AICC Member Hatch Medical Expands Presence in Israeli Medical Device Market

June 2, 2011

Hatch Medical, L.L.C., a medical device incubator and technology brokerage firm, announced today expansion of its activities in the Israeli medical device industry. In an effort to offer its unique incubator model to Israeli medical device entrepreneurs and its brokerage services to established companies, Hatch Medical has partnered with Aaron Feldman, an Israel-based medical device executive.

Paul Gianneschi, Managing Principal at Hatch Medical commented, “Israel is recognized as a leader in life science innovation and we are excited to be working with Aaron in identifying cutting-edge medical device technologies for commercialization. Having a local presence in the Israeli market is expected to provide us with access to promising early-stage technologies and will allow us to effectively source innovative technologies and devices for our U.S. and European clients.”

According to Feldman, the response to Hatch Medical among Israeli companies has been enthusiastic. “Being itself a nimble, entrepreneurial-minded firm, Hatch Medical is uniquely in tune with the mindset and particular needs of the typical Israeli R&D company,” stated Feldman. The collaboration has already resulted in a consulting project, with discussions currently underway with a number of companies for business development projects.

For additional information on this, or on Hatch Medical, L.L.C., e-mail the company at info@hatchmedical.com, or call 770-476-9940. This release and additional news about Hatch Medical can be obtained by visiting the company’s web site at: http://www.hatchmedical.com.


U.S. and Israeli Companies to Explore Health IT Partnerships

March 28, 2011
U.S. and Israeli Companies to Explore Health IT Partnerships at Atlanta Business Exchange 

American-Israel Chamber of Commerce pre-qualifies companies to participate in one-on-one meetings

ATLANTA, March 14, 2011 — Georgia ranks No.1 in the U.S. in health-care IT industry revenue, generating $4 billion in revenue last year. As the country’s hub for health IT, it’s little wonder that leading U.S. and Israel-based health IT companies are convening in Atlanta on April 11-12 to explore partnerships that could lead to improved and more innovative health solutions. The U.S.-Israel Healthcare IT Business Exchange, sponsored by the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC), provides major U.S. stakeholders in health IT with access and introductions to the leading Israeli technology companies in this sector. This year’s event takes place at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute.

The goal of the Business Exchange is to foster joint venture research and development, investment and marketing alliances between the U.S. and Israeli companies. Toward that end, the AICC pre-qualifies companies to participate in one-on-one meetings, pairing them based on common goals and complementary technologies.

“The AICC Medical Committee’s healthcare IT experts have worked to identify cutting-edge Israeli companies whose products and services are built for tomorrow’s health IT landscape,” said Dr. Mark Braunstein, associate director of Georgia Tech’s Health Systems Institute. He was co-founder of PROHECA, an early developer of clinical pharmacy systems that was the forerunner of NDCHealth, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Patient Care Technologies, Inc., and a past chairman of the AICC.

“As this new era of healthcare computing unfolds, this unique Health IT Business Exchange will offer U.S. corporations the opportunity to engage with these Israeli companies in an effort to foster business relationships and meet the growing needs of the marketplace,” Braunstein added.

Atlanta, epicenter of U.S. Healthcare IT

The selection of Atlanta as the location for the Exchange was strategic. With more than 100 established healthcare IT companies headquartered in Georgia, many in the metro area, Atlanta is considered the epicenter of healthcare IT in the U.S.

With Federal stimulus funding driving technology adoption, U.S. healthcare companies are more engaged than ever before in developing new IT practices. Israel, however, has been at the forefront of new healthcare technologies for many years and boasts a nationwide electronic healthcare records adoption rate of more than 90 percent.

This year’s Exchange is the fourth time the AICC has focused on HIT; the first event was held in 1994. McKesson, a leading healthcare services and information technology company with offices in Atlanta and a sponsor of this year’s Exchange, acquired Medcon, an Israeli company providing web-based cardiac image and information management, for $105 million in 2005. The relationship between the two companies originated through an AICC introduction.

“The Business Exchange allows us to have very focused discussions with interesting technology companies,” said Randy Hyun, senior vice president, strategy and business development, McKesson Corporation. “At McKesson, we are always interested in learning more about unique solutions that can add value to our healthcare provider customer base. In general, we find that many Israeli companies are on the cutting edge of healthcare technologies and solutions.”

