Terms were not disclosed.
The Arizona-based FastMed has almost 200 clinics in Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Arizona, but this deal only involves those in North Carolina. The pending acquisition is planned to close in early 2024. Blue Cross NC has been a non-controlling minority investor in FastMed since 2012.
FastMed would operate independently from Blue Cross NC, according to Blue Cross. FastMed would also continue to see all patients, not just those insured by Blue Cross.
FastMed provides both urgent care and primary healthcare services at clinics located from the North Carolina coast to the mountains. The 55 offices are located in 34 N.C. counties, with more than half are in smaller North Carolina cities and towns where healthcare access is limited.
“This is an important investment in North Carolina,” says Tunde Sotunde, Blue Cross NC’s CEO, in a statement. “This pending acquisition would fortify critical access points of care across the state and would benefit everyone, not just Blue Cross NC members.”
Blue Cross states the deal will allow the two companies to work together to provide better and more affordable healthcare to people across the state. It will also help with medical provider shortages, made worse by the pandemic, according to Blue Cross.
“Like other health care providers, FastMed has felt the impacts of provider shortages that were magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic,” states the Blue Cross release. “Between 2016-2021, North Carolina lost about 9% of its direct care workforce. As the health care industry continues to change rapidly, new partnerships and affiliations to improve patient health and lower health care costs are more commonplace.”
Blue Cross NC’s short-term plans for FastMed would include returning to pre-pandemic service operations.
Other insurance companies, such as UnitedHealthcare and CVS Health-owned Aetna, also own health care services.
Blue Cross NC is the leading not-for-profit health plan in North Carolina, and has operated in the state since 1933. Blue Cross NC serves more than 4.2 million members, including approximately 1.1 million on behalf of other Blue Plans.