Availity plans to relocate within Jacksonville and add jobs

Health care IT firm resembles 'Avalanche'

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Jacksonville-based Availity, a health care IT company, intends to relocate into a new building within the city by year-end 2018 to accommodate growth.

Molly Miles, Availity vice president of marketing, said Tuesday the company told employees it will build in Jacksonville, but she did not identify the location.

She said the Jacksonville office has grown 67 percent since 2012.

Availity has about 800 employees nationwide “with several hundred” in Jacksonville, Miles said.

“We need to move to give us the physical space required to support the expansion of our business,” Miles said employees were told.

Availity matches the description of Project Avalanche, a city economic-development project. That deal involves an unidentified health care IT company headquartered in Southeast Jacksonville that wants to add 250 positions in return for city and state incentives.

Asked if Availity applied for the incentives, Miles said she couldn’t comment.

City legislation for Project Avalanche says it will retain at least 300 employees and add the new positions by the end of 2021.

The average wage of the new positions would be $70,000. The jobs primarily will be professional services jobs requiring administrative services in the health care industry.

Availity LLC is based in Southeast Jacksonville at 10752 Deerwood Park Blvd. S., Suite 110, in the WaterView Office Park.

It’s not far from the proposed five-story Town Center One office building planned along Gate Parkway. Groundbreaking is expected in late spring for completion by summer 2018.

Developer VanTrust Real Estate Executive Vice President John Carey said previously that no tenant has been signed but that his group was working with several prospects for the Class A structure.

Asked Tuesday whether Availity was a tenant there, Carey said he could not comment.

Miles said she did not have information to share about the exact location for the move, saying the company was “looking close by.”

She said she didn’t know whether it will own or lease, but that it would be in the city.

“We’re very committed to Jacksonville,” she said.

“This is an exciting time for Availity and we expect to continue to grow organically due to new contracts, new clients, and deeper relationships with our current clients,” she said by email.

Miles did not have information to share about the number of new employees and what they will do.

According to the city legislation, Project Avalanche seeks $1.875 million in incentives, comprising $1.5 million, or $6,000 per job, through the state Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund program from the state and city. Also, the state proposes to provide a Florida Flex Training Grant of up to $375,000.

A legislative fact sheet says the project will make a capital investment of at least $12.1 million. Avalanche would add 130 full-time jobs by 2019, another 55 in 2020 and 65 more by December 2021.

Availity says that it operates the largest real time information network in health care, connecting more than a million providers, health plans and their technology partners.

It explains that it integrates and manages the clinical, administrative, and financial data to assist real-time coordination between providers, health plans and patients.

It facilitates more than 7 million transactions daily.

As a joint venture between Florida Blue and Humana, Availity was launched in 2001 in Jacksonville. It says the goal was to make it easier for health plans and providers to collaborate by streamlining processes among payers.

In 2006, it says it combined with The Health Information Network, a wholly owned subsidiary of Health Care Service Corp., which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. That expanded its national presence.

In 2009, Anthem, which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans in 14 states, chose Availity as a strategic part of its suite of online provider solutions and made an investment in Availity’s provider engagement strategy.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota also joined Availity and replaced its own electronic health information network.

In 2010, Availity said it acquired RevPoint Healthcare Technologies in Nashville and significantly invested in its infrastructure to build Availity Real-time Intelligent Exchange Service.

In 2010, it expanded its customer base to include hospitals and health systems throughout the country, exceeding 900,000 providers in its network reach.

In 2016, it agreed with Optum to implement its Advanced Claims Editor solution as part of its Health Information Network and became Optum’s exclusive clearinghouse partner.

The Project Avalanche legislative fact sheet says the company is evaluating adding jobs in Jacksonville versus two other U.S. cities where it has existing facilities.

Availity has six locations, according to its website. In addition to Jacksonville, it also operates in Indianapolis, Dallas, Nashville, Helena, Mont., and Mesa, Ariz.

The legislation, 2017-290, was introduced Tuesday and is a fast-track bill.

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