Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, a not-for-profit, 500-doctor group that is among the biggest in Massachusetts, has merged with three smaller groups in the Boston area in an attempt to spread the cost of big-ticket items like electronic medical records and new technology.
The new group, as yet unnamed, includes Dedham Medical Associates, Southboro Medical Group and the doctors' group at South Shore Medical Center.
The three smaller groups, all for-profits, have converted to tax-exempt status under the new structure. They add about 200 doctors to Harvard Vanguard's existing roster and bring the new group's total patients to about 600,000.
Kenneth Paulus, chief executive officer of Harvard Vanguard, said he can't think of other examples of for-profit medical groups switching to tax-exempt status, but the conversions allow the new organization to use a larger portion of revenue to improve operations.
The merger in the highly competitive market also is expected to boost revenue and improve patient care, Paulus said.