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A Merger of Partners

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Copyright © 2012 Albuquerque Journal

ABQ Health Partners, New Mexico’s largest independent, multi-specialty medical group, has merged with HealthCare Partners LLC, the nation’s largest operator of medical groups and physicians’ networks.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ABQ Health Partners CEO Harry Magnes said in an interview Monday that from the patient’s perspective little will change in the short run, and that in the long run the practice should deliver better care and slow the rate of growth in costs.

“We will have the same doctors in the same locations working the same hours with the same telephone numbers,” Magnes said. The practice will continue to operate as ABQ Health Partners. Magnes expects no reduction in staffing and said the practice plans to expand its services, improve its infrastructure and open new clinics over time now that it is backed by the 8,300-physician, Torrance, Calif.-based HealthCare Partners.

The same leaders will continue to run the New Mexico practice.

Magnes said ABQ Health Partners was founded in 2007 in Albuquerque when Lovelace Health System spun off its medical group. It began looking for a merger partner more than two years ago when its board decided the practice would have difficulty adapting to efforts by Medicare and commercial insurers to control costs through better managed and coordinated care.

HealthCare Partners LLC “will give us the resources to expand and to hire the additional people we’ll need,” Magnes said. HealthCare Partners has been providing coordinated care to patients for several years, so “they can get us where we need to be faster.”

Medical practices are being pushed by payers to provide better coordinated care that centers on patients’ needs because such care lowers costs by improving patients’ health, Magnes said.

ABQ Health Partners cares for 180,000 patients including 26,000 Medicare managed care-based patients through a network of approximately 184 physicians. Before HealthCare Partners purchased their shares as part of the merger, the practice was owned by 130 physicians.

HealthCare Partners has operations in California, Nevada and Florida. The company cares for almost 670,000 managed care patients, including more than 190,000 Medicare Advantage patients.
— This article appeared on page B1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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