Florida Blue insurer to buy Diagnostic Clinic

Published Dec. 18, 2012

LARGO — Florida Blue, one of the largest insurers, said Monday it is purchasing the Diagnostic Clinic, one of the largest doctors' practices in Pinellas County.

The Diagnostic Clinic is a physician-owned multi-speciality group with three offices in North Pinellas. Its more than 90,0000 patients are not expected to see any changes to the care they receive because of the change, whether they have health insurance through parent company Florida Blue Cross and Blue Shield or not.

The Diagnostic Clinic will continue to be run by its current managers, Florida Blue spokesman John Herbkersman said. He declined to disclose the purchase price. The deal is expected to close by the end of the month.

The sale of the Diagnostic Clinic, an 80-doctor practice, comes as most independent medical practices and hospitals across Tampa Bay are aligning with larger organizations to cope with rapid changes in the national health care landscape. Officials said the acquisition will help with pressure to deliver efficient, quality care that costs less.

"We can see American medicine in the midst of a radical transformation," said Dr. H. Charles Campbell, the clinic's CEO. "We don't think there's any better partner than a big company with tremendous resources, especially in information technology. We certainly have aligned incentives since we're both interested in keeping people as healthy as they can be."

Where other medical practices have sold to hospitals, creating incentives to refer patients to their new owners, Diagnostic Clinic leaders note that their doctors will continue to work with the region's many hospitals.