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Call Center A New Direction for Hospitalist Company

Jessica Vernabe Glendale-based hospitalist service company Apollo Medical Holdings Inc.’s acquisition of a 24-hour physician call center company will add a new dimension to how it serves its patients. Apollo, which is mostly focused on hospitalist services but also provides services in case management, acquired Los Angeles-based Aligned Healthcare Group LLC. The transaction was effective Feb. 15. Besides providing call center services, Aligned also provides specialized care management services to health plans, hospitals and medical groups. The deal marked the first acquisition and the first venture into physician call centers for Apollo Medical Holdings, which started in Glendale Memorial Hospital in 2001, said Kyle Francis, Apollo’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. “This is an expansion of our business model,” Francis said, adding that Apollo is designed to better organize utilization of health care services. “The 24-hour call center that we’re doing is another resource for patients to call in order to avoid going to the ER. It provides access to physicians over the phone to patients who might not have access to a primary care doctor.” The call centers will be integrated into the company to work hand-in-hand with its other services in order to help patients receive care in a more organized fashion. Warren Hosseinion, CEO of Apollo, said the acquisition is a step in the direction the industry is heading. “The new ApolloMed integrated model provides the infrastructure to help provider groups and health plans achieve objectives for utilization efficiency, quality of care and cost control within the shared accountability arrangements that are emerging within the new world of healthcare payment reform.” In exchange for complete ownership interest in Aligned, Apollo will issue 1 million common shares to the shareholders of Aligned and pay an additional 4.5 million common shares over the next three years subject to a performance earnout based on cash flow. Francis said the acquisition is expected to help increase revenues for Apollo, which have already been growing. “We’ve grown the business organically (particularly) over the last two to three years, and we’re continuing to expand what we’re doing,” he said. Apollo, which has a presence at 22 hospitals in the Los Angeles region, contracts with about 25 physicians and has about 30 support staff, Francis said. Through the acquisition with Aligned, about five people have joined Apollo. Raouf Khalil, the former CEO of Aligned, was named president of the Aligned division and will be added to Apollo’s board of directors. Apollo also hired Dr. Jamie McReynolds as chief medical officer of the new division; Jane Reese, a registered nurse, as chief operating officer; as well as two other former Aligned team members. Providence to Run Motion Picture Site Providence Health & Services is helping the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s long-term health care Wasserman Campus in Woodland Hills stay open by taking over its health care management. The fund announced in 2009 that it was going to shut down the facility, which provides services to those in the entertainment industry. Through a non-binding letter of intent, Providence plans to sign a long-term master lease agreement for the fund’s hospital facilities. State licenses for the 250-bed hospital would be transferred to Providence Tarzana Medical Center. The plan is subject to regulatory approval. The fund will continue to provide services for the entertainment community through industry-exclusive long-term care and dementia units. It will also continue its broad social services programs, including financial grants of charitable assistance for industry members in need, residential subsidies, Elder Connection and the Samuel Goldwyn Foundation Children’s Center. Other services provided by Providence at the Woodland Hills site —including skilled nursing, palliative care and other post-acute care units —will be available to the greater community. UCLA Health System will also take part in improving the facility’s medical program by bringing a new neurological rehabilitation unit onsite. Definitive agreements are expected to occur later this year. “Over the last year, I have been working closely with my fellow board members and management to find a positive resolution to our long-term care and acute care issue,” said Bob Beitcher, CEO of the Motion Picture and Television Fund. “With this letter of intent, the framework is now in place to accomplish that. The new affiliation with Providence Health & Services will create a vibrant medical campus with services never before available to our industry members.” He added that the partnership adds continuity for the fund’s long-term care residents and a continuum of care for its 180 campus residents in independent and assisted living. Michael Hunn, senior vice president and chief executive of Providence California, said the missions of Providence and the Motion Picture Television Fund are aligned. “We are privileged to serve those in the entertainment industry, and we look forward to providing quality, safe and compassionate care.” Caldera Medical Grows Sales Force Caldera Medical has made recent executive promotions and hires as the company also grows its sales force. The Agoura Hills-based manufacturer of women’s health medical devices has recently promoted Dov Tamler to the position of chief operating officer and hired industry veteran Perry Needham to the position of senior vice president of global sales. Tamler has held several positions since joining the company at its inception. She most recently served as Caldera’s vice president of business development and operations, a role she held since 2007. Needham served as Caldera’s founding vice president of sales from 2003 and 2005. During that time, Needham launched the company’s first product line, attracted leading physicians and built an independent sales force of more than 100 representatives. Caldera is in the process of expanding its domestic direct sales force from its current size of 51 employees to 115 sales employees by the end of 2011. In 2010, the company’s same product revenues grew by 43 percent. Caldera’s focuses exclusively on products across the gynecology, urology and urogynecology specialties. Staff Reporter Jessica Vernabe can be reached at (818) 316-3123 or at jvernabe@sfvbj.com

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