UnitedHealth Continues Healthcare Shakeup With DaVita Deal

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DaVita Medical Group will be folded into OptumCare.

The recorded sales of DaVita's physician network is $4.11 billion past year and had become a major drag on the company's financial performance in recent quarters.

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The company announced this morning that DaVita Medical Group will join Optum's physician-led primary, specialty, in-home, urgent- and surgery-care delivery services business as part of a deal expected to close in 2018 pending regulatory approval. DaVita Medical Group serves about 1.7 million patients per year through almost 300 medical clinics featuring primary and specialist care. This business serves about 1.7 million patients each year through almost 300 clinics. For example, if a consultant company or medical service group is owned by a parent insurance company, where does a business allegiance lie? "We also expect to pursue other investments in health care services outside of kidney care". The company already operates medical practices in Southern California and elsewhere, and it owns almost 250 MedExpress urgent-care clinics.

The announcement of the sale of DaVita Medical Group comes less than one month after CEO Kent Thiry said during an earnings call that he would consider divesting the unit that includes some 30,000 physicians after years of disappointing returns. The clinics offer much of the same care available at a hospital emergency room but at a reduced cost. The group employs around 2,200 health-care providers, including doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

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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.

Earlier this year, Optum closed its $2.3 billion acquisition of Surgical Care Affiliates Inc., a major surgical company.

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Thiry said that DaVita will continue to focus on its USA and global kidney care businesses and plans to pursue other investments in healthcare services outside of kidney care.

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