Israeli Success in Atlanta

Other Israeli technology companies have also found enduring success in Atlanta. Given Imaging, (NASDAQ: GIVN), a world leader in specialty GI products and the pioneer of capsule endoscopy,
is based in Yokneam, Israel and chose Atlanta for its North American headquarters in 2001.

“Atlanta is an ideal location for Israeli companies to expand their North American footprint,” said Skip Baldino, president – Americas, Given Imaging, Inc. “Atlanta offers close proximity to world renowned universities, a large trained workforce, many of the leading U.S. medical centers and facilities and a business community that is very supportive of Israeli companies. I encourage both U.S. and Israeli companies to participate in this year’s Healthcare IT Business Exchange.”

Kobi Margolin, co-chair of the event, seconds that remark. Currently CEO of an Atlanta-based health IT company, Clinigence, Margolin originally came to Atlanta several years ago to run the U.S. operations of an Israeli company, Algotec that was eventually acquired by Kodak.

“My own experiences, first at Algotec and now with Clinigence, emphasize Atlanta’s welcoming business environment and the wealth of healthcare IT opportunities that abound throughout the state and region,” Margolin said. “The Business Exchange is our way of paying it forward to the U.S. market. Israeli companies have so much to share with their American counterparts in terms of unique technology and innovative solutions to healthcare’s most pressing challenges.”

Assa Reichert, who serves as the Israel chair of the event, observed, “The Business Exchange brings together the best of Israel innovation with the firepower of America’s most respected healthcare IT companies and users. The result is an unprecedented opportunity for participating companies from both countries to forge dynamic partnerships that have the potential for changing the healthcare IT landscape.” Reichert is executive vice president at HealSis Ltd., an Israeli healthcare consultancy.

For more information about the 2011 U.S.-Israel Health IT Business Exchange and to apply to participate, visit the event’s website at www.usisraelexchange.com .

About the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce

The American-Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC) is a bi-national business association with the mission of increasing economic development by fostering understanding, cooperation and business relationships between Israel and the Southeast. Since its founding in 1993, AICC has been involved in completed transactions valued at more than $950 million, creating jobs and benefiting the economies of both Israel and the Southeast. AICC targets a range of projects involving import, export, research and development, direct investment and joint ventures. Key areas of focus include software, telecommunications and energy.

###

Contact:
Katie Brazel
Fleishman-Hillard
404-739-0150


AICC Member Vicki Grodner featured in The Birmingham News

February 16, 2011

Vikki Grodner of The Grodner Group organizes and promotes events. ( Beverly Taylor/The Birmingham News )

 

An American-Israel Chamber of Commerce member since 2010, Vicki Grodner founded The Grodner Group which specializes in promoting and planning events for nonprofits, small businesses, law firms and politicians.

To read more about Vicki and events such as “Little Red Dress” – which featured free heart health risk assessments from the American Heart Association, advice from cardiologists and information from Birmingham dentist Evelyn Teague on the connection between heart and dental health – click here.


The Future of Payments – Dec, 9th, 2010 -Videos & Pictures

December 11, 2010

Click here for more pictures from the event

Watch the Videos

The Future of Payments – Panel Discussion

WorkLight Prsentation

Orbograph Presentation

SeerGate Presentation


Guest Post: Fundamental Differences Between Israel Law and Georgia Law as Related to Real Estate Transactions

September 3, 2010

By Shelly Rabinovitch, Foreign Lawyer at Arnall Golden Gregory
Licensed in Israel Only

In America, signing the purchase and sale agreement in a real estate transaction is only one step in the process. But in Israel, that represents the final step.

In America, prospective purchasers enjoy an “inspection period” before the deal is complete. But in Israel, no such inspection period is required. Instead, a prospective purchaser signs a purchase and sale agreement, which contractually constitutes the completion of the transaction.

Other significant differences between the two nations have to do with clearing the title and paying taxes.
Knowing how U.S. and Israeli real estate law compare is crucially important to Israeli investors interested in U.S. properties. Committing to a deal, then suffering an unpleasant legal surprise, is something any investor wants to avoid.

The issue is particularly important now because of strong foreign investment interest in the U.S. More than 50 percent of respondents to the annual survey by AFIRE, the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate, said the U.S. provides the best opportunity for capital appreciation. That far outpaces the second and third finishers: the United Kingdom at 30 percent and China at 10 percent. Not since 2003 have 51 percent of AFIRE’s nearly 200 members ranked the U.S. No. 1.

