Medibank acquires stake in primary care clinic operator

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Medibank has acquired a 33.4 per cent 'non-controlling' stake in the primary care clinic operator Myhealth Medical Group.

Myhealth was founded in 2007 and delivers more than 2.5 million patient consultations a year. The fast-growing group has tripled its number of clinics over the last five years and has a network of 86 clinics in locations across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

There are more than 1,300 health professionals practising in the Myhealth clinics including doctors, nurses and allied health practitioners.

Medibank CEO Craig Drummond said the company's investment in Myhealth reflects the vital role of GPs in providing primary care to patients.

“GPs are the very heart of Australia’s health system and the first point of contact when we have a health issue or concern. The role of a local GP in prevention, early detection and ongoing care and support is fundamental to the health of the community, including people living with complex and chronic conditions,” said Mr Drummond.

“Our investment in Myhealth will support GPs to enhance the health and quality of life of their patients, which helps reduce high-cost hospital admissions and in turn alleviate pressure on the health system.

“Medibank’s investment in Myhealth also reflects our ongoing transformation into a broader healthcare company and complements our existing partnerships with doctors across the Australian health system.

“We will continue to work within the healthcare system to contribute to a healthier community with a focus on preventative care, which will have a positive impact on avoidable hospitalisation, and contribute to a more sustainable health system that benefits all Australians. The announcement today is a further signal of our commitment to doctor-led and patient-centred partnerships that meet these objectives,” said Mr Drummond.

GPs and Myhealth’s management will own the majority of the group and continue to manage its day-to-day operations. GPs will retain full clinical autonomy at all times and each clinic sets its fees independently.

No clinical priority will be given to Medibank or any other private health insurance customer.

Myhealth founder Dr James Liang welcomed Medibank’s investment, which he said will support the group to meet a future vision of general practice.

“There’s a real opportunity to harness new evidence-based tools and resources to support more proactive and preventative care in the community. This approach will have enormous benefits for patients and GPs alike,” said Dr Liang.

“Importantly, all of our current doctor and management shareholders are retaining their shares in the Myhealth group and remain 100% committed to the company and their patients.

“I look forward to continuing to lead the Myhealth team as we continue to grow and support more patients.”

Medibank group executive of healthcare and strategy, Dr Andrew Wilson, said the company believes the Myhealth model of GP ownership and clinical leadership offers significant advantages for GPs and patients.

“Medibank’s investment in Myhealth will also give Myhealth GPs access to additional capabilities to improve data analytics and information management and enable Myhealth to continue its rapid growth, with further expansion of its clinical footprint expected,” said Dr Wilson.

“Myhealth aligns to Medibank’s purpose - Better Health for Better Lives - and it is this alignment with the values of the GPs that will be fundamental to the future success of the partnership.”

Medibank will acquire its stake in Myhealth for a total expected consideration of $63 million.