Lovelace Buys Southwest Medical

By Winthrop Quigley / Journal Staff Writer  Fri, Oct 19, 2012

Lovelace Health System has acquired Southwest Medical Associates, a 33-year-old physician-owned, multi-specialty medical practice. The parties declined to disclose terms.

Southwest Medical, which has 34 physicians and other health care providers, will continue to do business under its own name. Its current leadership will continue to run the practice and all 150 Southwest employees will keep their jobs, Lovelace Health System CEO Ron Stern told the Journal in an interview Thursday. Stern said Lovelace started talking with Southwest about joining the system last year. Since then ABQ Health Partners, a 184-physician group that provided care for thousands of Lovelace Health Plan members, terminated its contract with the plan. Stern said the events are unrelated.

Lovelace owned the large physician practice that became ABQ Health Partners in 2007, with Lovelace’s financial support.

Stern said Lovelace plans to help Southwest expand its staffing and clinical opera tions and will integrate the practice into its electronic medical records system. Stern said he hopes any physician wishing to affiliate with a larger, well-capitalized practice will join Southwest.

Southwest Medical president Kenneth Rogers said the acquisition allows the practice to access Lovelace’s financial and other resources to recruit new physicians and other staff and to improve care.

Stern said Lovelace is building “a hybrid network of employed, strategically aligned and community physicians who are all valued and all working together to serve patients in an integrated system.”

“We are committed to developing strong and lasting relationships with physicians, regardless of whether we employ them or are affiliated with them in any other way,” he said.

While Lovelace has employed few physicians since it spun off ABQ Health Partners, its parent company, Ardent Health Services, employs 235 physicians at its Tulsa health system.

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