News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel

News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
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Prior to IPO Pathology Company Aurora Diagnostics Gets New $335 Million Credit Line

Anatomic pathology firm hopes proposed sale of stock will bring in up to $150 million

Anatomic pathology company Aurora Diagnostics, Inc., of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, just announced a new credit facility that will give it access to as much as $335 million should all conditions be met. Aurora Diagnostics hopes to raise $150 million from an initial public offering (IPO) of its stock, for which it filed registration documents in April.

Aurora Diagnostics was founded in June 2006, by former Ameripath, Inc., executives James New and Marty Stefanelli and was originally funded by Summit Partners and GSO Capital Partners. Over the past four years, Aurora Diagnostics says it has acquired 17 pathology practices. Its revenue for 2009 totaled $171 million, with EBIDTA (earnings before interest, depreciation, taxes, and amortization) of $28 million and net income of $9 million.

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Thermo Fisher Trumped by Merck KGaA’s $7.2 Billion Bid to Acquire Millipore

Clinical Pathology Laboratory Customers of Millipore Not Likely to See Many Changes

It only took a few days for Millipore Corporation (NYSE: MIL) to find a buyer willing to outbid Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO). Millipore agreed to be acquired by Merck KGaA (FWB: MRK) of Darmstadt, Germany. Merck will pay about $7.2 billion for Millipore, which tops a reported bid of $6 billion made by Thermo Fisher last week.

Because many clinical pathology laboratories use Millipore’s water purification systems and other products, the pending acquisition of Millipore by Merck represents more consolidation among vendors serving the clinical laboratory industry. The acquisition is expected to close during the second half of 2010.
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Wal-Mart Developing Telemedicine Clinics in Selected Stores

Having jumped feet first into the in-store rapid clinic/minute clinic concept, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is introducing telemedicine services in selected Wal-Mart stores. This may put the company just steps away from an interest in providing appropriate diagnostic tests to customers coming into its in-store medical clinics.

This summer, Wal-Mart announced a joint operating agreement with two companies for the purpose of running telemedicine clinics in selected stores. This pilot project is taking place in Houston, Texas. Collaborating are My Healthy Access, Inc. (OTC:MYHA) and NuPhysicia, LLC . Both companies are based in Houston, Texas. Since August, the partners have opened telemedicine clinics in several Wal-Mart Supercenter stores. The service is marketed as “Walk-In Telemedicine Health Care.” It connects patients with physicians via a telemedicine arrangement. In response to the physician’s directions, medical professionals with the patient at the clinic site provide the appropriate care.

The first telemedicine location was a Wal-Mart store in Pearland, Texas, which opened with two other telemedicine clinics during August. “Changing to a Telemedicine based health care delivery system allows us to substantially decrease the overhead per patient, while simultaneously increasing the level of care each patient receives,” said Kathleen Delaney, President of My Healthy Access, Inc. This telemedicine arrangement allows one physician to provide care to multiple clinic sites. This addresses one criticism of the rapid clinic/minute clinic concept, which was the limited range of services offered to customers. These clinics, located in retail locations, are generally staffed with a nurse practitioner, who is only allowed to diagnose and treat a limited number of clinical conditions.

Over the past year, Wal-Mart has also been shifting its strategy for developing in-store, rapid clinics. It has decided to partner with regional hospitals, health systems, and physicians. Local hospitals and health systems like this approach, because it gives them access to patients. Dark Daily observes that this type of arrangement shows the rapid acceptance of the medical clinic located in a retail store. Healthcare providers are recognizing that, in order to reach more customers, they will need to offer services in non-traditional settings where today’s customers spend their time (and money).

Dark Daily further predicts that, as Wal-Mart gains more understanding about the opportunities to provide medical services in their retail stores, laboratory testing is likely to come on the radar screen. After all, with the growing number of point of care tests (POCT) and rapid tests, this diagnostic service would increase the customer-friendly and fast service offered by these in-store medical clinics. Should Wal-Mart decide that the telemedicine concept is a clinical and financial winner, then one logical path to expanding the clinical services of the retail store rapid clinic is to offer selected laboratory tests on site.

Related Information:
My Healthy Access Announces Grand Opening of Wal-Mart Based Telemedicine Clinic
My Healthy Access Announces Opening Schedule of Wal-Mart Based Telemedicine Clinics

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