According to sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Robert Bosch Healthcare Systems, Inc. laid off nearly all of its staff Monday morning, June 15, in preparation to exit the home telehealth market.
New sales of the company's Health Buddy home telehealth system were ceased immediately, as were shipments of orders already placed, including through its lucrative partnership with McKesson Extended Care Solutions.
Due to contractual obligations, Bosch will continue to ship existing orders to the Veterans Health Administration but will not accept new VHA orders. It will continue to support VHA customers through April, 2016.
Non-VHA Bosch customers should expect to see product support end when Health Buddy servers are turned off in 60 to 90 days.
Sans explanation, guesses abound
Our sources, which include former Bosch employees, are speculating that the decision to leave the home telehealth market came after Bosch failed to convince a patent appeals board that Cardiocom, a division of Medtronic Inc., had infringed on its product design. (See related story in this week's issue.) There are also unconfirmed reports that recent sales revenue has been running at approximately one-third of its high-point three years ago.
With the German-owned company closing its home telehealth division, the VHA is left with only one approved telehealth contractor, Cardiocom. The VHA does not have a current RFP in place to solicit a replacement for Bosch and was not scheduled to release one until later this year. It is expected that the effort to complete and release an RFP will be accelerated.
Calls to Bosch's Palo Alto headquarters on Wednesday were answered by an auto-attendant. Pressing buttons for various departments resulted in an endless loop back to the same greeting recording, with no option to leave a voice message. A request for comment from Cardiocom was referred to the company's legal department, which did not respond by press time, though we expect to speak with a representative in time for our next issue.
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