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HealthCare Partners Expands in Valley

Medicine: The group acquires 2 physician practices operations, adding patients, doctors and clinics.

April 13, 2001|SARAH HALE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

HealthCare Partners Inc., one of the largest medical groups in Southern California, has acquired two regional physician practices groups in a bid to broaden its patient base throughout the San Fernando Valley.

HealthCare Partners acquired Greater Valley Medical Group and Greater Valley Physician Associates, which will add three clinics, 55,000 patients and 68 doctors to its roster. The HealthCare group currently serves 365,000 patients, has 363 physicians and operates 35 clinics throughout Los Angeles County and northern Orange County.

Both Greater Valley groups have been managed by Cedars-Sinai Health System, which also operates Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in West Los Angeles.

The transaction was finalized April 2. Financial details were not disclosed.

"This acquisition strengthens our mission to promote and offer medical care to the greater Los Angeles area," said Robert Margolis, chief executive of HealthCare Partners. "Moving into the Valley was a natural geographic extension."

There will be no doctor or staff changes as a result of the acquisition, Margolis said.

Medical groups typically contract with health maintenance organizations to provide medical care for their members on a per-patient rate. In recent years, however, dozens of groups have shut down or gone bankrupt as medical costs have risen faster than HMO payments.

According to the California Medical Assn., about 80% of the state's 300 medical groups--serving 18 million people--are believed to have serious financial problems. In the last year, 34 physician groups went bankrupt or closed, bringing the five-year total number of failures to 130.

HealthCare Partners has been recognized in the past by large purchasers of health coverage, such as Pacific Business Group on Health, which negotiates health benefits for large employers, as being financially stable in an era of financial difficulty for managed-care organizations.

"We have always maintained our position as being a long-term organization," Margolis said.

"We operate strategically and pay attention to basic business fundamentals."

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