Consortium of private-equity firms to buy Medline • Why this local drugmaker has an edge over AbbVie • New Mercy owners promise to be ‘stewards’ of hospital

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MEDLINE DEAL VALUED AT MORE THAN $30 BILLION: A consortium of private equity firms reached an agreement to buy medical supply company Medline Industries Inc. in what would be one of the biggest leveraged buyouts of all time.

The group, comprising Blackstone Group Inc., Carlyle Group Inc. and Hellman & Friedman, will take a majority stake in Medline. Singapore’s GIC Pte will also invest as part of the partnership, the consortium said in a statement Saturday.

Northfield-based Medline, the biggest private U.S. manufacturer and distributor of medical supplies like medical gloves, face masks, gowns and exam tables is run by the billionaire Mills family: Chief Executive Officer Charlie Mills, his cousin Andy Mills, who is president, and Chief Operating Officer Jim Abrams, who is Charlie’s brother-in-law.

The Mills family will remain the largest single shareholder, according to the statement, adding that there will be no changes to Medline’s senior management team. READ MORE.

ABBVIE’S LOSS IS TOLMAR’S GAIN: Tolmar Pharmaceuticals’ prostate cancer drug Eligard has long been up against Lupron, sold by North Chicago-based AbbVie and manufactured by Takeda. But when problems at a Japanese plant last year forced Takeda to temporarily stop producing the drug, Tolmar suddenly had the U.S. market for prostate cancer hormone therapy to itself.

With Lupron on ice, Eligard’s share of the market more than doubled to 65 percent at one point last year, according to Anil D’Souza, CEO of Buffalo Grove-based Tolmar.

"Really all the capacity in the (U.S.) market was us and AbbVie—and we were the only ones that controlled our own supply chain," says D’Souza, who declines to reveal Eligard sales or estimate the dollar value of the market. READ MORE.

NEW MERCY OWNERS PROMISE TO BE ‘STEWARDS’ OF THE HOSPITAL: It’s the start of a new era. Mercy Hospital & Medical Center, Chicago’s oldest hospital, has a new name and a new owner.

Insight Hospital & Medical Center Chicago leaders on Friday addressed community members and pledged to turn the Bronzeville hospital into a “destination center.”

In addition to increasing service lines, Insight plans to restore the hospital’s comprehensive emergency department, re-establish it as a teaching facility and add three independent community members to its board.

Hospital CEO Atif Bawahab acknowledged that the Flint, Mich.-based firm wasn’t “embraced with open arms” when it announced plans to buy the hospital from Trinity Health for $1.

“We see us as stewards of the hospital. As people the torch has now been passed to. But we will always acknowledge the work that has happened before us,” he said. “This is going to be a collaborative effort for us to rebuild together.”

Insight, which took over on June 1, has committed to operating the full-service community hospital through at least 2029.

“They’ve expressed a commitment to work with us, to figure out what the needs of our community are and to include us—that has just been so encouraging and hopeful,” state Rep. Theresa Mah, D-Chicago, said during the event. Three lawmakers recently slammed the Mercy deal in a Crain’s letter to editor, writing that "the city chose to move forward with the sale of Bronzeville’s Mercy Hospital to Insight, with absolutely no due diligence, no financials nor plan of operation."

TELEHEALTH, OTHER COVERAGES HIGHLIGHT SPRINGFIELD SESSION: A measure that makes permanent many of the temporary pandemic regulations providing for parity in telehealth coverage is one of the highest-profile health care bills now sitting on Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk.

HB3308 will require insurance plans regulated by the state to cover and reimburse telehealth services at the same level as in-person care. The requirement will be extended indefinitely for mental health and substance use disorder services and through the end of 2027 for all other types of health care. It doesn’t apply to self-insured plans or Medicaid, although Medicaid currently pays the same rates for telehealth and in-person care. 

