Under a new top executive and reorganized leadership, Ameritech Health Connections said it's planning an aggressive acquisition strategy to add to its lineup of data-repository and network-connection components.
But that strategy won't include the purchase of Bell Atlantic Healthcare Systems, which Ameritech had been eyeing since early in December.
Al Vega, an Ameritech vice president who led a team that evaluated Bell Atlantic, said he was looking for "complementary pieces" to augment Ameritech's Knowledge Keystone clinical data base and other products that help create regional health information networks. Mr. Vega said he concluded that "we weren't as a combined organization going to gain a heck of a lot."
Bell Atlantic markets a data repository called the Oacis that competes with Ameritech's Keystone.
Joanne Clark Tessem, director of marketing for Bell Atlantic Healthcare Systems, said Ameritech's breakoff of a "due diligence" investigation late in January "did not have anything to do with what they discovered" but rather had to do with internal changes at Ameritech.
The company had just accepted the resignation of Lydon Newmann, president of Ameritech Knowledge Data, which had operated as a Health Connections unit since being purchased in 1991 for its Keystone data base. Two weeks earlier, John Slotterback was hired as Health Connections president to replace Joseph Sullivan (Jan. 17, p. 24).
Mr. Slotterback has reorganized the unit to erase separate lines of management for Knowledge Data and put Mr. Vega in charge of sales, operations and customer support for the entire division.
Gail Gulinson, vice president for marketing, said the company will look for acquisitions, joint ventures and affiliations that will "add value" to Ameritech's regional health information network projects. Examples include software programs aiding insurance precertification and the establishment of master patient indexes for a network.
Ameritech is developing networks in Milwaukee; Nashville, Tenn.; and the Cincinnati/Dayton, Ohio, area.