US: FTC approves UnitedHealth’s $4.3 billion DaVita buy

Federal regulators approved UnitedHealth’s $4.3 billion purchase of DaVita’s physician group with the condition that theUnitedHealth sell one of its newly purchased health-care provider organizations in Nevada.

The Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday UnitedHealth has agreed to divest a primary-care practice in the Las Vegas region known as HealthCare Partners Nevada to Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare.

UnitedHealth’s proposed deal to acquire one of the nation’s biggest doctor groups was announced in December 2017, the same week as pharmacy giant CVS Health Corp.agreed to buy insurer Aetna Inc.

DaVita bought medical group HealthCare in 2012 for $4.42 billion in a deal that diversified it away from its core kidney-care business. At the time, HealthCare Partners was the largest US operator of physician groups and networks. DaVita later expanded it.

The FTC alleged the UnitedHealth-DaVita deal would create a monopoly in the Las Vegas area and that the combination would have resulted in higher health-care costs and weaker competition for on quality, services and other amenities.

UnitedHealth’s Optum health-services arm said in a statement that with DaVita Medical Group, it will serve a combined 16 million patients. DaVita Medical Group had about 763,000 members in various states at the end of 2017, according to the company’s latest proxy.

“Together we will improve patient health and experiences while lowering costs across the continuum of care—including primary, specialty, urgent and surgical care,” said Andrew Witty, CEO of Optum, in a statement.

Following the deal with UnitedHealth, DaVita will continue to operate its kidney-care services business. DaVita serves 203,500 patients at 2,689 outpatient dialysis centers in the U.S. and operates 234 dialysis centers in nine other countries.

Full Content: Wall Street Journal

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