The company co-founded by local developer Tommy Ahlquist announced Tuesday it plans to buy Saltzer Medical Group, which would put the practice back in local hands.
“We are thrilled with this opportunity and honored to build upon an exceptional legacy of care that the Saltzer team has provided for so many years,” Ahlquist said in a news release.
Ahlquist, the CEO of Ball Ventures Ahlquist or BVA, has a medical background as an emergency physician.
Ed Castledine, a former hospital administrator for St. Luke’s Health System who is now a BVA executive, said he has “high admiration for the legacy and tradition of this company dating back to its founding by Dr. Joseph Saltzer.”
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Castledine said the acquisition “will provide a foundation as we work to increase choice and lower healthcare costs throughout the Treasure Valley and beyond.”
Castledine told the Statesman that BVA doesn’t foresee any need to cut staff. “Instead, we’re focused on growth,” he said. “We do anticipate hiring as we grow.”
Saltzer currently has about 50 medical providers and between 250 and 300 employees, he said.
Castledine declined to go into specifics about what the company’s growth strategy is with regard to Saltzer, but he said the eventual goal is to “increase access to high quality and affordable health care, and do so in a very transparent way.”
John Kaiser, a physician and president of Saltzer, called the deal a “growth opportunity.”
The Saltzer board has approved BVA’s offer, and the deal is expected to close in a matter of weeks, the news release said.
The practice was owned by its doctors for most of its history, but the past several years saw it changing hands and the subject of litigation.
St. Luke’s Health System bought Saltzer in 2012, despite warnings from Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden that the buyout may violate antitrust laws. The next year, the Federal Trade Commission, Idaho Attorney General’s Office and its competitors Saint Alphonsus Health System and Treasure Valley Hospital sued over the acquisition.
The case culminated in a court trial that went on for weeks. The trial also led to disclosure of internal documents about what happened within Saltzer during the buyout.
A federal judge decided the deal was illegal and ordered St. Luke’s and Saltzer to unwind it. That divestiture took years, but Saltzer eventually was sold to a subsidiary of global health care giant McKesson, in 2017.