There is a trend in healthcare toward customer-centrism—placing the interests of the consumer before all other considerations.  The trend may be slow in its growth, but for those healthcare organizations that embrace the idea and obsess over improving the consumer’s experience throughout their healthcare journey, there can be a payoff.  But improving consumer experience in healthcare takes a commitment and courage to venture outside of traditional comfort zones.

For years, the polarized debate over healthcare policy has included advocacy for a more consumer-directed healthcare system.  The argument in favor says consumers and providers alike must have more skin in the game—financial responsibility—and better information with which to make more consumer-like decisions.  For providers, the “skin” means risk-based contracts.  For consumers, it means higher deductibles and other out-of-pocket cost exposure.  There has been significant movement in this direction. 
Continue Reading

The Texas Comptroller issued an advisory opinion reversing a longstanding policy relating to Texas sales taxation of medical billing services that will impact all Texas medical management and medical billing companies. Originally set to be effective January 1, 2020,  the Comptroller last week delayed the implementation of the new position until April 1, 2020. However, the opportunity exists to work with the Comptroller to amend Texas’ tax law in the 2021 session of the Texas Legislature and prevent the new position from being implemented.

The potential impact of this policy cannot be understated. For both third-party medical billing companies and Texas medical management companies (even those wholly-controlled by the physicians, dentists, and other medical professionals it manages), the scope of “medical billing services” and the extent to which consideration flows for such services needs to be analyzed and a determination made, if required, to begin withholding and charging Texas sales tax on the required component next year. For example, the need to separately account for and state the taxable versus nontaxable component of any agreement that provides for a lump-sum fee is important (the “separately stated” strategy for sales tax compliance). With many management agreements, a fixed amount is paid to cover a broad spectrum of services.
Continue Reading

In this short recording, Healthcare attorneys Wakaba Tessier and Erica Ash discuss a recent Department of Justice (DOJ) settlement involving a specialty pharmacy and its private equity owner. This case is significant because – not only did the DOJ name the compounding pharmacy and its two executives – but it also named the private equity

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued a final rule that includes several anti-fraud measures and significantly enhances the agency’s authority to exclude new and current providers and suppliers that are identified as posing an undue risk of fraud, waste or abuse. The new measures require providers and suppliers to disclose to CMS upon its request and upon application for initial enrollment or revalidation any “affiliations” or parties who have one or more defined “disclosable events.” The rule went into effect November 4, 2019.

The new rule requires all providers to disclose any current or prior affiliations within the past five years that the provider—or any of its owning or managing employees or organizations—has or had with a current or former Medicare provider with a “disclosable event,” which is triggered by any of the following:

  • an uncollected debt to CMS
  • current or previous payments suspension from a federal health care program
  • current or previously exclusion from healthcare programs
  • previous denial, revocation or termination of Medicare, Medicaid or CHIP billing privileges


Continue Reading

Part V: Material Deal Terms to Negotiate in Private Equity Transactions

This is the fifth article in our series on “Closing a Private Equity Transaction.” In Part I, the benefits of preparing for a transaction were explained, along with how best to prepare. In Part II, the letter of intent was discussed, and key terms were identified. In Part III, we walked through what to expect during the due diligence process. In Part IV, we outlined the various healthcare regulatory issues that arise in private equity transactions. Here, we highlight some of the more material terms typically negotiated in the definitive transaction documents.

The primary definitive document will be the purchase agreement (which will either be an asset purchase agreement or a stock purchase agreement, depending on the structure of the transaction). The first step will be to confirm the agreement contains the various terms negotiated in the letter of intent. (See Part II for a discussion of the terms that should be negotiated.) While the LOI will cover the major deal terms, the purchase agreement will expand upon those terms in more detail, and include other provisions necessary to effectuate the transaction.
Continue Reading

Part IV: Healthcare Regulatory Issues that Arise in Private Equity Transactions

This is the fourth article in our series on “Closing a Private Equity Transaction.” In Part I, the benefits of preparing for a transaction were explained, along with how best to prepare. In Part II, the letter of intent was discussed, and key terms were identified and explained. In Part III, we walked through what to expect during the due diligence process. Here, we identify the various healthcare regulatory issues that arise in private equity transactions.

The Healthcare industry is heavily regulated at both the federal and state levels, and regulatory issues will be the greatest area of concern for a buyer. The buyer will review the information disclosed through the due diligence process to confirm both pre- and post-closing regulatory compliance.

No business is perfect, and it’s not uncommon for areas of past non-compliance to be uncovered. A buyer needs to understand what they will be potentially inheriting in terms of risk. This gives the parties a chance to correct deficiencies, which may include a self-disclosure or refund, and make improvements going forward.
Continue Reading

Part III: Due Diligence

This is the third article in our series on “Closing a Private Equity Transaction.” In Part I, the benefits of preparing for a transaction were explained, along with how best to prepare. In Part II, the letter of intent (LOI) was discussed, and key terms were identified and explained. Next, we walk through the due diligence process, which begins immediately after the parties execute the LOI.

Due diligence is used by both the buyer and seller to confirm the decision to proceed with an ultimate closing. Typically, the buyer’s examination of the seller’s business will be comprehensive and include information covering the past three to five years. This is necessary in order for buyer to understand what it will be purchasing, in terms of profitability, operations, business relationships, and potential liabilities. 
Continue Reading

Private equity buyers have become a significant player in the healthcare M&A space and they continue to focus on those types of healthcare services that have the greatest opportunities for aggregating. Traditional health system buyers have continued to focus on which physician specialties will assist most with alignment and care coordination strategies. While there are many similarities in transactions with these two types of buyers, there are often just as many differences. The following examples illustrate how those interests may vary:
Continue Reading

Part II: Negotiating the Letter of Intent

This is the second article in our series on “Closing a Private Equity Transaction.” As discussed in “Part I,” advance preparation is critical to getting a deal done. Once preparation for a potential transaction is complete, and an interested buyer or investor is identified, the parties will proceed with negotiating a letter of intent (LOI).

With a few exceptions (which are mentioned below), the LOI is a nonbinding document, but should include those terms essential for both parties to close the transaction. This is the moment when the parties will be in the best position to ensure that the time and expense that will be required for negotiating a definitive purchase agreement will be justified.  Such terms can include:
Continue Reading

Part I: Preparing for a Transaction
First in the series.

To increase the likelihood of ultimately closing a transaction with a private equity investor or buyer, the key is preparation.  Preparation is divided up into several steps.

First, before seeking a potential investor or buyer, the owners of the business should go through a semi-formal process to confirm the owners and key members of the business have shared, or at least compatible, motivations and priorities in a pursuing a potential transaction (e.g., capital for improving or growing the business, building a brand, creating value for a future exit, or cashing out). This will allow the business to focus on those investors/buyers with aligned expectations, and ultimately gain the required approval to close a transaction from the owners and key members of the business.
Continue Reading