TRAVERSE CITY — One of the largest private hospitalist groups in Michigan was acquired by one of the largest private hospitalist management providers in the country.

Sound Physicians acquired Traverse City-based Indigo Health Partners in a deal that closed on June 18. The software and technology transition to Sound Physicians — a national physician-led private practice hospitalist group headquartered in Tacoma, Washington — began July 1.

Dr. Robert Bessler, CEO of Sound Physicians, said the two companies have a similar business model.

“We’re focused on taking good care of patients in the community,” Bessler said. “Our vision is to try to be a leader in improving quality and controlling costs in the community we serve. Their vision and mission was tightly aligned with ours so it made sense.

“It’s pretty easy when everybody has the same priorities.”

The transaction includes nearly 150 providers from Indigo including medical doctors, doctors of osteopathic medicine, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. Indigo operated in nine hospitals, 10 skilled nursing facilities and 12 assisted living facilities.

Sound Physicians has more than 750 clinicians and business partners in the Great Lakes region. The Traverse City-based business will be known as Indigo, a division of Sound Inpatient Physicians.

“Our chief concern was continuing to serve our hospital partners and patients who require our care,” said Retiring Indigo Managing Partner James W. Levy. “We felt that Sound was the best available entity to partner with to achieve that goal.”

“They have a solid reputation being in the market ...,” Bessler said. “They have a solid reputation of taking good care of patients and we don’t want any of that to change. With great hospital partners, we know we can help make things viable for the future and sustainable.”

Indigo’s roots trace back to 1993 as the Hospitalists of Northwest Michigan, a group of doctors working at Munson.

Levy said Indigo’s patients and partners will see no major changes.

“Basically, no,” Levy said. “The contract we have with Munson Medical Center will transfer to Sound. All the providers of medical care at Munson Medical Center stay the same. The (site) leadership stays the same. Only the system switches to Sound.”

Levy said the Sound organization is big enough to provide and support some technological advancements that Indigo couldn’t because of its size.

That includes Sound Connect, a workflow and communications platform designed by hospitalists and SoundMetrix, a data and analytics platform, according to a release on the sale.

“It’s about putting meaningful information in the hands of docs to drive greater results for patients,” Bessler said of the software improvements.

Bessler declined to reveal the purchase price — he said he views the move as a merger more than an acquisition. Levy said it’s difficult to put a final price on the deal because details are still being finalized.

“The end number depends on a huge number of things,” he said.

Levy said the division of Sound in northern Michigan will have a medical director at each site that will report to a regional vice president.

“We’re confident the deal will serve our partners, our hospital providers and our patients,” Levy said.

“It’s gone well,” Bessler said of the transition. “The idea of staying local is what it’s all about and figuring out ways we can add value. It’s a be better together, one plus one equals three concept.”

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