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Digital health company Babylon acquires Meritage Medical Network of Marin County

Babylon, a London-based digital health company with an app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to provide patients with 24/7 access to care, has acquired Meritage Medical Network, a Novato-based network of 700 physicians who provide care for nearly a half-million residents with HMO plans in Marin, Sonoma, Napa, and Solano counties.

Babylon will pick up Meritage’s contracts with eight hospitals in the North Bay region, along with a number of urgent care centers, laboratories, skilled nursing facilities, and other ancillary providers. Financial terms of the deal were not released in the announcement made last month by both entities.

The Babylon app is designed to give users an all-in-one way to tap into their health care on their mobile phones, the company states on its website. Access to care is available around-the-clock at no cost, depending on a particular patient’s health plan.

The app also contains free digital tools and advice for staying well. For example, patients can complete a questionnaire that will come back with an overall health report, along with preventive health tools and information about any potential risk factors. Babylon states it encrypts and safely stores users’ data, so their information remains private and secure.

Among the hospitals where Babylon will acquire Meritage contracts are two of the biggest in the North Bay: MarinHealth and Providence-St. Joseph Health’s Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

In January, Meritage announced it had added NorthBay Healthcare Group’s two Solano County hospitals to its network: NorthBay VacaValley Hospital in Vacaville and NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield.

The four other Meritage-affiliated hospitals include Sonoma Valley Hospital, as well as three additional Providence-St. Joseph Health hospitals: Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa, Petaluma Valley Hospital and Healdsburg District Hospital.

Among the health plans Meritage partners with are Blue Cross-Blue Shield of California, United Healthcare, Cigna, Health Net, Anthem Blue Cross and Western Health Advantage, according to Meritage’s website.

The Babylon transaction also includes Meritage’s services such as care management, claims processing, medical management and population health programs, along with its subsidiary Meritage Health Plan.

“Partnering with Babylon affords Meritage access to the latest health care technology, along with new growth opportunities and significant resources we can now deploy in supporting our physicians and their patients, Wojtek Nowak, CEO of Meritage Medical Network stated in the release.

Babylon’s acquisition of the Meritage network follows its recent pick up of Fresno-based FirstChoice Medical Group, according to the announcement.

“In less than a year, Babylon has gone from being unknown in the U.S. to today managing the total cost of care for up to 90,000 lives,” Dr. Ali Parsa, CEO, Babylon, said in the release. “We believe that people deserve a simpler, more affordable way of accessing quality care, and we aim to empower each person to take control of their healthcare journey with our easy to use digital-first tools.”

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