January 20, 2022

PE-Backed Allied Digestive Health: Changing the GI Landscape in NJ

Many financial sponsors have entered the physician practice management arena space in such specialties as primary care, orthopedics, urology, dermatology, pediatrics, radiology, anesthesia, and women’s health, to name a few.

The gastroenterology area has also attracted a significant amount of interest. We have chosen to highlight one of the most successful gastroenterology platforms — Allied Digestive Health (ADH), headquartered in West Long Branch, New Jersey.

ADH was formed in 2015 when five New Jersey-based groups merged. In December 2020, ADH partnered with Assured Healthcare Partners (AHP) through a management services organization (MSO). AHP is a private equity firm based in New York, NY, and invests exclusively in healthcare. Since AHP’s partnership with ADH, its physician count has increased from 54 gastroenterologists to just short of 100. ADH’s gastroenterologists serve counties from the southern-most part of New Jersey to the state’s northern reaches. The partnership has allowed ADH to differentiate itself by creating value-based arrangements with some of the most significant payors in the state while focusing on quality and innovation.

ADH’s mission is to empower gastroenterologists to deliver compassionate, high-quality, and comprehensive care through an unparalleled patient experience. With this mission in mind, ADH’s physician-centric model has resulted in alliances formed throughout the state of New Jersey. The company’s physician partners continue to practice gastroenterology independently while being supported by the MSO on the business side of things such as revenue cycle, marketing, human resources, and business intelligence, to name a few. The physician partners are significant owners in ADH’s MSO and serve in leadership capacities throughout the business.

The success of ADH is partly attributable to the maturation of its ancillary service lines – anesthesia, clinical research, infusion, pathology, and others. These ancillary services lines have enabled ADH’s physicians to provide a higher level of service to their patients while at the same time providing significant growth to the organization.

As mentioned earlier, ADH’s origins date back to 2015, when five gastroenterology practices in New Jersey came together through the leadership of Dr. Robert Gialanella and Dr. Nadeem Baig. They understood the need to change and had a vision for growth beyond the confines of their original practice. They understood that they could better serve their communities and bring innovation to a broader group of patients by getting larger.

Dr. Gialanella, who serves as the President of ADH and Vice Chairman of the MSO, commented that “the relationship with Assured Healthcare Partners has allowed us to scale up and invest in clinical innovation to achieve our goal of delivering a more comprehensive care model to our patients.” Dr. Nadeem Baig, who serves as the Chief Medical Officer of ADH, has “enjoyed helping to deliver clinical innovation to the practice in areas such as our total wellness program, inflammatory bowel disease, and clinical research.” He commented that there is a great sense of satisfaction that their partners at ADH have embraced their vision of providing care in a different model that enabled them to retain a great deal of autonomy while relieving them of the burden of developing programs while also carrying a full clinical schedule.

On their MSO side, ADH has been able to attract executive talent from outside to help grow and deliver against their mission, namely, Matthew Devine the newly appointed CEO for ADH, who previously served as the President of Mednax Radiology Solutions, and Sap Sinha, ADH’s COO and former Regional VP at SCA/OptumHealth. When Matt was asked why he decided to join ADH, Matt commented that “it is rare to find a Physician group and a Private Equity group that are so aligned in their mission to improve the gastroenterology space and in turn favorably impact the patient experience.” According to Sap, there has been significant investment in infrastructure that has created a technology-enabled practice focused on meeting the changing needs of their patient base.

Although ADH has been successful in its ability to grow by acquiring physician practices as a part of an aggressive acquisition program, it is very focused on delivering innovative marketing programs focused on increasing the size of its patient base. By introducing several programs, ADH is helping its individual care centers grow organically.

Since most of the gastroenterology physicians at ADH are owners of the business, the organization believes that they have excellent alignment from a clinical and operational viewpoint. This alignment has enabled ADH to exceed its expectations for recruiting gastroenterologists throughout the state of New Jersey.

AHP’s Managing Director Matt Jameson commented that “the involvement and commitment of the gastroenterologists at ADH has exceeded my expectations, and I am extremely excited about future growth opportunities given the success of ADH to date.”

Healthcare and gastroenterology continue to evolve, but it is apparent that to succeed in the future, organizations like ADH will need to continue to develop value-based care models which result in a more comprehensive level of care being afforded to patients that can only be attained if you can scale and innovate.