Physicians Immediate Care acquired by Chicago rival
One of Chicago’s most recognizable urgent care brands is being scooped up by a local competitor in a move that will make them among the largest urgent care providers in the area.
Rosemont-based Physicians Immediate Care has been acquired by WellNow Urgent Care, a division of Chicago-based TAG—The Aspen Group. The deal, which closed July 1, brings the combined companies’ footprint to 183 centers across New York, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, says WellNow President Dr. John Radford. He declined to disclose the purchase price.
Physicians Immediate Care, which has operated in the Chicago area since 1987, had 55 locations throughout Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, about 45 of which are in Illinois. Like WellNow, Physicians Immediate Care provides care for common illnesses like COVID-19, strep throat and the flu.
Combined, the companies will employ 3,850 people. Radford says there are no plans for layoffs as result of the merger—and is planning to hire more. The company is focused on filling open roles as the healthcare labor shortage drags on. WellNow is looking for nursing and physician talent, Radford says.
Physicians Immediate Care will still be run by Chairman and CEO Stan Blaylock; it won’t immediately adopt the WellNow branding.
WellNow opened its first urgent care center in Big Flats, N.Y., in 2012 before being acquired by TAG in 2016. Since then, it’s opened new centers, targeting rural areas, but has also expanded through several acquisitions. In 2018, WellNow purchased MASH Urgent Care, and later acquired Hometown Urgent Care & Occupational Health in 2020 and Primary Urgent Care this year.
“Over the years, we’ve built quite a brand and quite a following in the Illinois area, doing a lot of occupational medicine and urgent care,” Radford says.
WellNow accepts most major insurances, including Medicare and Medicaid. The company also has a partnership with Sezzle, a Minneapolis fintech company offering payment installations for self-pay patients. Sezzle will be offered at Physicians Immediate Care locations now, too, Radford says.
The companies’ parent company, TAG, operates other healthcare brands, such as Aspen Dental, ClearChoice Dental Implant Centers and Chapter Aesthetic Studio. Combined, the brands serve more than 35,000 patients a day and more than 8 million patients each year.
Founder, CEO and Chairman Bob Fontana told Crain’s earlier this year that TAG saw revenue double to $3 billion in 2021 and was gearing up to open 100 more locations in 2022. TAG has taken private-equity investment from the likes of Ares Management, Leonard Green & Partners and American Securities.
This story first published in our sister publication, Crain’s Chicago Business.