The largest medical association in Virginia is teaming up with a big health care company to buy eye-oriented health care partnerships that will reduce the cost of care for its more than 1.6 million members.
The move, announced Thursday, will bring together the Association of Virginia Medical Colleges, Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Eye Institute.
The Virginia Medical Association will now be the largest medical group in the Commonwealth.
“I think we can all agree, there’s just so much more to do with health care than just eye surgery, and the health care we provide is so important to our citizens,” said Dr. Thomas Schulz, president of the Virginia Medical College.
“It is so vital that we have the resources to be able to do it better than anyone else in the world.”
The deal is the latest in a wave of consolidation in the industry.
Last year, General Electric purchased VisionHealth Solutions, which owns the VisionHealth Network of specialty clinics, hospitals and physicians.
The two companies combined to build a network of more than 100,000 providers, providing care to more than 6 million patients in 17 states.
That same year, Anthem acquired VisionHealth Systems, the largest provider of specialty medical services in the United States, and merged with a medical device company called Medical Imaging.
In addition to the Vision Health Networks, which already serve over 6 million Virginia residents, the Association has agreements with VisionHealth Healthcare Solutions and VisionHealth Health Systems LLC, which both offer specialty clinics and hospitals.
The new partnerships will provide access to more health care professionals and will also allow members to access health services like surgery and other procedures that have not been available in the past.
“These are the kinds of relationships we have been looking for,” Schulz said.
“The combination of VisionHealth and Vision Health Solutions will make the health system a more agile, better-resourced, and more accessible one.”
In addition, the deal is expected to provide additional flexibility for the Association to focus on its core health care priorities, like medical device development, cancer treatment, and patient care.
The Virginia Medical Group will be the parent of both VisionHealth Networks and Visionhealth Healthcare Solutions, and will continue to develop its own health care technologies and supply chains.
The Vision Health Group will retain ownership of the Visionhealth Network and Vision Healthcare Solutions.