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Health-care Services

POSTED: Tuesday, March 9, 2010, 2:05 AM
Filed Under: Health-care Services | People

As President Obama stumped for change in health insurance during Monday’s visit to the Philadelphia area, one of the region’s biggest players in that business was making changes of its own.

The AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Cos. announced the promotions of three executives after the change in its chief executive officer at the start of the year.

Michael A. Rashid succeeded Daniel J. Hilferty as president and CEO of the Delaware County-based group of Medicaid managed-care plans as of Jan. 1. Rashid, who has been with AmeriHealth Mercy since 1995, had been executive vice president.

POSTED: Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 2:05 AM

With the Senate Finance Committee approving a health-care reform bill, all the notions and what-ifs will start to crystallize into actual do’s and don’t’s.

We all have a keen interest in having the best health care we can afford. It’s appalling that the United States can spend more than $2.2 trillion a year on health care but not have the world’s best system.

But as difficult as it has been for the House and Senate to get to this point, now the truly difficult negotiating begins.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 15, 2009, 2:05 AM

Farmers Insurance got its start selling auto insurance in Los Angeles in 1928.

We all know what happened the next year.

The company survived the Great Depression, and now in the Great Recession it’s been trying to position itself for whenever the economic recovery comes.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 14, 2009, 2:09 PM

CardioNet Inc. has called off its acquisition of Biotel Inc. one day before shareholders were poised to vote on the $14 million deal.

Minneapolis-based Biotel made the announcement today, saying that Conshohocken-based CardioNet "is terminating the Merger Agreement with Biotel due to a failure of Biotel to comply with the terms of the agreement."

In a statement, Biotel said it considering its legal options and that it "believes it has complied with all terms of the agreement."

POSTED: Tuesday, July 14, 2009, 2:05 AM

Less than two weeks after CardioNet Inc. revised its full-year 2009 outlook downward, the Conshohocken provider of wireless cardiac monitoring devices withdrew its guidance on Sunday night.

What spurred CardioNet to do so was a letter from a Medicare unit of Pittsburgh’s Highmark Inc. that indicated the insurer would lower reimbursement for the company’s services to $754 per service from $1,123.

The move was not unexpected, because CardioNet told analysts on June 30 it had been feeling cost pressure from insurance payers. On July 1, its shares fell 42 percent to $9.57.

POSTED: Thursday, July 2, 2009, 2:30 AM

The bigger the car maker, the harder the sales fall.

The U.S. vehicle sales numbers for June fell short of expectations, missing the 10 million annual rate the bailout twins, Chrysler (down 42 percent) and General Motors (down 33 percent), say they need to break even.

But several smaller companies continue hold their own in 2009, including Cherry Hill’s Subaru of America Inc. For June, Subaru’s sales were 18,620 units, up 3 percent. For the first six months, its sales are down only 1 percent.

POSTED: Monday, June 29, 2009, 3:15 AM

Amid the too-evident wreckage of capitalism's "creative destruction," signs of business creation continue to show up.

Three new companies won acceptance last week to the business incubator at Drexel University's LeBow College of Business.

An annual competition for admittance to the incubator had already brought 32 companies under the roof of Drexel's Baiada Center for Entrepreneurship since 2003.

The center's Web site lists 15 current residents of the incubator, such as Renaissance Scientific L.L.C., a competition winner two years ago that is developing a microbe- and sperm-killing condom lubricant effective against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Some of the rest ultimately failed, and eight have hatched from incubation, said Baiada Center director Mark Loschiavo.

This year's winners are:

Stabiliz Orthopaedics, whose organizing team of M.B.A. students - including Doug Cerynik, the director of research in orthopedic surgery at Drexel's medical school - are developing bone fasteners using bio-absorbable materials;

Ranter, a social-networking tool that one of its principals, 27-year-old M.B.A. student Brad Welch, calls a "stripped down application" for texting groups through a cell phone chat window;, a new run at the concept of business-to-business Web portals.

Each won a modest pot of seed money - Stabiliz Orthopaedics got the most, at $12,000 - along with space in the incubator, and access to mentoring and other support services there.

While they're not ignoring the recession, "I don't see them moping around," Loschiavo said of denizens of the incubator.

"From the entrepreneurs' perspective, they see the economy as just one of the many variables that they have to deal with, . . . one more challenge to overcome," the director said.

"It's going to be more difficult to raise funds in this economy," said Brian Schneck, 24, the other principal of the Ranter texting tool. "The good thing, development costs these days are very low."

He and Welch expect to have a beta version of their would-be Twitter-killer in three months.

Mike Armstrong is away. Contact Reid Kanaley at 215-854-5114 or

Reid Kanaley @ 3:15 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, June 26, 2009, 3:15 AM

Brian Ruby doesn't want you to take this the wrong way, but the recession has been good to him - or at least to his high-tech startup company, so far.

"This has been the absolute best time for us," Ruby, 25, said yesterday before the ribbon-cutting at his nine-person firm, Carbon Nanoprobes Inc., on Phoenixville Pike in East Whiteland, Chester County.

Because of the recession, Ruby said, he's been able to cut deals "that a year and a half ago we never would have been able to afford, and nobody would have funded."

Reid Kanaley @ 3:15 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
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Mike Armstrong blogs about Philadelphia corporations and business-related topics. Contact him at 215-854-2980. Reach Mike at

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