by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | October 30, 2023
FastMed urgent care site in Boone (Photo courtesy of FastMed)
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina will acquire and work with all 55 FastMed urgent care locations in the state to enhance the care and patient experiences they provide.
FastMed offers preventive, telehealth, occupational, and primary healthcare, and more. Among its clinics in North Carolina are two of each in metropolitan areas Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and High Point, and one of each in Boone, Burlington, Kernersville, and Wilkesboro. It also has locations in Arizona, Florida, and Texas that would not be included in the deal, reported the Statesville Record & Landmark
According to the company, years of staffing shortages before and during the pandemic combined with the need to improve care practices and lower costs make this agreement necessary.
Blue Cross NC is headquartered in Durham and has been a noncontrolling minority investor in FastMed since 2012. Its short-term plans include returning services at these FastMed locations to pre-pandemic operations, and it will also invest with FastMed in new ways to improve care experiences at these sites.
“With approximately half of FastMed’s clinics located in rural areas of our state with limited access to healthcare resources, this is an important investment in North Carolina,” said Blue Cross NC CEO Tunde Sotunde in a statement.
The acquisition only pertains to North Carolina sites for FastMed, which will remain an independent company and continue to serve all North Carolinians and individuals visiting the state, not just those with Blue Cross NC insurance.
Blue Cross NC has made additional investments in the state over the last few years. In 2021, it formed a new entity
that used Deerfield Management Company’s research and operational capabilities and investment experience to help independent physicians strengthen their practices and transition to value-based care.
It also collaborated with Caravan Health
in 2020 to expand Blue Premier, Blue Cross NC's value-based care program, within the state and established a new accountable care organization (ACO) to help community and rural hospitals implement value-based care practices.
The deal with FastMed is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in early 2024.
Financial terms were not disclosed.