McKesson at HIMSS

CHICAGO—It had to be awkward for Sunny Sanwal, chief operating officer for McKesson Provider Technologies‘ North American operations. He had to speak today at the company’s annual medial lunch event at HIMSS, just days after his boss, Pam Pure, was sacked.

Indeed, the talk I’m hearing at HIMSS is that Pure was fired because the IT division wasn’t meeting its sales targets, even though it makes up only about 3 percent of the healthcare giant’s overall business. If you were wondering about the timing, a few days before the health IT industry’s biggest event of the year, it makes more sense when you know that Pure left one day before the end of McKesson’s fiscal year on March 31.

As for Sanyal, he went over the company’s business strategy and how McKesson expects to help its customers capture some of the stimulus money, but one thing jumped out at me. In an apparent attempt to reassure investors—even though there didn’t seem to be any financial analysts present—Sanyal mentioned that McKesson makes a considerable amount of money from technology services, including maintenance of installed systems.

If I were a prospective customer, I’d be worried if the vendor started talking about high maintenance costs.