John P. Grotelaars, President and CEO
Steven J. Strobel, Sr. VP and CFO
Francisco Canal, Sr. VP and President, Surgical Solutions
Paul Johnson, Sr. VP and President, Patient Support Systems
Alton Shader, Sr. VP and President, Front Line Care
Kevin McCulloch, Sr. VP and President, Global Solutions
Brian Lawrence, Sr. VP, Innovation and Connectivity and Chief Technology Officer
NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 10,000
GLOBAL HEADQUARTERS: Chicago, Ill.
After eight years of leading Hill-Rom, John J. Greisch had quite a bit to be proud of.
Greisch took the reins of the hospital bed and surgical product maker in January 2010, having previously worked seven years at Baxter International. During that tenure, he served as president of the company’s BioScience division (which has since spun off into Baxalta), chief financial officer, and president of international operations.
“This is an exciting opportunity for me,” Greisch commented at the time of his appointment as Hill-Rom president and CEO. “Hill-Rom has a great brand and strong market positions and I am proud to have the opportunity to lead the company to the next level of success. With the company’s diverse product portfolio and focus on innovation, I am confident that we can continue to bring market-leading solutions to patients and caregivers around the world and across the care continuum.”
Under Greisch, the company completed seven acquisitions from 2013 to 2018, most notably June 2015’s landmark $2 billion purchase of Welch Allyn, a manufacturer of diagnostic devices, patient monitoring systems, and miniature lamps. Touting a portfolio of equipment that lets physicians conduct diagnostic tests in point-of-care settings like hospital beds and emergency rooms, Welch Allyn was an excellent strategic fit to join Hill-Rom. It expanded the company’s reach into post-acute care settings like home health and long-term care centers.
“As one company, we will have the infrastructure, capabilities, and innovative product portfolio to faster pursue a differentiated business model that meets the evolving needs of patients and customers and delivers superior healthcare outcomes across multiple care settings,” Greisch declared in announcing the transaction. “We believe this combination, which will be accretive to Hill-Rom’s adjusted gross and EBITDA margins, will also result in an enhanced financial profile, creating the opportunity for accelerated growth.”
Three years later, almost exactly eight years after taking the Hill-Rom helm, Greisch announced his retirement. “It has been an honor to lead this great company over the last eight years,” he proclaimed. “I am extremely proud of the value we have created together for patients, customers, and shareholders.”
In fact, the value Greisch and company created was strong enough to ensure Hill-Rom’s debut in the Top 30 this year. The firm’s qualifying $2.7 billion sales in fiscal year 2017 (ended Sept. 30) was a modest 4 percent boost from the year prior. Domestic revenue matched the 4 percent boost, growing to $1.9 billion, and sales outside the United States contributed $849 million, a 3 percent rise from the prior year. For those unfamiliar with Hill-Rom’s structure, the company is divided into three business units: patient support systems, front line care, and surgical solutions.
ANALYST INSIGHTS: Traditionally, a hospital infrastructure company (i.e., beds, etc.), Hill-Rom has been aggressive in the past few years in acquisitions in both the Cardiology (Mortara) and Patient Monitoring Segments (Welch Allyn). They seem leveraged so watch for focus on execution and possibly bolt-on acquisitions as they pay down their debt.
—Dave Sheppard, Co-Founder and Principal, MedWorld Advisors
Hill-Rom’s patient support systems business provides specialty bed frames and surfaces and mobility solutions, as well as clinical workflow solutions, which specialize in software and information technologies to improve care and deliver actionable insight to caregivers and patients. On the whole, the segment’s revenue sunk a slight 1 percent due to shedding certain business segments within the division.
Hill-Rom divested its Völker business, which served the European long-term care bed market, to a CoBe capital affiliate toward the end of fiscal 2017. Völker was acquired by Hill-Rom in 2012, and achieved $40 million in sales in 2016. The company also completed the sale of the non-core asset Architectural Products division, as well as WatchChild, a fetal monitoring system, to perinatal software company PeriGen. Together, the three divested entities garnered 2016 revenue of $75 million.
However, when excluding the divestiture, patient support systems sales elevated slightly, rising 3 percent. The division was further fortified by the release of two hospital bed systems last May.