Two-thirds of AFIRE respondents also said they planned to increase their investment in the U.S. this year compared to 2009. And 44 percent rated the U.S. the “most stable and secure real estate investment environment,” well ahead of Germany at 21 percent and Canada at 14 percent.

So it stands to reason that investors in Israel, like their counterparts around the globe, are keenly interested in increasing their U.S. property holdings. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the key areas where the two countries’ real estate laws differ.

When a purchase and sale agreement is signed in accordance with Israeli law, it is a “done” deal, as this is when the closing occurs. The buyer pays the first installment of the purchase price. That money is held in escrow by an attorney until a warning note, or notice of a pending deal, is registered under the seller’s name in the Land Registration Office, and the parties sign all the necessary paperwork to report the transaction to the tax authorities.

The deal is complete contractually because there is no subsequent inspection period or opt-out period. When a transaction is registered by the Land Registration Office, it is considered done, according to the Israeli Land Law.
In the U.S., however, an inspection period follows the signing of the purchase and sale agreement. The purchaser can inspect, review, consider and approve or disapprove, at the purchaser’s sole discretion, all economic, physical, legal, environmental and other aspects of the property.

At the end of this period, the purchaser may elect to terminate the agreement for any reason or no reason. If that happens, the earnest money paid by the purchaser is normally returned with any accumulated interest.

Similarly, in Israel, prior to the purchase and sale agreement, the parties sign a “term sheet,” which is a primary contract that includes only the main terms of the transaction, such as price, dates, payment schedule, etc. The term sheet is a binding primary agreement and not an agreement that is followed by an inspection period. After an agreed upon period, the final purchase and sale agreement is signed.

In the U.S., if the purchase and sale agreement is not terminated, then a date is set for a closing, at which time the purchaser transfers money to the seller and the transaction, for the most part, is complete. Sometimes a title agent is involved who disburses the funds and records the deeds in the county where the real estate is located.

With respect to title issues, the custom in Israel is that the attorney who represents the purchaser checks title issues for the client. Most real property in Israel is registered at the Land Registration Office, where block and lot numbers, applicable liens, mortgages and easements are all recorded. The purchaser’s attorney is responsible for checking records and making sure there are no contradictory rights.

In the U.S., title insurance companies check the title and the purchaser pays a title insurance fee that provides protection in the event there is something wrong with the title; for example, someone else is claiming ownership or a third party is claiming to have a lien on the property.

If a situation like that occurs in Israel (except in the event of fraud), the purchaser’s attorney can be charged with malpractice, and the parties might find themselves in court trying to prove their rights. A purchaser in the U.S. would look to the title insurance company for recourse and compensation.

Taxing real estate transactions differs substantially in the U.S. and Israel. In Israel, attorneys submit forms that include the purchase price and the details of the transaction. Based on this information, the purchaser pays a purchase tax, which is a percentage of the purchase price, and the seller pays a sales tax (except in special circumstances). The confirmation from the taxing authority that all taxes have been paid is a condition for registering the transaction in the Land Registration Office.
In the U.S., some states charge a transfer tax, which is not a property tax but an excise tax on the privilege of selling property. The security deed cannot be recorded until the transfer tax is paid. Although customarily paid by the seller, either the buyer or the seller may pay the tax as set forth in the agreement. There is also an intangible recording tax on each long-term note secured by real estate. And each state charges a tax, which varies from state to state.

In addition, real estate transactions are subject to capital gains taxes in both countries; but in Israel it is called a betterment tax (for real estate only). The betterment tax rate can be as high as 50 percent; if the property is residential, however, it could be exempt. The tax is paid on the increment between the sale and purchase prices of the property, adjusted to the Israel CPI.
In both countries there are various exceptions to the capital gains tax. Generally, the rate in the U.S. is 15 percent, but President Barack Obama proposes increasing that rate in 2011.

To qualify for the U.S. capital gains tax rate, one needs to hold the property for a lengthy period of time, otherwise the Internal Revenue Service might characterize the income as ordinary income, which is taxed at a higher rate. Israel and the U.S. have a tax treaty, so any capital gains taxes paid in the U.S. by Israeli citizens are deductible in Israel.

Understanding all the ins and outs of a real estate deal in one’s own country is hard enough. But understanding another country’s laws is even harder. So one of the first decisions any Israeli investor should make before investing in U.S. properties is choosing knowledgeable U.S. counsel.

