Central Coast Pathology Consultants has been bought by a medical diagnostics company from Australia.
Sydney-based Sonic Healthcare Limited announced the acquisition of the local medical lab earlier this month.
Central Coast Pathology Medical Director Michael Frost said the sale was needed for his firm to stay viable during uncertainty created by the federal health care overhaul.
“Lower reimbursement rates, rising costs and ever-present competition with large national laboratories pose a real threat to the long-term survivability of locally owned smaller scale clinical laboratories,” Frost said.
He said the relatively small pathology lab in San Luis Obispo — which was owned by eight California pathologists and serves San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties — might have faced closure in three to four years if changes were not made.
Frost declined to provide the terms of the sale or his firm’s annual revenue and profit, but said that the medical lab, which performs tissue biopsies and other clinical laboratory services, has been “doing very well” and that recent profits have remained stable year over year.
The company had recent annual revenue of more than $20 million, and had no debt at the time of purchase, according to the purchase announcement from Sonic Healthcare.
Sonic offers the firm the efficiencies of a larger institution, such as lower costs for supplies, with a philosophy that protects local jobs, Frost said.
Sonic’s model is based on “maintaining the local structure as it was before the partnering, to ensure that all the elements that made the acquired laboratory successful are kept in place,” Frost said.
He added that he expects all of the lab’s roughly 250 employees would keep their jobs.
The eight pathologists, who were once co-owners, and one additional pathologist, will now serve as consultants in the business.
Central Coast Pathology was founded in 1983 by a group of pathologists, initially providing services such as tissue biopsies, then adding clinical laboratory services in 2004.
The lab will join Sonic’s recently acquired Physician’s Automated Laboratory in Bakersfield to form the Australian firm’s ninth U.S. division. The labs will share some resources, such as the expertise of specialized pathologists, Frost said.
Sonic is the biggest provider of medical tests in Europe and third-ranked in the U.S., Bloomberg News reported in November.
Sonic reported about $3.3 billion in revenue for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010.
It employs more than 22,000 people in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland and the United States, according to its website.
— Julia Hickey
Poly to host women entrepreneur forum
Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship invites the community to attend the Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs forum on March 10 at 5 p.m. at the Cal Poly Tech Park.
The event features a panel discussion with women in leadership roles.
Judy Ledford Staley, director of legislative affairs and co-founder of San Luis Obispo-based REC Solar, will provide a keynote address.
Other panelists include Heather Hiles, chief executive officer of online content-sharing firm Rrripple; Barbara Talent, chief executive of online knowledge-sharing firm Livebinders; and Maureen McEnroe, senior manager for corporate development for data storage and management firm NetApp.
For details and to register for the event, visit www.calpolyentrepreneurship.com.
— Julia Hickey