The Hill-Rom 900 Accella bed system was globally launched first, designed for higher acuity patients in intensive and acute care settings. To help caregivers more easily prevent fall incidents, Accella features a three-mode bed exit alarm, intelligent night light, brake-off indicator, low-height indicator, head-of-bed angle alert to ensure proper head elevation, and SlideGuard technology that a Hill-Rom study determined cuts the chance of patient migration in half.
The Hill-Rom Envella Air Fluidized Therapy bed for patients was introduced a few days later at the 2017 Wound Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society Annual Conference. To allow an ideal healing environment for the prevention and treatment of advanced pressure injuries, Envella touts increased bead depth, adjustable air flow and sensing technologies, advanced weight-based pressure distribution, and an integrated scale. These features all work to maximize immersion and envelopment, minimize shear and pressure, and effectively regulate the skin’s microclimate.
The company’s front line care segment provides respiratory care products, and sells medical diagnostic monitoring equipment and a diversified portfolio of physical assessment tools that assess, diagnose, treat, and manage a wide variety of illnesses and diseases. Front line care’s revenue rose a respectable 9 percent over the previous year. This division includes the suite of products and services inherited from Welch Allyn, whose Europe and Asia Pacific businesses were the primary source of the segment’s growth.
The Hill-Rom subsidiary entered the connected home monitoring market in November 2016 by introducing the Welch Allyn Home Hypertension Program. The program allows patients to sync the Welch Allyn Home Blood Pressure Monitor to a smartphone in order to engage in progress toward healthy blood pressure goals. The data is transmitted to practitioners for free via the Clinical Portal so they can gain visibility into patient compliance against treatment recommendations. Last May, Hill-Rom also broke ground on a new 100,000-square-foot addition to its Skaneateles Falls, N.Y., Welch Allyn campus. The expansion is expected to usher in 100 new jobs, a large portion of which will be R&D and engineering roles.
The company further augmented its front line care offerings last February and increased revenue by acquiring non-invasive diagnostic cardiology technology provider Mortara Instrument for $330 million. The purchase added Mortara’s electrocardiography, cardiac stress exercise, Holter monitoring, ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, and multi-parameter patient monitoring devices to the company’s portfolio. Based in Milwaukee, Wis., with offices in Australia, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and the U.K., Mortara has over 400 employees globally and generated approximately $115 million in revenue in 2016. The transaction brought together Welch Allyn’s primary-care diagnostic cardiology offering with Mortara Instrument’s strength in acute care.
Last April, Hill-Rom achieved FDA clearance for the Monarch Airway clearance system, a mobile device that offers high frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) therapy in a mobile vest with a customizable, personalized fit. The Monarch system employs Pulmonary Oscillating Discs that provide targeted kinetic energy and HFCWO to the lungs to thin mucus and generate airflow. It was also the first HFCWO device that permitted patients to move freely while using it.
Hill-Rom’s surgical solutions business provides products that improve surgical safety and efficiency in the operating room including tables, lights, pendants, positioning devices, and various other surgical products and accessories. Thanks to double-digit growth in the division’s surgical equipment and patient positioning businesses—driven by 2016’s release of Integrated Table Motion for Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci Xi Surgical System and Welch Allyn RetinaVue 100 Imager for diabetic retinopathy, as well as new product growth—2017 revenue rose a moderate 6.4 percent as compared to the previous year.
Last January, the surgical solutions business added the TruSystem 3000 Mobile Operating Table to its arsenal. The table is universal and suitable for many surgical disciplines, and can be customized for those procedures thanks to a broad range of patient positioning components and accessories. The head sections, leg sections, arm supports, and anesthesia frames are easy to attach and dismantle through a coupling system. A backlit display of TruSystem 3000’s remote control also enhances ease of use and safety in low-light operating room environments.
Last July, Hill-Rom’s surgical solutions division released a new line of safety surgical instruments, including the Bard Parker SafeSwitch Disposable Scalpel Handle and Scalpel Handle Cover and the Bard Parker Blade Remover. With these instruments, surgeons can safely retract, pass and disarm surgical blades in one step, with one hand, helping to prevent sharps injuries. The Blade Remover also allows surgical team members to safely remove up to five contaminated blades per remover without the need to touch the blade. Both products drastically reduce the risk of injury when surgical teams pass instruments to each other.