Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

UnitedHealth Spending $5B To Buy Hundreds Of Clinics

UnitedHealth Spending $5B To Buy Hundreds Of Clinics

The insurer will acquire almost 300 clinics that serve about 1.7 million patients, as well as 35 urgent-care centers and six surgery centers.

UnitedHealth has said Optum aims to provide primary care and ambulatory services in 75 markets, representing about two-thirds of the USA population. This follows Monday's major healthcare merger announcement between CVS Health (CVS) and Aetna (AET), and has DVA stock set to open at its highest point since August. The group employs around 2,200 health-care providers, including doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. The CVS combination would unite drugstores, a pharmacy-benefit manager and insurance to build an integrated health care company without a foundation of doctors.

DaVita Medical Group runs almost 300 primary and specialty care clinics in several states.

Reuters reported last month that DaVita was exploring a sale of its medical unit. The clinics offer much of the same care available at a hospital emergency room but at a reduced cost.

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UnitedHealth is little changed near $220.10 on the news.

DaVita's medical unit had been a significant drag on the company's financial performance in recent quarters.

Consumers could also see their choice of doctor or pharmacy sharply limited under these arrangements as insurers attempt to steer patients into the groups over which they have the most control. DaVita's largest business is kidney care, through the 2,470 outpatient dialysis centers that it runs or provides administrative services to across the US, serving more than 200,000 patients a year. Both Aetna and UnitedHealth insist their goal is to develop a new model of care that will be available to people outside their respective health plans, and Optum says it now works with more than 80 health plans.

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