UnitedHealth to acquire DaVita's primary care unit for $4.9 bn

UnitedHealth to acquire DaVita's primary care unit for $4.9 bn

UnitedHealth to acquire DaVita's primary care unit for $4.9 bn

The acquisition, expected to be finalized in 2018, DaVita would add 300 primary and specialty care clinics that serve 1.7 million patients into the OptumCare division.

DaVita, with medical groups in California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Washington, will expand Optum's strategic care delivery portfolio, which includes Surgical Care Affiliates (NASDAQ:SCAI), MedExpress and HouseCalls. The group employs around 2,200 health-care providers, including doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

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DaVita Medical Group will be folded into OptumCare. The CVS combination would unite drugstores, a pharmacy-benefit manager and insurance to build an integrated health care company without a foundation of doctors. The clinics offer much of the same care available at a hospital emergency room but at a reduced cost.

Insurers are increasingly working with doctors and hospitals, experimenting with different methods of paying for care and attempting to provide better oversight of potentially expensive chronic conditions like diabetes or heart failure.

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On Wednesday, only a few days after the CVS (CVS - Free Report) and Aetna (AET - Free Report) deal helped shine a light on the quickly changing healthcare industry, UnitedHealth Group (UNH - Free Report) announced that it will buy a unit of DaVita Inc. It had become a major drag on the company's financial performance in recent quarters as it struggled with low payments from the government's Medicare Advantage program. 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.

Shares in DaVita rose 9 percent, a $193 million gain for billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who owns a 20 percent stake in the dialysis and medical group company.

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