Practice Management Companies Look to ACOs for Growth
Practice Management Companies Look to ACOs for GrowthÂ
Physician practice management companies are forging ahead with expansion plans into new areas of hospital-based medicine as they position themselves to participate in accountable care organizations and other aspects of health system reform, reports Victoria Stagg Elliott at American Medical News.
The companies are not buying primary care and other outpatient practices right now, although they are expanding into areas of hospital-based medicine that have not traditionally been their focus. This is in part to improve their ability to reduce readmissions and receive bonuses for improving quality and decreasing costs within an accountable care organization.
For example, Mednax, which has long bought up neonatology and anesthesia medical groups, purchased 10 practices in 2011 and 14 in 2010. In 2011, it expanded into pediatric surgery.
Although Mednax bought fewer acquisitions, the totals don’t reflect the company actually stepping down its pace. The firm is focused on purchasing more anesthesia groups through its American Anesthesiology division, because company officials estimate that nearly a quarter of neonatologists in the country already are affiliated through its Pediatrix Medical Group. Anesthesia groups tend to be larger than those providing care for hospitalized infants and children, which means any merger or acquisition may take more time.
Other large practice management companies also acquired a significant number of practices in 2011 and said the pace would hold steady in 2012.