As we reported back in November, the healthcare division of Sage was purchased by a private equity group and re-branded to Vitera Healthcare Solutions. Oftentimes, when private equity firms buy companies, a short-term strategy is to drastically cut expenses and then re-sell the company (as we’ve seen happen with the original Medical Manager Corporation throughout the years). Possible evidence of this approach was confirmed last Thursday when a massive reduction in force was made in Tampa, FL at Vitera headquarters. Unverified blog rumors are quantifying the headcount reductions at upwards of 300 people, over 120 of which were in direct customer support roles. Here are some of the comments we’ve found on a reputable health IT industry blog: “Police were called to the Tampa, Alachua, and Scottsdale offices to ensure the quiet exit of over 300 laid-off employees.” “Boxes were dropped off and an armed police officer was on site to make sure nobody caused trouble. … Vitera’s parent private equity company made it clear that their goals are to increase revenue 30% in three years… These guys are not product people, they are finance people.” “I hear the total headcount was 337. Word is that they’re dumping Intergy and putting all their efforts behind the MedAppz SaaS product they bought. People who have seen it were unimpressed.” “…A sad (likely final) chapter in the long story of mergers… Medical Manager, WebMD, Emdeon, Sage, Vitera. Each time HIT outsider new management pledges to invigorate the company and sets unreasonable revenue targets, only to find that the only way to get near the target is to slash and burn. Condolences to those that lost their jobs…. Likely you’re better off not going down with the ship.” “…I can personally attest to 122 based on paperwork I was given that documented 122 in support positions alone. This does not cover field technicians, CRMs, sales people or other staff. …” “…they laid over 10% of the staff off, and not two hours later they stood up in front of the rest of us and said that ‘This is a fun place to work’, and that we should ‘like them on Facebook.’” These comments buzzed in after a published interview with Vitera CEO, Matthew Hawkins, appeared on the HISTalk blog on 02/11/12 asking, among others, this very timely question: “People are always suspicious when private equity firms buy companies that they’re just going to slash and burn their way to flipping the company at the first chance. Have there been any headcount reductions or any other cost-cutting measures, and what’s the long-term strategy of where the company needs to go?” Clearly, the interview occurred before the employees were let go on 02/09/12, however, the question was right on target. Here are some of the reader comments that followed: “… Their 5010 compliance in is disarray, employee morale is in the tank and clients are beyond frustrated. Take my advice; RUN from Vitera. They are about turning a quick buck to satisfy investors. Gordon Gecko would be proud of Matthew Hawkins. … Prior to the Vista Equity group acquisition, Intergy and Intergy EHR were in the top 5 practice management and EHR applications; now they aren’t even on many lists.” “Spin from a hypocrite. Praising the very people that were fired this week. Run for the hills, Vitera clients – this guy has NO clue about PM or EHR. The slash and burn that he denies is exactly what he’s doing.” “…A once proud ship has veered off course.” “…Kill companies, starve products, skim profits – the new American way. But don’t insult the underlings by thinking we buy the spin. This interview wins top award for most buzz words strung together without a sincere statement.” “…Just a few short years ago, MM/EPS/Sage/Vitera had over 18,000 practices and is now at 11,000 (?) so that’s nearly a 40% decline. Ouch. I heard they are now down to about 600 employees after taking out about 1/3 of the company…” And, so, the Medical Manager story continues on. From a corporate perspective, the company continues to change hands. With a new leadership team at the helm, strategic decisions will be made that affect the daily service and support of its software users as well as go-forward product direction. If you’re a long-time and devoted user of The Medical Manager software, be sure to visit our online community of users at www.medicalmanagerusers.com. Know that Harmony Healthcare IT exists as a high-quality services organization offering Medical Manager support as well as custom programming, formatting and product training. We also offer an alternative clearinghouse solution to Medical Manager users that offers more features than Emdeon as well as 5010 compliance. Contact us to learn more about your options for keeping Medical Manager while meeting 5010 and EHR meaningful use initiatives.