare Supply in 1999, before selling it to industrial gas giant Air Products in 2002. Cucuel left Air Products in 2005 with plans to start another healthcare company. The result: CHS, which formed in 2006 with the acquisition of two mid-sized infusion companies, Specialty Pharma and New England Home Therapies.
The company has since grown to include 65 locations serving 15,000 patients in 14 states. Revenues for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2007, were $218 million.
“There’s not a lot of idle hands here,” said Cucuel.
CHS estimates the $5 billion home infusion market is growing at 7% annually. It is a cost-effective solution with good patient outcomes, said Cucuel. With about 400 drugs under development that are infusible or injectible, the growth of Medicare advantage plans, and legislation pending to get further Medicare coverage for home infusion, the market will continue to expand, he predicted.
CHS’s growth plans include opening new locations and rolling up providers in contiguous markets, mainly east of the Mississippi, said Cucuel.
“It’s an unconsolidated industry so there’s opportunity to look at premier independent providers and have them join our family of companies,” he said. “But, you’re not going to see us leapfrog onto the West Coast.”
The deal is expected to close in late June or early July, at which time MBF will change its name to Critical Homecare Solutions. Cucuel will lead the combined company.HME