Here’s where some other health care bills stand:

  • Prescription repository program: Also on Pritzker’s desk is HB 119, which would establish a system for people to return their unneeded and unopened prescription drugs to pharmacies, which would then be made available to low-income residents. 
  • Expanded infertility coverage: HB 3709, which also sits on Pritzker’s desk, expands coverage of infertility treatment for single women and same-sex couples. Currently, companies that offer pregnancy benefits are required to also cover fertility treatments such as IVF, but only to women under 35 who are either medically unable to conceive or unable to get pregnant after six months.
  • Prior authorization: A measure meant to speed up the prior authorization process also awaits Pritzker’s signature. HB 711, the Prior Authorization Reform Act, would set timelines for insurance companies to sign off on urgent and non-urgent care. If a treatment is approved, related supplies or services would also be considered to be authorized, and would remain in effect for the extent of the care.
  • No licensing of midwives: One bill that didn’t pass was HB3401, which would have allowed certified professional midwives to seek state licensing. While it passed handily in the Illinois House, the Senate never took it up for a vote. 

NATIONAL REPORT FORECASTS CARE MOVING OUT OF HOSPITALS: A report from Skokie-based health care consultancy Sg2 adds to a growing collection of data showing that there will be more lower-acuity care delivered and it will be delivered outside of hospital walls.

The report predicts inpatient discharge volumes overall will decline by 1 percent by 2029, while outpatient volumes will increase by 19 percent, and ambulatory surgical centers will see growth of 25 percent.

The move away from inpatient care is being driven by a few factors. There are more innovations in medical technology that allows for less invasive procedures and therefore less of a need for all the bells and whistles a hospital provides. There’s also been considerable growth in ambulatory surgery centers, partly due to financial backing from private equity firms. More from Crain’s sister publication Modern Healthcare.

NORTHWESTERN TARGETS SENIORS FOR PRIMARY CARE MODEL: Northwestern Medicine has introduced a new primary care model targeted at patients with chronic illnesses and those aged 65 and older. The Naperville clinic, launched last week, will offer individualized care from a team including a primary care physician, health coach and social worker helping patients overcome barriers, according to a statement.

Northwestern joins a growing list of hospital chains are developing specialized offerings for patients 65 and older, including Advocate Aurora Health and NorthShore University HealthSystem. Institutions face mounting pressure to deliver better quality care at a lower cost, as the population ages and Medicare heads toward insolvency.

WORKING ON CAUSES, SOLUTIONS TO MATERNAL DEATH: In April, Illinois became the first state to be approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to extend Medicaid up to a full year after a pregnancy.

As Crain’s reported in April, conditions for mothers has worsened and Black women are nearly three times as likely as white women to die of a pregnancy-related condition. 

The disparity has narrowed since the state released its 2018 report, which found that Black women were more than six times as likely as white women to die from a pregnancy-related condition. However, “it is not due to conditions improving for Black women, but is instead due to worsening conditions for white women,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said during a press briefing today. “Any amount of disparity between the groups is unacceptable.”

Maternal health experts say extending Medicaid coverage to a full year postpartum makes sense because pregnancy-related complications — physical and mental — aren’t limited to the first few months.

“Many [postpartum] health issues and health problems extend beyond the 60-day period that Medicaid is currently covering,” said Dr. Rachel Bervell, an obstetrician in Seattle and co-founder of the Black OBGYN Project, which aims to raise awareness about racial injustices in maternal health care. Illinois Public Media has more in Modern Healthcare

CRAIN’S GENERAL COUNSEL LIST NOTABLE FOR HEALTH CARE INCLUSIONS: General counsels from over a dozen health care companies made Crain’s Chicago Business’ list of Notable General Counsels. About a quarter of the counsels on the list represent health care companies. See who made the cut.

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

• Dr. Joseph W. McIntosh, has been named chief medical officer at Lake Forest-based Jaguar Gene Therapy. McIntosh has more than 16 years of drug development experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, with a focus on developing gene therapies.

via Crain’s Chicago Business

June 7, 2021 at 07:02AM

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