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The work comp service market’s response to consolidation

With OneCall getting ever larger, KKR buying TPAs and tech companies, EXAM Works’ consolidation of the IME business all but complete, and the private equity world’s seemingly insatiable appetite for work comp services assets, the continued consolidation of the work comp services business seems to be inevitable.

Perhaps.  But there’s another side to this big-getting-bigger story; there is a new crop of innovators beginning to emerge, one led by “cast off” execs from the “consolidated”, former business owners whose non-competes have expired, and newbies with great energy and a desire to do it better.

Ascential Care Partners is a relatively new regional company in the not-glamorous case management business.  Founder Cindy Whitehouse is one of the most delightful people I’ve met in the business; her passion, dedication, and desire to deliver the best possible service is beyond impressive.

curavita focuses on providing DME and related services for complex and cat cases; those really difficult, knotty situations where integrating all aspects of care is absolutely critical as is communicating with adjusters, family, and caregivers. Strong in technology and reporting, curavita was founded by long-time industry entrepreneurs (and good friends) Hank and Lisa Datelle and Mike Marsau. (I have a tiny stake in the company).

HomeCareConnect has a slightly different business model; they are a supplier of broad DME, soft goods, and home health care services – and only those services – and have a strong clinical orientation. 

LifeTEAM Health is also narrowly focused; They do “disability prevention” based on identifying and addressing psychosocial risk factors  – perhaps THE key factor in long-term, seemingly-intractable disability.  With providers around the country, they can and do bring a much-needed service to an industry that has yet to fully appreciate the importance of psychosocial issues.

What’s the common thread here?  It’s hard to discern, but there is one.

Case management is old as the hills; integrated complex case services with real-time reporting is cutting-edige ; DME/HHC with a clinical orientation is a different take on a common issue; psychological services are woefully underused in work comp.

But all are narrowly-focused companies working on knotty problems using unique (if not immediately apparent) approaches.

What does this mean for you?

Innovators take advantage of niches and their mega-competitors’ focus on “other” issues to solve tough problems.  You may well find they can help with yours.



2 thoughts on “The work comp service market’s response to consolidation”

  1. Are you familiar with Russell RA, founded by Dan Moore? We have carved out a nice niche, including partnering with large WC entities like QBE, MCMC, and Accident Fund? Just curious if you have heard if us.

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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