Feb 24, 2017

The health care consulting economy has hit a rough patch

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Health care consulting has been a lucrative business over the past few years, thanks in large part to the Affordable Care Act and other broader changes to the industry. But it's been a little more mixed as of late, with some large firms running into trouble because of the uncertainty over Obamacare repeal.

Read on for the status of a few large health care consulting firms.

  • The Advisory Board Company: Not good. Activist investor Paul Singer's hedge fund bought a large stake in the company, which has laid off 220 people and is now looking to sell. CEO Robert Musslewhite said in November that many health systems froze consulting budgets and were in "more of a wait-and-see mode."
  • Huron Consulting Group: Not good. Huron's health care revenue dropped 14% in 2016, and segment profit plunged 40%. CEO Jim Roth attributed the decline in part to the "uncertainty around the Affordable Care Act" as well as fewer contracts that manage hospitals' medical billing issues with health insurers and patients.
  • Navigant: Good. Navigant's health care consulting revenue and operating profit were each up more than 22% in 2016. The firm has nabbed a lot of the business that its competitors may have lost.

Keep in mind, there are hundreds of other smaller, niche health care consulting firms. Those that help companies understand government programs, namely Medicare and Medicaid, have been thriving more compared to others.

What to look for: Hospitals, doctors and other health care companies may have tapped the brakes on consulting expenses in an election year. But spending could just as easily ramp back up, since they will have to prepare for any Republican Obamacare replacement and comply with Medicare's new complex payment law known as MACRA.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 905,279 — Total deaths: 45,371 — Total recoveries: 190,710Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 199,092 — Total deaths: 4,361 — Total recoveries: 8,362Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Vice President Mike Pence said that White House modeling suggests "Italy may be the most comparable area to the United States" in terms of coronavirus impact.
  4. State updates: Florida and Pennsylvania are the latest to issue stay-at-home orders, totaling 34 states and Washington, D.C.
  5. 2020 update: West Virginia is latest state to delay its primary — Bernie Sanders urged Wisconsin to delay April 7 primary.
  6.  🎧 Podcast: The Defense Production Act
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

West Virginia is latest state to delay primary due to coronavirus

Photo: Barbara Davidson/Getty Images

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice rescheduled the state's May 12 primary election to June 9 on Wednesday, citing fears surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, AP reports.

Why it matters: 23 other states and the District of Columbia haven't held primaries yet. The White House is recommending, for now, that Americans practice social distancing and gather in groups of no more than 10 people — while many states have issued stay-at-home orders.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Florida governor issues stay-at-home order

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered a statewide stay-at-home order on Wednesday after the number of coronavirus cases in the state rose to nearly 7,000.

Why it matters: DeSantis has been criticized for declining to order any statewide mandates to curb the spread of coronavirus as Florida — home to a significant elderly population — has increasingly become a hotspot. The order will go into effect Thursday at midnight and last for 30 days.