Canadian firm buys Associates for Health Care

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:21 pm

Brookfield-based Associates for Health Care (AHC) has been acquired by BCE Emergis of Montreal, a publicly held company. AHC will be part of the Canadian firm’s eHealth Solutions Group, said Richard Blomquist, who will remain as president and CEO of AHC, a preferred provider organization.
The deal was for $30 million (US), $10 million of which was paid in cash at closing on June 28. The remaining $20 million will be paid in three equal cash or share installments over a three-year period at the closing anniversary dates. For fiscal 2000, AHC revenues totaled $14.8 million.
“The true value in acquiring AHC is the expanded reach it provides us, the ability to offer our eHealth services to a broader network and the fact that it continues to place us at the core of electronic health transactions,” said Christian Trudeau, president and chief operating officer of BCE Emergis. “Well-positioned and well-managed, AHC is the most experienced and efficient player in its market. It builds on our strategy of bringing the benefits of electronic business to the health-insurance industry and to AHC’s network of providers.”
Blomquist said the affiliation would help pose AHC as a leader in cutting health-care-related administrative costs. He called e-commerce an “absolutely essential” element of cost-cutting in the industry, noting that, “Ma-and-Pa restaurants have better Internet connectivity than most doctors’ offices.”
While organizations such as AHC strive to get doctors and clinics paid within 30 days of service, it sometimes takes 60 to 90 days for dollars to reach them because of inefficient communications mechanisms, Blomquist said. With the e-commerce tools of the eHealth Solutions Group, “we will have the ability to say to a doctor’s office that payment could be in your account by the end of the week.”
AHC, the state’s largest PPO, has more than 500,000 plan participants and a network of 117 hospitals, 19,855 physician and other specialists and 1,904 ancillary medical facilities serving more than 7,500 corporate clients. AHC interfaces with 220 payors including some 50 insurance companies as well as third-party administrators (TPAs) and self-administered groups with 366 administrative offices. In 2000, the AHC network managed 2.5 million claims. The company employs 110 people and has headquarters at 18650 Corporate Dr. in Brookfield. Blomquist said the acquisition could lead to employment expansion at AHC.
Blomquist, who started AHC in 1984, had not been looking for a buyer but, rather, was looking for additional groups to bring into a buying organization AHC is part of. One of those was a BCE Emergis company that suggested that AHC become part of BCE Emergis, according to Blomquist. Those talks started in February.
The BCE Emergis eHealth Solutions Group serves as a financial and technology interface between health-care payors (insurance companies) and health-care providers (hospitals and physicians) to produce cost savings and other benefits for payors and their beneficiaries and to improve claims submission efficiency for providers. In 2000, the eHealth Solutions Group handled more than $4 billion worth of claims.
BCE Emergis’ customers include leading North American banks and insurance companies. The company’s shares (TSE:IFM) are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange and included in the TSE 100 composite index. Its stock closed at $35.90 (Canadian) on June 28.
July 6 2001 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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