Medlantic Healthcare Group has formed a joint venture with PhyMatrix Corp. to develop an oncology network in the Washington and Baltimore metropolitan areas.
It's an uncommon partnership between a hospital and a physician management company.
The network, with a proposed name of OncoPlex, will include 10 hospitals, as many as 50 physicians, and six radiation therapy facilities owned by PhyMatrix, said Lawrence Lessin, M.D., medical director of the Washington Cancer Institute.
The institute is part of Medlantic's Washington Hospital Center, which will be the network's tertiary hub. Other likely participants include five Baltimore-area hospitals owned by Lutherville, Md.-based Helix Health System, which has an alliance with Washington-based Medlantic.
Medlantic, a not-for-profit system, needed a partner because physicians were suspicious of joining a network run by a hospital, Lessin said.
"They didn't want the pressure to admit to one hospital or another," he said. "By bringing in a more neutral partner, we overcame this particular concern."
Medlantic talked to several companies that manage oncology networks, including Houston-based American Oncology Resources and Dallas-based Physician Reliance Network, and found only PhyMatrix would partner with a hospital, Lessin said.
PhyMatrix, based in West Palm Beach, Fla., also brings capital to the table. It will provide initial funds for staff, information systems and other expenses, said Robert Miller, the company's executive vice president of development. Miller said he didn't know what the company will spend.
PhyMatrix, formerly called Continuum Care Corp., went public in October 1995.
PhyMatrix and Medlantic will be equal partners, although some physicians also may obtain equity, Miller said.
Lessin said the network should be operational in September.