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MWHC sells its share of NextCare

BY JIM HALL

Mary Washington Healthcare is no longer in the urgent care business after selling its interest in the area’s NextCare clinics.

Mary Washington was a 50 percent partner with NextCare Urgent Care in five local offices. It sold its ownership interest to NextCare, effective Dec. 1. The sale price was not disclosed.

The sale involved the NextCare offices on State Route 3 in Spotsylvania County; White Oak Road and U.S. 17 in Stafford County; and in Woodbridge and Dumfries in Prince William County. Those offices will remain open. The NextCare office on Garrisonville Road in Stafford closed last month.

NextCare approached Mary Washington about buying its interest, said Debbie McInnis, Mary Washington spokeswoman. Negotiations have been under way for about a year, said Brian Murphy, vice president for  sales and marketing for NextCare.

“It benefits our shareholders to have a wholly owned model versus a joint-venture model,” Murphy said.

The two companies have been partners since 2008 when NextCare first came to Virginia. NextCare operated the businesses and employed the staff; Mary Washington was an investor.

“We had a real need here for urgent care at that time,” McInnis said.

Founded in 1993, NextCare  is based in Mesa, Ariz. With  69 clinics in seven states, it is one of the nation’s largest chains of walk-in clinics.

NextCare paid $10 million this summer to settle a federal complaint that it defrauded patients and their insurance companies by putting patients through thousands of unnecessary tests. NextCare settled the suit in July without admitting any wrongdoing. Mary Washington was not involved in the complaint or the settlement. The legal action “had absolutely zero to do” with Mary Washington selling its interest, Murphy said.

NextCare is privately held and in the midst of a major expansion. In October it obtained financing from BMO Capital Markets, which allowed it to buy Mary Washington’s interest and purchase other clinics across the country. In October, it bought Access Medical Centers in Oklahoma, which operates nine clinics. It plans to buy more clinics later this month, Murphy said.

Jim Hall: 540/374-5433

jhall@freelancestar.com

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