Shelly Rabinovitch, a foreign lawyer licensed to practice in Israel, is a member of the Real Estate Practice Group and Commercial Real Estate / Leasing Practice Team at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP in Atlanta, Georgia.


AICC Member CardioMEMS Featured on ABC News

July 12, 2010

CardioMEMS is a medical device company that has developed and is commercializing a proprietary wireless sensing and communication technology for the human body. The company participated in AICC’s US-Israel Telehealth Business Exchange and has been a member ever since. Ralph Jordan, the company’s Vice President of Business Development is on AICC’s Board of Directors.

The company was recently featured on ABC News.


Why Israel for Healthcare IT? – Dr. Yitzhak Peterburg (Video)

July 5, 2010

Former director general of Israel’s Clalit Health Services and Milken Institute Senior Visiting Fellow Dr. Yitzhak Peterburg proposed at the US-Israel Healthcare IT Business Exchange in Atlanta (June 8, 2010) that Israeli companies have much to give – and much to gain – by providing their expertise and technologies to the U.S. market.”

Watch Dr. Peterburg’s presentation – http://vimeo.com/13079240


Guest Post: Israel Models Healthcare IT and Lessons on System Reform at AICC Business Exchange

June 21, 2010

By Julie Zier

Look behind the receptionist’s desk in most doctors’ offices and you will see shelves crammed with manila file folders. Brightly-colored labels dot the edges. Papers of every size and shape jut out from the sides, threatening to come loose from their bindings.

One of these folders holds your medical history. Well, part of it. The rest is scattered throughout similar manila folders in offices of every other doctor you’ve visited for any other condition throughout your life. These files don’t talk to each other; in fact, unless you disclose their existence to another practitioner, there is little chance your files will ever be opened outside of a scheduled office visit or an insurance query.

We rely on physicians to analyze our health issues using their experience and education. But they can’t make an accurate diagnosis or prescribe appropriate medications when they don’t have all the information, putting our safety at risk. Can you recount your entire medical history, from year to year, doctor to doctor? Can you remember the names and dosages of all the medications you’ve ever taken? Can you remember what you ate for breakfast this morning?

With technology so pervasive in our culture, it is surprising that we still have a paper-and-pen approach to health information. In countries like Israel, the United Kingdom, Sweden and the Netherlands, the conversion to electronic health records (EHR) is almost universal, with proven benefits. According to The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, only 28% of U.S. primary care physicians in 2009 were using EHR.

That’s changing – rapidly. The United States is moving forward with the large-scale digitization of its health care delivery system, a measure that could improve patient care and reduce costs, errors and administrative inefficiencies. EHR is only one component of a much broader reform. Spurred on by $19 billion in funding from the HITECH program of 2009’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and incentivized by early adoption, health care providers are heavily in the market for information technology systems.

Some of the most innovative products under development were on display recently at the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce Healthcare IT Business Exchange in Atlanta. Companies like dbMotion, whose platform promotes interoperability among discordant software systems;  HMU (Home Medicine USA), with scoring tools that measure small, accumulated changes in patients, enhancing treatment accuracy and reducing error rates; MedCPU, whose proprietary Medical Text Processor allows documentation of care in free-text narrative form; and Trig Medical, with systems that enable physicians to more safely plan and execute interventional ultrasound procedures in childbirth.

Speaking at the Exchange, former director general of Israel’s Clalit Health Services and Milken Institute Senior Visiting Fellow Dr. Yitzhak Peterburg proposed that Israeli companies have much to give – and much to gain – by providing their expertise and technologies to the U.S. market.

Read the Milken Institute Report

“The understanding that health IT requires more than just software and hardware, but involves organizational and cultural change, was essential to the successful implementation of these complex systems [in Israel] and generated unique knowledge on how to manage the change,” Dr. Peterburg said.

Transformation of our disheveled, expensive, overburdened health care system is long overdue. It will be costly, complex and controversial. A change of this magnitude requires not only financial and organizational resources, but an enormous shift in mentality. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We can learn best practices from countries like Israel, who have expertise developing the cutting-edge technologies we need, and first-hand experience implementing the extensive reform we want.

Julie Zier is a marketing strategy consultant specializing in health care. Her clients include Georgia Institute of Technology, Southface/Home Depot Foundation, Reed Elsevier and Morehouse College. She previously worked in sales for Forest Pharmaceuticals and Emeritus Senior Living.  Ms. Zier earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.


