Roll-up blues

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

KENNESAW, Ga. - Billing guru Jane Bunch’s plan to roll up a big HME company with a Miami investment firm have fallen apart.

Bunch and BK Generalli parted ways in late June effectively scuttling the roll up venture.

Bunch and Generalli, led by Orlando Birbragher and Marshall Kanner, announced the partnership in April. Generalli did not return phone calls, but Bunch issued a short press release through her attorney, Jeff Baird.

The July 26 release read: Jane W. Bunch announces that, effective June 28, ownership of Jane’s Billing & Consultation Services, Inc. (“JB&C”) has transferred back to her from DME’s of America, Inc. (“DME’s”). Also effective June 28, Ms. Bunch is no longer an employee of DME’s. Under Ms. Bunch’s ownership and direction, JB&C will continue to provide billing and consultation services to the DME industry.

News of the split follows a month of speculation by industry watchers that all was not right with the venture. Tellingly, a number of providers approached by DME’s of America were left waiting for an acquisition offer.

Additionally, DME’s of America decided in June not to buy booth space at Medtrade and “hold-off on any marketing expenditures at the present moment,” the company stated in an email to HME News.

That email went on to say that the company was “revamping our Marketing and Business Strategy.”

DMEs of America planned to woo Moms & Pops with a combination of cash and a stake in the new company. The company wanted to retain the owners because they had rapport with local referral sources and knew the patients.

In a May 2004 HME News story on DMEs of America, Bunch said she expected to acquire 25 DMEs within 12-14 months. Kanner and Birbragher said they planned to do an IPO after acquiring their fifth DME company.