Moneyline: Brightree, DHS, Norco

Friday, January 17, 2014

ATLANTA – Brightree has acquired Strategic AR Solutions, a provider of private-pay billing and collections solutions.

Kevin Winkley, founder and CEO of Strategic AR, will continue to lead the company, which will operate as a separate entity, according to a release.

For Brightree customers, the deal means additional integration, such as the automatic posting of payments back into the billing system, the release notes.

“In the past, many home care providers have chosen not to pursue the patient portion of an order due to the manual-intensive business processes required to collect the amount owed,” said Dave Cormack, Brightree president and CEO. “With greater adoption of high deductible plans and an increase in private pay patients, we believe patient collections must become a critical component to every HME provider’s success in 2014. Based on these changing dynamics and increased demand from our customer base for a more tightly integrated payment solution, it made perfect sense for us to forge this deeper relationship with Strategic AR.”

Winkley agreed.

“We felt it was the right time to align ourselves more closely with Brightree as the dominant software vendor in the HME industry,” he said. “We look forward to continuing to deliver first-class solutions and customer service to all of our customers regardless of their billing system.”

It has been a busy few months for Brightree. It announced it bought competitor MedAct Software in November and formed a strategic agreement with athenahealth earlier this month.

Brightree’s acquisition of Strategic AR is its first this year and sixth since 2008.

DHS gets Progressive

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Dynamic Healthcare Services (DHS), a portfolio company of GMH Ventures, a Newtown, Pa.-based private equity group, has continued its string of acquisitions into 2014.

DHS has acquired Clarion, Pa.-based Progressive Home Medical Equipment, a full-service HME provider serving the Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania market. Progressive accepted contracts for respiratory products as part of the Round 1 re-compete that went into effect Jan. 1.

“Progressive’s presence in the Pittsburgh and western (Pennsylvania) market immediately increases growth opportunities in the DME space and brand awareness for DHS in these competitive locations,” said Michael Holloway, president of GMH Ventures, in a release.

In 2013, DHS acquired APO2 in Hazelton, Pa. In 2012, it acquired HomeTown Oxygen and Evanko Respiratory, also in Pennsylvania.

Eric and Bridget Dobrowski, who founded Progressive in 2005, will lead the combined businesses in Clarion and surrounding markets, according to the release.

“I’m really looking forward to the growth potential we’ll see as part of DHS,” said Eric Dobrowski in the release. “We have been looking for a partner who could support our plans to expand offerings and services in our core Clarion and surrounding neighborhoods. In fact, our first day together, we were able to provide one of our local customers a product previously not available to us.”

DHS, which was formed in 2000 as the parent company of Central Medical Equipment and East Suburban Medical Supply, has grown into a strong regional provider of HME, employing more than 120.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Norco grows in Northwest

BOISE, Idaho – Norco’s footprint in Washington state is growing, thanks to its acquisition of Walla Walla Home Medical. 

Norco now has 16 branches in the state, with more than 65 branches when you also include Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

“This is a great time for healthcare in the Walla Walla Valley,” said Ned Pontious, Norco president, in a release. “A Northwest family-owned company serving the great hospitals and residents of this community helps to strengthen a local, continued partnership in the area.”

In 2013, Norco acquired two other providers in the Northwest: Care Medical, with six locations in the Seattle and Portland, Ore., areas; and Walgreens Respiratory Services, with four locations in the Seattle and Vancouver region.

The mounting challenges of running an independent medical supply company led The Walla Walla Clinic and Providence St. Mary Medical Center, owners of Walla Walla Home Medical, to sell, according to the release

“We believe that this will allow Walla Walla Home Medical to continue to provide the excellent service to Walla Walla that the community has come to expect,” said Kevin Michelson, Walla Walla Clinic CEO, in the release. “It’s a good thing for the community.”