An Atlanta-based financial and healthcare transaction processor has racked up more than half a billion dollars worth of acquisitions during the past 18 months in a bid to become an electronic-commerce powerhouse.
National Data Corp.'s latest acquisition, Physician Support Systems of Mount Joy, Pa., continues a push into healthcare that started with pharmacy management and has expanded into electronic claims transactions for pharmacies, physicians and hospitals.
Physician Support Systems manages cash and collections for physicians and hospitals in 29 states. National Data agreed earlier this month to acquire the provider of business management services in a stock deal valued at $176 million (Oct. 20, p. 16). The acquisition is expected to close in January.
Including the latest acquisition, National Data has acquired six healthcare-related companies with a combined value of $539 million since April 1996.
Healthcare accounted for about 40% of National Data's total $434 million in revenues for the fiscal year ended May 31. The company's healthcare percentage will rise to 60% with the addition of Physician Support Systems and the pending acquisitions of two database information management businesses that were announced in August.
Steve Stevenson, National Data's chief financial officer, said the company is positioning itself to manage all aspects of electronic business, not just the electronic transactions, for a spectrum of providers.
The Physician Support Systems deal gets the company into the claims management business, bringing it into competition with Medaphis, an Atlanta neighbor.
The company's other business is financial transaction processing, including Visa and MasterCard credit transactions.
Competitors in that area, such as First Data Corp. and Equifax, once also inhabited the healthcare information systems and services area but have sold their interests in recent years (June 2, p. 17). National Data has taken the opposite approach.
Robert Yellowlees, the company's chairman and chief executive officer, said the addition of Physician Support Systems "plays to our long suit: the sophisticated use of information to manage financial transactions, conversion of paper to electronic pulse, and effective management of financial and payment processes."