Fastrack builds billing business

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

PLAINVIEW, N.Y. - In the third such deal in five years, Fastrack Healthcare Systems has acquired the assets of Newnan, Ga.-based billing service Prometheus Group and its 150 billers. The two companies have had a partnership for more than two years.

The Fastrack-Prometheus marriage follows CareCentric's acquisition of Jane's Billing and Consulting Services in 2005 and Brightree's acquisition of C&S Billing Center in 2008. Prometheus has been renamed Fastrack Billing Services and will retain its existing three offices.

For Fastrack President Spencer Kay, the fit was natural.

"We offer so many services and technology products, but (billing) was the only part we didn't do," Kay said. "It makes us a better software product because of their expertise."

Another asset for Kay–90 of Prometheus' employees are based in Chennai, India, in a three-year-old "fully mature billing office," according to Prometheus CEO Subath Kamalasan.

"Because of their operations in India, it offers us more resources at substantially reduced rates," Kay said.

So will billing services be the next hot M&A target for the HME software companies?

"I don't think Fastrack will be the last one," said Jane Bunch of Jane's Healthcare Consulting. "A lot of billing companies are doing well, but others are looking to be acquired."

Ward Cook, president of Allegro Medical Billing, said he's skeptical that providers get a good deal out of such partnerships.

"From the provider's standpoint, I see the benefit of having one number you can call, but what if they're not doing a good job?" Cook said. "You have to be able to compare."

Dave McCormack, president and CEO of Brightree, said Brightree Billing Services (formerly C&S) is flourishing, but doubts other software companies have the resources for such an acquisition.

"The trend is for (software companies) to align with a billing service," said McCormack, "but my view is the other software companies have enough on their plates."