NEWS

Whusa Poised for Growth - Names New Chief Executive Officer

November 21, 2017 – The Women’s Health USA (Whusa) Board of Directors announced today the hiring of Goran Dragolovic as Chief Executive Officer. The move comes just a few months after Whusa completed a majority recapitalization with private equity firm Sverica Capital Management LLC (Sverica) in August and is a key piece in Whusa’s long-term growth initiative.

 Goran comes to Whusa with more than 30 years of management and leadership experience in a broad range of healthcare service environments. Most recently, Goran spent nearly 7 years at Surgical Care Affiliates (SCA), and then at Optum after SCA was acquired by Optum. Goran served in several capacities there, including management of a $500M portfolio of surgery centers and specialty hospitals in the western US, leading enterprise-wide strategic service line expansion and, after the Optum transaction, Goran served as Senior Vice President of Practice Growth and Transformation for Optum. In that role, Goran helped aggregate and organize specialty and surgical physician groups into market-leading “CINs (clinically-integrated networks),” “High-performance IPAs,” and “Value-based Narrow Networks.” These groups were positioned to take advantage of innovative payment models on an episodic and population risk basis, either under upside gain-sharing arrangements, or on a full-risk basis. These arrangements empowered independent physicians to take greater control of value-based care delivery within their respective markets, ensured attendant economic benefits, and enabled physician groups to grow and thrive within the existing volatile healthcare market.

 “Since Sverica’s investment in Whusa, the Sverica team has focused on a candidate worthy of our vision to replace retiring founder, Bob Patricelli. We found Goran to be extremely well-suited for the position.” said Dave Finley, Chairman of Board for Whusa. “His experiences will be highly complementary to the capabilities and expertise of the current Whusa senior executive team.”

 Dragolovic adds, “There is a unique opportunity for OBGYN practitioners to become indispensable architects of value-based delivery models within their specialty, deliver on the triple aim, and transform the trajectory of women’s health. As a nationally recognized leader in women’s health with an impeccable reputation, clinical credibility and expertise, Whusa is uniquely positioned to lead efforts to assist physicians in seizing these opportunities.

I’m grateful and thrilled to join the remarkable team at Whusa and help lead our collective growth efforts.”

 Whusa provides OBGYN, In Vitro Fertilization, and other specialty women’s health practices with a full suite of practice management solutions including payor contracting, revenue cycle management, EMR support, financial and human resource management, merger and acquisition support, ancillary services development, and risk management services.  Whusa’s unique partnership model enables physicians and physician groups to maintain their independence, while leveraging the resources of a national organization.

Whusa and Sverica Join Forces for Growth

August 9, 2017 - Women’s Health USA, Inc. (“Whusa”), an Avon CT-based provider of services to women’s health physicians and practices, announced today that it had concluded a majority recapitalization with Sverica Capital Management LLC (“Sverica”), a private equity investment firm with offices in Boston and San Francisco.

Whusa was founded in 1997 and has built a leading national managed services platform focused on OBGYN and In Vitro Fertilization physicians.  Robert E. Patricelli, founder, CEO and majority shareholder of Whusa, said “our new partnership with Sverica will give Whusa the capital and backing to grow faster and to be more supportive of women’s health physicians who are looking to remain independent but at the same time be part of a national network of high quality professionals.  I am particularly pleased that virtually all of the senior management team, who really built this company, are staying on for the next exciting chapter in Whusa’s history.” Whusa is the third Patricelli-founded company which he has built and successfully sold, following Value Health, Inc. (NYSE “VHI”, 1987-1997), and Evolution Benefits, Inc. (2000-2010). Patricelli will step down as CEO after a transition period and will retain an equity stake in the company and serve on its board of directors.  Nancy P. Bernstein will continue as President and Chief Operating Officer of the company.

David Finley, Managing Director at Sverica said “We are pleased to partner with Whusa and its management team to continue building the leading women’s health organization in the US.”

Whusa provides OBGYN, In Vitro Fertilization, and other specialty women’s health practices with a full suite of practice management solutions including payor contracting, revenue cycle management, EMR support, financial and human resource management, merger and acquisition support, ancillary services development, and risk management services.  Whusa’s unique partnership model enables physicians and physician groups to maintain their independence, while leveraging the resources of a national organization.

Sverica is a leading lower-middle-market-focused private equity firm that has raised over $700 million of investment capital across four funds. The firm acquires and actively builds companies that are, or could become, leaders in their industries. Since 2001, Sverica has maintained a “high touch” operating philosophy of taking an active role in portfolio companies. Sverica devotes significant internal resources to help its management teams develop and execute growth strategies. For more information, please visit sverica.com.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey acted as exclusive financial advisor to Women’s Health USA, and Dechert LLC acted as Women’s Health USA’s legal counsel. Sverica was advised by Foley Lardner LLP, The Marwood Group, and Alvarez & Marsal.   Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Hartford Lost Aetna, New York Didn't Win It

By Robert E. Patricelli
July 17, 2017. Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini was right. Of course Hartford can't compete with New York City as a global corporate headquarters with Gotham's vast array of resources — law firms, accounting firms, regulatory bodies, financial markets, national and international hub airports, universities, media, sports and entertainment, and on and on.

But, interestingly, none of Aetna's prime health insurance and health care competitors is headquartered in New York City. Aetna's move didn't have to be. Connecticut and Hartford have great assets in the knowledge economy and a better quality of life for most employees than New York City. New York didn't win it, we lost it.

We have no one to blame but ourselves. We have allowed Hartford, over the course of 50 years, to plummet from being one of the best run cities to being a municipal mendicant, teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Shame on all of us who live in, work in or love Hartford.

