Illinois medical group will get even bigger, stay independent with $1.45B investment

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An Illinois medical practice plans to expand after a $1.45 billion cash infusion.

The largest independent physicians group in Illinois aims to get even bigger with a $1.45 billion investment from a private equity firm.

DuPage Medical Group, one of the country’s largest independent, multispecialty physician groups, announced it entered a strategic partnership with a private equity group that will allow it to grow with additional services, sites and doctors. The medical group closed the deal Tuesday with Ares Management, a global alternative asset management firm.

The group said the investment will allow it to expand while maintaining physician independence. The investment will enable continued growth across the entire organization including DMG Practice Management Solutions, and its subsidiary, Boncura Health Solutions, according to the announcement.

Under the terms of the transaction, its physician group, DuPage Medical Group, will remain 100% physician owned and directed, the company said. Its physicians will retain a significant ownership stake in the practice management company.

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“As DMG continues to grow in size and scale, it is critically important for our organization to remain independent and physician-led,” said CEO Mike Kasper in the announcement. The transaction will provide capital and strategic backing for growth initiatives that include population health, expansion into new geographic areas and additional service offerings, he said.

The medical group, founded in 1999 and based in Downers Grove, has more than 600 physicians in 80 suburban Chicago locations. The additional funds will allow DMG to grow to 1,200 to 1,500 physicians over time and expand services such as imaging, immediate care, physical therapy and oncology, Kasper told the Chicago Tribune. The group will look at opportunities to expand beyond Illinois.

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“We are extremely excited to welcome Ares as our partner, as DMG continues to grow to become the best group for all physicians and patients both within the Chicago area as well as nationally,” said Paul Merrick, M.D., president and chairman of DMG.

The partnership will help the group stay independent at a time when many other practices have been bought by hospitals and healthcare systems. In fact, 2016 marked a tipping point for practices, with physician practice owners no longer the majority, according to a survey by the American Medical Association.