Physician group acquisitions continue at a steady clip despite pullbacks by major players, such as MedPartners, FPA Medical Management and PhyMatrix.
The vacuum has been filled by more conservative players, such as PhyCor, ProMedCo Management and Sheridan Healthcare, which are snapping up practices at relative bargains.
So far this year, Nashville-based PhyCor has announced affiliations with 470 physicians, compared with 644 in all of 1997. That doesn't include a growing number of independent practice association deals.
Additionally, PhyCor President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Hutts told MODERN HEALTHCARE that he hopes to announce by year-end the company's first 50-50 joint venture with a hospital. Hutts estimated multispecialty practice prices have dropped 25% this year.
Hollywood, Fla.-based Sheridan acquired nine practices with a total of 32 physicians in the first nine months of 1998, compared with six practices involving 16 physicians last year. "When prices are down, you tend to find things that are affordable," said Michael Schundler, Sheridan chief financial officer and chief operating officer.
Sheridan's recent announced deals include five physician practices with 11 doctors, which will help the company complete an effort to build a women's health network in South Florida. Four of the practices are single-physician office-based practices. The fifth is a seven-physician neonatology practice that provides services to four Dade County hospitals. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.
The following deals also were announced last month:
PhyCor-affiliated Burns Clinic, based in Petoskey, Mich., pulled out of the Traverse City, Mich., market, selling two urgent-care centers and closing a third. The sites employed seven physicians. Six of the doctors were retained under the new owner, Traverse City-based Munson Medical Center.
Mark Wagar, previously the No. 2 executive at MedPartners, was named president and CEO at American Physician Partners, a Dallas-based radiology practice manager. Wagar stepped down as president and COO at MedPartners in April following the appointment of CEO E. Mac Crawford.
Fort Worth, Texas-based ProMedCo completed an affiliation with Primary Medical Clinic, a 14-physician primary-care group in Midland and Odessa, Texas. The company also entered a letter of intent to affiliate with Prime Medical Associates, a 10-physician multispecialty group operating in New York's Greene and Columbia counties. The deal includes a 40-year management agreement with a 40-physician IPA. It marks ProMedCo's entry into New York state.
Riviera Beach, Fla.-based AmeriPath announced or completed agreements to acquire five anatomic pathology practices with a total of 14 physicians: Indian River Pathology in Vero Beach, Fla.; Pasadena Pathology at Palms of Pasadena Hospital, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Plains Pathology Associates and Southwest Pathology Associates in Lubbock, Texas; and R.M.C. Pathology Associations in Jackson, Miss.