At the same time we have let our state's finances, public infrastructure and business friendly reputation deteriorate to an alarming and embarrassing legislative gridlock. Even if the General Assembly produces a budget deal, which is far from clear at this writing, it will be another stop gap measure, devoid of structural reform (not that the governor didn't try).

It happened because we trusted to others to do our work. We have watched our political parties stray from centrist pragmatic ideologies to partisan opposition, but we didn't get active politically. We trusted our political-governmental system, without noticing that — for the most part — people knowledgeable about the economy are not running for office anymore. Of the 186 members of the legislature, only about 40 percent are working in a business — the rest are in nonprofit, law, education, government and labor careers. There are almost no employees of large companies who serve as legislators because, sadly, they are not encouraged at work to do so.

We also harbored wistful memories of "The Bishops" — hoping that the large company CEOs would ride to the rescue with civic reforms. Well, let me give you a clue — it isn't going to happen. With a few notable exceptions, global CEOs prefer to be globe-trotting. Most don't have the time or inclination to lead civic renewal efforts. Even if they did, they have multiple cities and states in which their companies have major commitments of resources, and Connecticut has to get in line.

It may be that our current legislature, made up of well-meaning but part-time legislators who are constantly beset by special interest pleaders, simply cannot undertake basic structural reform any more. We don't need just a two-year budget, we need a plan that will restore Connecticut's economic mojo. But we are not getting one — the system isn't working.

So what must we do? Roll up our sleeves. Just because Mr. Bertolini is right under today's circumstances, he doesn't have to stay right. We have seen this movie before — at the federal level. We would do well to borrow a model from the bipartisan 2010 Simpson-Bowles report, which created a long-term, federal budget stabilization plan. Connecticut needs its own Simpson-Bowles Commission and, unlike what happened at the federal level, we need to debate and enact the reforms it recommends.

Remember the prophetic words of Alexis de Tocqueville writing about America as he observed it in 1831:

"These Americans are peculiar people. If, in a local community, a citizen becomes aware of a human need which is not being met, he thereupon discusses the situation with his neighbors. Suddenly, a committee comes into existence. The committee thereupon begins to operate on behalf of the need and a new community function is established. It is like watching a miracle, because these citizens perform this act without a single reference to any bureaucracy, or any official agency."

Stay tuned. The committee is forming.

Robert E. Patricelli is CEO of Women's Health USA Inc. based in Avon. He has worked in senior policy positions in the federal government and as CEO of several Connecticut companies he founded.

Verrastro Promoted To Head Connecticut’s Largest Fertility Program

Farmington, CT, April 4, 2017. The Center for Advanced Reproductive Services announced today that Paul Verrastro has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer. He previously held the position of Chief Operating Officer and has been with the Center since 2000. “The Center is proud to recognize Paul with this promotion. Paul leads by example, never wavering from our mission to provide the highest quality of medical care with compassion and dignity,” stated John C. Nulsen, MD, Director and a lead physician at the Center.

The Center for Reproductive Services is Connecticut’s largest fertility program, and one of the most successful in the country. Started in 1984, the Center employs over 100 individuals in the state and is responsible for the births of over 12,000 babies. The Center is an academic affiliate of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and runs the fellowship program in Reproductive Medicine and Infertility at the UConn School of Medicine.

According to Brian Pskowski, President of In Vitro Sciences, “Paul’s firm commitment to patient satisfaction has resulted in continued growth and recognition for the Center.” The Center for Advanced Reproductive Services is managed by In Vitro Sciences, Inc., a subsidiary of Women's Health USA, Inc. (Whusa). Whusa is a family of companies dedicated to providing the best in business management solutions in partnership with physicians.  “Paul’s promotion recognizes his hard work and dedication to the Center and to the Women’s Health family,” stated Robert Patricelli, Whusa chairman and CEO.

In 2015, the Center moved into a new, custom-designed facility in Farmington. The new facility features one of the most highly advanced IVF labs in the world including an innovative air purification and irradiation technology called the LifeAire System. New data from in vitro fertilization programs using LifeAire System demonstrates dramatic increases in clinical pregnancies through in vitro fertilization. Additional sites for the Center include Hartford and New London.

Paul Verrastro has his MPA in Health Management from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Administration at New York University. He has his BA from the Gallatin School at New York University, graduating magna cum laude. He is a resident of Prospect, CT.

Women's Health USA Names Bernstein President

Avon, Connecticut, March 1, 2017 - Nancy Bernstein has been named, effective today, President and Chief Operating Officer of Women’s Health USA (Whusa), the Avon, Connecticut-based company providing business services to health care providers in Connecticut and five other states. In her role, Nancy will be responsible for Whusa’s operations with OBGYN physicians and family planning clinics in six states throughout the country, including Connecticut, as well as clinical, billing and operating functions.

Robert E. Patricelli, Chairman and CEO of Whusa, made the announcement.  “Since joining our team in 1999, Nancy has demonstrated great skill and leadership, rising through the ranks to become President of Women’s Health Connecticut and more recently to Executive Vice President of Whusa,” he said.  “Women’s Health Connecticut, or WHC, is the company’s flagship joint venture with more than 200 OBGYNs in the state coming together in a single partnership to provide women excellence in their health care experience.”  Patricelli further explained that Bernstein would continue as President of WHC for the foreseeable future.

With enthusiasm for her new role, Ms. Bernstein stated “I’m looking forward to putting my experiences and successes in Connecticut to use on a broader scope of business, helping to advance Whusa as a national player in the women’s health services arena. We have an ambitious vision for the company and I’m looking forward to the new challenge which comes with that.”

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