Rapidly Growing American Physician Partners Buys Arizona Progressive Medical Associates

American Physician Partners announced this week it has purchased Arizona-based Progressive Medical Associates PLLC in the latest chapter of a four-year growth story for the emergency room physician-management company.

Founded in 2015, the Brentwood-based firm has gone from working with 215 providers its first year to more than 1,300 today. The number of patients its physicians have treated has grown from a little more than 900,000 to 1.6 million this year.

That boom has led American Physician Partners, which employs more than 17,000 physicians, to almost double its revenue each year of its existence — from $50.8 million in 2015 to $107 million in 2016 and $160.8 million last year — making it one of Nashville’s 50 largest privately owned businesses, according to Nashville Business Journal research. CEO John Rutledge said the company will hit more than $500 million in lifetime revenue this year.

While the company has made several acquisitions, executives at American Physician Partners said the company’s growth has largely been organic, through referrals and quality care.

“The emergency department is the front door of any facility and it’s going to set the reputation of that facility,” Chief Medical Officer Tony Briningstool said. “We want to build a championship team in that department.”

That approach comes from Rutledge’s 35 years of experience as an executive in hospital companies, he said. He is the former COO and president of RegionalCare Hospital Partners, now known as RCCH Healthcare Partners, as well as the former COO and president of Province Healthcare.

Rutledge, who co-founded American Physician Partners, said he wanted to create a company that actually operates emergency departments instead of simply staffing them. APP’s physicians work with other departments in the hospital to coordinate care and the company tracks metrics such as wait times, length of stays, missed opportunities and sepsis cases to give operators a better understanding of their facility.

Each of APP’s five regions, spanning 14 states, is overseen by a former hospital CEO and a physician, Rutledge said, to unite the business and clinical sides of care in their emergency departments.

“Providers want someone to come in and take ownership of the ER,” Rutledge said. “We take ownership of things we can’t necessarily control and we work with other departments to make sure we improve processes. … That shows we are a management company, not just a staffing company.”

Rutledge said the company will continue to grow by landing new contracts with providers over the next year. He said the company has signed almost 60 new contracts in 2018 and hasn’t lost a client in its four-year history.

“We have a very full pipeline for organic growth,” Rutledge said. “We thought there was a great niche in this space if we could execute the expectations of our hospital partners and we have.”

Originally published by the Nashville Business Journal and written by Joel Stinnett.