MEDPARTNERS: Physicians’ Group Aims to Regain Control
In the wake of MedPartners' California collapse, Mullikin Medical Group and Friendly Hills HealthCare Network, "notable for their histories as physician-driven integrated delivery systems," are looking to wrest back control of their operations, the current Modern Healthcare reports. Physician management service KPC Global Care is planning to acquire MedPartners' assets --which are considerable -- 500 physicians at 65 clinics -- and sell them back to the physicians "in exchange for an agreement that it [would] provide management services to the practices." The Pacific Physicians Alliance Medical Group, a coalition of 120 MedPartners physicians who joined together after the state seized MedPartners' assets, is eager to regain control. "I think it's very possible that they (the alliance) will emerge intact, although the recent experiences with MedPartners will leave us operating somewhat differently, because now we have a sense of what the market requires and because many of the key (leaders) have gone on to other things," said Nathana Lurvey, a member of the governing board at Southern California Medical Corp., one of the MedPartners groups being sold. "We firmly believe the game has been played out and the time has come for the physicians to regain ownership," she said, noting that the "physicians are exploring financing options, but don't yet know how much capital they will need." She said that while Friendly Hills and Mullikin retained their names, their "structures have been altered." Modern Healthcare reports that Friendly Hills now includes a physician network formerly owned by Cigna HealthCare, and is "part of the larger business unit Southern California Medical." Another local investors' group had previously negotiated to buy the two groups from MedPartners, but "apparently lost its funding at the last minute," said Maryann Ricardo, a consultant for the alliance. She said some of the physicians feared the investors would have worked toward unrealistic profit margins. The physicians "didn't want a MedPartners II," she said (Jaklevic, 6/21 issue).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.