Large orthopedic groups view MSOs as new opportunity for growth

Alan Condon -  

Bethesda, Md.-based The Center for Advanced Orthopaedics is the latest physician group to launch a musculoskeletal management services organization, which large orthopedic practices view as a significant growth opportunity.

MedVanta, which comprises more than 150 physicians affiliated with CAO, has launched at a time when more outside investors are edging into the orthopedic market. The MSO aims to improve practice efficiencies and help independent orthopedic practices succeed in value-based care.

Aligning with MSOs is becoming an increasingly attractive option for smaller independent practices facing economic, payer and administrative challenges. MSOs can alleviate some of the burdensome tasks these orthopedic practices face, such as coding, billing, compliance, payroll and revenue cycle management. As larger organizations, MSOs also help ensure best pricing for supplies, implants and services.

Arguably the most significant benefit to orthopedic practices joining MSOs is the ability to share cost and outcomes data with like-minded practices, essential in contract negotiations with commercial payers amid the transition to value-based care.

Crucially, partnering with an MSO does not typically require sacrificing the autonomy of a physician practice, leaving other strategic partnerships or consolidation options on the table down the line — a key factor in many practice's decisions.

Many private equity firms have launched musculoskeletal MSOs in recent years and are snapping up physician practices as the orthopedic sector continues to boom in the outpatient setting.

Large orthopedic groups such as CAO are also capitalizing on the MSO trend as a way to help independent practices maintain their autonomy. Resurgens Orthopaedics, the largest orthopedic group in Georgia, launched its own platform in collaboration with a private equity firm, and EmergeOrtho, the largest orthopedic group in North Carolina, is considering establishing an MSO of its own.

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