Atrius Health decides to go it alone
After searching for suitors, the large medical group Atrius Health has decided to stay single.
Newton-based Atrius includes about 825 doctors, including Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, and it is not part of a hospital system. Last year, the nonprofit doctors group solicited bids from several other companies and considered forging a deal to find stronger financial footing.
“We went through a very long and deliberate process, ultimately coming to what we felt was the best outcome: remaining independent,” said Dr. Steven Strongwater, chief executive of Atrius.
Strongwater declined to detail which local and national companies expressed interest in a merger or acquisition with Atrius, but he said it didn’t feel right to join a hospital system when the company is focused on providing care in community-based physician offices — not in expensive hospitals.
Atrius’s decision comes amid continuing consolidation in the local health care market. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health are finalizing a merger that will create a large new health system in Eastern Massachusetts. This new company, Beth Israel Lahey Health, will be nearly equal in size to Partners HealthCare, the state’s largest network of doctors and hospitals.
Atrius’s practices include Harvard Vanguard, Dedham Medical Associates, Granite Medical Group, and PMG Physician Associates, and its doctors take care of about 720,000 patients. “We would love to be at 1 million lives,” Strongwater said. “We think we’d be pretty stable if we get to that number.”
The physician group collected $1.8 billion in revenue and was profitable last year, Atrius officials said.
The company on Thursday also announced a new seven-year contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state’s largest health insurer. The agreement allows Atrius to win bonus payments if it succeeds in containing costs and meeting certain quality scores for its 130,000 patients with Blue Cross insurance plans.
Atrius officials said the contract provides additional stability for their company.
Atrius and Blue Cross also said they would work together to develop initiatives that make the health care experience simpler for patients.
“It’s part of our strategy to enter into deeper partnerships with physicians and hospitals that are aligned with these goals,” Blue Cross chief executive Andrew Dreyfus said in a statement.