Healthways acquires Wayne’s Ascentia

Posted: May 01, 2012

When I wrote about a Wayne company’s being selected in December by federal regulators to expand its model to a new patient population, I thought that Renaissance Medical Management Co. would be worth keeping an eye on.

Apparently so did Brentwood, Tenn.,-based Healthways Inc., which last week acquired a software company that had emerged out of Renaissance.

Healthways would not disclose what it paid to buy Ascentia Health Care Solutions, an 11-year-old company with 23 employees. However, its executives were effusive in describing Ascentia’s physician-directed health management tools as key to the direction health care is headed.

Ascentia’s software helped Renaissance, an independent practice association of more than 200 physicians, coordinate the care of about 200,000 patients in employer-based insurance plans in Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania suburbs.

Nearly 30 years old, Healthways generated revenues of $688.7 million in 2011 from its technology-based business focused on improving the well-being of people covered by health insurance. Unfortunately for Healthways, its biggest customer — Cigna Healthcare Inc., accounting for 17 percent of those revenues — said in October that it would wind down its Healthways contract in 2012.

With reimbursement for all sorts of care moving toward an outcomes-based system rather than fee-for-service, Healthways can see that “integrated health systems will be an important part of what we do,” said spokesman Chip Wochomurka.

That’s why Healthways recently signed a 10-year partnership with the Texas Health Resources system in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with the goal of prodding patients into actively improving their overall well-being rather than consuming health services.

Healthways is eager to adapt what Ascentia has accomplished with Renaissance to Texas Health Resources, Wochomurka said.

This is not one of those deals where a bigger company buys a small business simply for its product. Healthways intends to keep the Ascentia team intact in Wayne and led by its CEO, Marc Malloy, according to Wochomurka.

In a statement, Ascentia chairman Barry Green called the acquisition “an affirmation of the value of the creative solutions which Ascentia has employed with great success in the Greater Philadelphia marketplace.”

Annual meetings

Merry as it is, May could just as well be called the “meeting month of May.”

I counted 69 annual shareholders’ meetings involving either local companies, companies with significant employment in the region, or Delaware-incorporated firms, such as Ford Motor Co., that must wend their way to Wilmington once a year. By comparison, there were just 24 meetings in April locally.

Our corporate governance-palooza starts with Unisys Corp. computing the results of shareholder voting at the Philadelphia Marriott West hotel in West Conshohocken May 1 at 9:30 a.m., and ends with Brandywine Realty Trust developing a quorum at the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia May 31 at 10 a.m.

Contact Mike Armstrong at 215-854-2980 or marmstrong@phillynews.com, or @PhillyInc on Twitter. Read his blog, “PhillyInc,” at www.phillyinc.biz.

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