AICC Member Definition 6 Wins Top Honors at the 2010 CLIO Awards for Coca-Cola Video

June 6, 2010

Since January 12, 2010, hidden camera footage of smiling students getting more than they bargained for from a Coke vending machine has been viewed by more than 2.2 million people on YouTube. Last night, the Coca-Cola “Happiness Machine” was awarded CLIO’s prestigious Gold Interactive Award at the 51st annual awards dinner held in New York City. A CLIO award is one of the world’s most recognized industry accolades for advertising, design and communications.

Full Press Release


Guest Post: American Jobs Bill – Extended Energy Provisions

June 4, 2010

As a cleantech tax update FYI, the American Jobs bill that has been passed by the House contains the following extended energy provisions:

Extended Energy Provisions

Unless otherwise indicated, the bill would retroactively reinstate and extend for one year (that is, through 2010) all of the following energy tax breaks and would change the rules for the energy efficient appliance credit and the energy efficient windows credit, as noted below.

… The new energy efficient home credit. ( Code Sec. 45L(g))

… The $1.00 per gallon production tax credit for biodiesel, the small agri-biodiesel producer credit of 10¢ per gallon, and the $1.00 per gallon production tax credit for diesel fuel created from biomass. ( Code Sec. 40A )

… The alternative motor vehicle credit for so-called heavy hybrids (i.e., hybrid motor vehicles that are not passenger automobiles or light trucks). ( Code Sec. 30B(k) )

… The $0.50 per gallon alternative fuel tax credit for liquid fuels derived from biomass, compressed or liquefied biogas, natural gas and propane. The credit would not be extended for any liquid fuel derived from a pulp or paper manufacturing process. ( Code Sec. 6426 , Code Sec. 6427 )

… For sales before Jan. 1, 2011, the deferral over an eight-year period of gain on sales of transmission property by vertically integrated electric utilities to FERC-approved independent transmission companies. ( Code Sec. 451(i) )

… The $2.83 per barrel-of-oil equivalent tax credit for steel industry fuel (placed in service through 2010). In determining the credit amount, the credit period would be the first two years from the date that the facility is placed in service. Steel industry fuel is clarified as including fuel produced through a process of distributing liquefied coal waste sludge on a blend of coal and petroleum coke, or on other coke feedstock. ( Code Sec. 45 )

… The $3.36 credit per barrel-of-oil equivalent of coke or coke gas production tax credit (placed-in-service date through 2010). ( Code Sec. 45K(g)(1) )

… The credit period under the production tax credit for electricity produced at open-loop biomass facilities that were placed in service prior to Jan. 1, 2005 would be extended from five years to six years. In the sixth year, the credit would be reduced by 20%. ( Code Sec. 45(b)(4)(B) )

… For any tax year that includes the last day of calendar year 2009 or calendar year 2010, manufacturers of energy-efficient appliances could elect to receive a direct payment in lieu of the Code Sec. 45M energy-efficient appliance tax credit. The direct payment would be equal to 85% of the tax credit that would otherwise have been allowed. (Act Sec. 210)

… Exterior windows, doors, and skylights placed in service 90 days after the enactment date, would have to meet the recently updated Energy Star requirements to qualify for the Code Sec. 25C nonbusiness energy property credit. A transition rule would apply. ( Code Sec. 25C(c)(4) )

If you’re curious about the oil spill tax ramifications, it looks like there’s also some info about that:

… The oil spill tax would be increased from 8 cents per barrel to 34 cents per barrel through Dec. 31, 2020, the maximum amount that may be paid from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund with respect to any single incident would be increased from $1 billion to $5 billion, and the limit on natural resource damage assessments and claims in connection with any single incident would be increased from $500 million to $2.5 billion. The increase in financing rate would be effective beginning the first quarter that is more than 60 days after the enactment date. The increase in the limit on expenditures related to a single incident would be effective for expenses made after the enactment date, and the extension of the tax from Dec. 31, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2020 would be effective on the enactment date. ( Code Sec. 4611 , Code Sec. 9509 )

Feel free to let us know if you or anyone on your committee has any questions about these updates.

Sharon Kely
Habif, Arogeti & Wynne
Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 1000, Atlanta, Georgia 30328
Ph:  (770) 353-7157
sharon.kelly@hawcpa.com
visit us at http://www.hawcpa.com

Sharon Kelly



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