In the latest move by an insurer into the medical-care delivery business, Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania has agreed to purchase Premier Medical Associates, a Pittsburgh-based multispecialty physician group practice.
Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
The acquisition is part of Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania's strategy to develop integrated healthcare networks.
"It's one of a series of initiatives that we will announce in the weeks and months ahead to make certain that Western Pennsylvanians continue to have access to some of the best programs of health coverage in the nation," said William M. Lowry, the plan's president and chief executive officer.
Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia also has been active in building an integrated delivery network.
With 40 physicians in 11 specialities in 16 offices, Premier Medical Associates is Western Pennsylvania's largest group of multispecialty physicians. Many of the physicians already participate in Blue Cross' Keystone Health Plan HMO and SelectBlue, a point-of-service program.
Under the agreement, the group practice will become a management service organization operated by the Pittsburgh-based insurer, which has 2.6 million subscribers in 29 counties. The MSO will acquire all Premier's assets, and handle day-to-day operations and management.