Ability Network’s Buying Spree

Latest deal marks 4th acquisition in 18 months.
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Minneapolis-based health information technology company Ability Network acquired Tulsa, Oklahoma-based G4 Health Systems Inc., which makes software that improves health care billing and tracks analytics, at the end of February. The deal marked the fourth acquisition for Ability Network during the last 18 months as the company continues to grow and expand its services.
Ability Network, founded in 2000 as VisionShare Inc., has focused on processing Medicare payments for health care providers, primarily hospitals, home health care agencies and other acute care providers.
“We started as a very simple provider of a simple software tool: connecting providers across the continuum to Medicare,” said Kathy Zirker-Smith, Ability’s executive vice president for strategic initiatives. “Our strategy has been to continue to expand the scope of services that we bring to our payers and providers.”
Before the G4 Health Systems acquisition, Ability Network has acquired three other companies since late 2014:

  • In December, Ability Network acquired the OCS HomeCare division of the National Research Corporation, a maker of analytics software. Most of the employees in that group are in the Seattle area.
  • In April 2015, Ability Network acquired the Dallas-based System Designs Inc. and its sister company, MedLink Technologies Inc. System Designs is the developer of PC-ACE Pro32, a claims processing system.
  • In November 2014, the company completed the acquisition of the Parsippany, New Jersey-based MD On-line Inc., expanding Ability’s reach to ambulatory care providers such as clinics.

The privately held Ability Network has not disclosed the price for any of the acquisitions. 
“Most of them tend to be pretty small,” said Zirker-Smith of the transactions. “We can take small software tools and analytics and bring them onto this large Ability platform.”
At the end of February, Ability Network had 358 employees and 124 contract workers. The company’s employee count has nearly doubled since the end of 2013 when it had 188 employees. According to spokeswoman Audrey Anderson, the company is expecting to have 475 employees (not counting contractors) by the end of 2016.
On Tuesday the company’s web site listed 66 current job openings, primarily in its Minneapolis, Tampa and Boston offices. TCB took an in-depth look at Ability Network in May 2014.
In September, Ability Network completed its expansion at its downtown Minneapolis headquarters, adding an additional 8,500 square feet of space. The company now leases 87,000 square feet at Butler Square. The company also expanded its Tampa office during 2015; Tampa is Ability Network’s second-largest location outside of Minneapolis.
Ability Network CEO Mark Briggs, who led the company for 5 years of strong growth, retired in August 2015. The company tapped board chairman Mark Pulido as its new CEO.
Looking ahead, more deals are likely in Ability Network’s future.
“There are a still a lot of inefficiencies in health care,” said Zirker-Smith.  “So we see that there are continued opportunities ahead of us.”