Optum To Buy DaVita Medical Group For About $4.9 Bln In Cash

Optum To Buy DaVita Medical Group For About $4.9 Bln In Cash

UnitedHealth's Optum health-services arm has been building up its roster of physician practices, clinics and surgery centers with years of mostly under-the-radar acquisitions, but DaVita's group represents its highest-profile deal so far in the doctor business.

The proposed deal comes on the heels of news of another big insurer, Aetna, and its plans to merge with CVS Health. "The combination of DaVita Medical Group and Optum should lead to even higher levels of performance".

Reuters reported last month that DaVita was exploring a sale of its medical unit.

"We also look forward to working closely with the leadership team of DaVita Medical Group to combine our capabilities and, supported by the data analytics and technology capabilities of Optum, enhancing patient care and the value we provide to the communities we serve". The company expects to perform roughly 1 million surgeries and other procedures this year.

While these new partnerships promise to change how people get care by marshaling better information about patients and steering them to less expensive and more convenient places, whether an urgent-care clinic or drugstore, delivering on that promise may prove challenging.

The nation's biggest health insurer is spending almost $5 billion to buy hundreds of clinics, just three days after rival Aetna announced a tie up with CVS Health.

Kidney-care provider DaVita had previously said that it was "pursuing strategic alternatives" for its physician operation, which has had bumpy financial results and recently surprised investors by driving down earnings for DaVita, which recorded a net loss in the third quarter. That deal, which also requires regulatory approval, would give Aetna more direct access to patients at CVS' MinuteClinics and allow the two organizations to build expanded "health hubs" in CVS stores.