If James Sweeney has his way, newly formed home infusion provider Coram Healthcare Corp. will become the "Columbia Healthcare of alternative-site services" during the next several years.
He recently returned to his roots in home infusion after being named chairman of Coram, a $550 million home infusion company formed through the mergers of Alpharetta, Ga.-based T2 Medical; Ontario, Calif.-based Curaflex Health Services; Miami-based HealthInfusion; and Minneapolis-based Medisys.
The merger is expected to be completed in April, assuming shareholders approve the pact.
In an interview with MODERN HEALTHCARE, Mr. Sweeney said that his long-term objective for Coram-now the nation's second-largest provider of home infusion services-is to develop it into a multidimensional corporation that will offer managed-care organizations a vast array of non-hospital services.
"Without being (too) specific, our goal is to become the Columbia on the non-hospital side," Mr. Sweeney said.
"Home infusion is the pedestal that will take our business to the next step-becoming a one-stop shopping center for managed-care providers."
Mr. Sweeney has been considered one of the pioneers of the home infusion industry. He founded Caremark in 1979 and helped make it the most successful home infusion company in the nation until selling it to Baxter International for $586 million in 1987. He then left the home infusion arena, becoming chairman of hospital intravenous supply company McGaw.
His involvement with Coram began when T2 co-founders Thomas Haire and Tommy Carter recruited him several months ago to find a buyer for their struggling home infusion firm.
After reviewing takeover bids from other healthcare corporations, T2 last month chose to merge with Curaflex, HealthInfusion and Medisys, three home infusion firms that initially announced a three-way, $217 million merger in December.
"Contrary to what's been reported, two companies did make firm offers to buy T2," Mr. Sweeney said. However, the company rejected the offers because it believed it could find a more lucrative agreement that would satisfy its share holders.
He declined to reveal the names of the two companies that bid for T2, citing a confidentiality agreement made after the deal was called off.
Although some analysts questioned whether the new company will be able to successfully operate after inheriting T2's negative history, Mr. Sweeney said the move will enable Coram to capitalize on T2's best assets-including its physician network-without bringing in its controversial physician ownership arrangements.
As it stands, 90% of Coram's revenues comes from its core business, while the remaining 10% comes from T2's partnerships with physicians, Mr. Sweeney said. However, the company intends to buy back the remaining partnerships, eliminating the negative baggage and federal investigations that coincided with T2's highly profitable, yet controversial business dealings.
Mr. Sweeney said he expects both the Securities and Exchange Commission and HHS investigations of T2 to be completed within the next few months. He also said he expects T2's Mr. Carter to remain with the company on a long-term basis, assisting in development of a new network with the 3,000 physicians now affiliated with the company.
"Tommy Carter is a responsible, highly regarded member in the physician community," Mr. Sweeney said. "He is completely untainted by (T2's past problems) and will play an important role in the company's future."
With home infusion as its foundation, Coram will look to expand into other areas within outpatient care, such as subacute care and rehabilitation, he said. Mr. Sweeney also plans to develop regional alliances with hospitals and hospital corporations and other healthcare providers.
Coram also plans to grow through acquisition, although he declined to elaborate on which companies would interest the home infusion giant.