Inland Imaging Associates PS and Seattle Radiologists APC will merge to form one of the largest professional radiology groups in the West.
“This is a true joining of forces,” says Steve Duvoisin, CEO, Inland Imaging Associates, Spokane, Wash. “Even though the number of radiologists is different—we have more—both parties felt it was important to have equal representation. In the new group, governance will be 50/50. This is not a takeover or an acquisition.”
The move follows what many experts are calling a national trend, with health plan consolidation expected to continue on a much larger scale. “I think a lot of medical groups, especially radiology groups, feel they need to be of a certain scale to work with larger health systems,” says Duvoisin, who started with Inland in 1984. “We need to be able to have the infrastructure to provide newer services and gain administrative efficiencies. On the professional side, 24/7 subspecialty coverage is also a big consideration.”
Duvoisin first visited Seattle Radiologists in 1986, but did not mention the possibility of a merger until 6 years ago. Every year since then, officials from both entities discussed the possibility.
“We talked with them last February, and this time they wanted to talk some more,” muses Duvoisin. “We compared cultures, did our due diligence. We met face to face for a day every week throughout the Summer. A couple of weeks ago, our two shareholders unanimously voted to bring our groups together.”
The merger officially takes effect on January 1, 2013. Meanwhile, both entities continue to form a new umbrella group, which will include a fresh name. “We plan to keep our local brand names,” adds Duvoisin, “because they are strong in Spokane and Seattle.”
The new company will have 97 radiologists and 20 non-physician staff members, making it one of the largest professional radiology practices in the Western United States. Duvoisin points out that, “Technically our two groups are just in Washington, so we look to really be enlarging our footprint in the state of Washington, not necessarily Oregon and Alaska.”
Inland Imaging will continue its imaging center operations under the direction of Duvoisin, while Seattle Radiologists will continue to operate its outpatient diagnostic imaging center under the direction of CEO Karen Leppert. Duvoisin will be the CEO of the newly formed (and yet to be named) radiology group.