Mergers and Acquisitions: UnitedHealth and Walgreens Finalizes Purchases, Data Management Sector Sees Interesting Acquisition

In this week’s news in the world of healthcare mergers and acquisitions: UnitedHealth Group has finalized its acquisition of Change Healthcare following a district court ruling in their favor, Walgreens finalized its majority stake in home healthcare company CareCentrix, and provider data management vendor Kyruus announced acquisition of patient engagement platform Epion Health.

After a federal judge ruled in the company’s favor, UnitedHealth Group has completed its acquisition of Nashville-based Change Healthcare, a $13 billion healthcare technology company. The DOJ challenged the acquisition, arguing that should the deal be allowed to move forward, it would grant UnitedHealth access to a “treasure trove of data” on other payers that it could potentially misuse to benefit its insurance arm, UnitedHealthcare. Ultimately, District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Carl Nichols issued a sealed opinion blocking the DOJ’s attempt to intervene in the case.

“The combination will connect and simplify the core clinical, administrative, and payment processes health care providers and payers depend on to serve patients. Increasing efficiency and reducing friction will benefit the entire health system, resulting in lower costs and a better experience for all stakeholders,” UnitedHealth Group said in the release.

Last October, Walgreens announced the rollout of Walgreens Health, a new business segment focused on “consumer-centric, tech-enabled healthcare” that increases the company’s capabilities in primary care, post-acute care, and home care. As a part of this move, Walgreens also announced that it was interested in acquiring a 55 percent stake in CareCentrix for $330 million; that deal was just finalized in September. CareCentrix manages care for 19 million Americans through approximately 7,400 provider locations. This is on top of Walgreen’s other recent acquisition of Shields Health Solutions, a specialty pharmacy that offers medications that are used to treat complex or rare conditions such as cancer, hepatitis, and organ transplants.

Walgreen’s majority stake acquisition in CareCentrix comes around the same time that chief competitor CVS Health acquired Signify Health, an analytics platform that helps health plans and employers with home care.

“We created Walgreens Health to reimagine local healthcare and wellbeing for all. This partnership advances our ability to address the needs of people across care settings immediately following hospital discharge,” said Roz Brewer, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a press release. “Our collaboration with CareCentrix is one of the many ways we are expanding on our pharmacy and patient expertise to surround individuals with care when and how they need it.”

Outside of the retail giant news, Kyruus announced that the provider data management vendor is acquiring patient engagement platform Epion Health. Together, the companies work with over 500 health systems and medical groups throughout the country, offering services such as provider search, scheduling, patient check-in and payment collection; Epion is best known for its customizable digital check-in tool.

“The powerful combination of our platforms will make connecting with patients easier for providers and healthcare organizations of all sizes, in all markets, driving engagement in high-quality care that is convenient, accessible and efficient,” Epion CEO Joe Blewitt said in an announcement.

Source: National Association of Health Underwriters – NAHU