Home >  News >  January, 2017

UnitedHealth Acquires Surgical Care Affiliates in $2.3 Billion Deal

Insurance giant adds outpatient surgery chain of 205 surgical facilities to its growing roster of doctor groups and clinics.

Published: January 9, 2017

BIG BITE Surgical Care Affiliates, which serves more than 1 million patients per year in 30 states, will be combined with UnitedHealth's Optum healthcare services unit.

UnitedHealth, the biggest U.S. health insurer, has fed its growing appetite for diversification by acquiring Surgical Care Affiliates, one of the largest outpatient surgery chains in the United States. The deal, which is expected to close in the first half of 2017, is worth approximately $2.3 billion in cash and stock — small by United's standards, but significant in that it represents the company's latest attempt to diversify beyond its role as a traditional insurer to a diversified health services power.

By adding SCA to its Optum health-services arm, UnitedHealth advances its strategy of providing medical care directly to patients through primary care practices and urgent care centers. United plans to combine the surgery centers and specialty hospital, which serve about 1 million patients per year in partnership with surgeons in 30 states, with its existing care facilities and 20,000 affiliated physicians.

The transaction will create an entity that "advances the strategy of providing patient-centric access to affordable quality care," an Optum spokesperson tells Outpatient Surgery. United already partners with a number of health plans, medical groups and health systems through what the company calls "value-based payment models that reward quality, patient experience and cost efficiency."

In a statement, Andrew Hayek, the chairman and CEO of Surgical Care Affiliates, says the transaction would help independent physicians by providing "high-quality care for their patients while making health care more affordable. The combination of SCA and OptumCare is another step forward toward our vision of becoming the partner of choice for surgeons."

Jerry Sokol, a healthcare transactional attorney and a partner with McDermott Will & Emery, comments on the unlikely pairing of insurer and provider. "Historically, the typical buyers of various healthcare providers were either private equity firms or larger strategic companies engaged in the same line of business," says Mr. Sokol. "Here, recognizing the trend from inpatient to the outpatient setting in order to provide high-quality care in a lower-cost setting, you have a large payer acquiring an outpatient services provider entity. This is an important transaction and will likely signal a continued trend of strategic integration intended to reduce costs, regardless of what happens with Obamacare."

Bill Donahue

Also in the News...

Ophthalmologist Sues Over "Unconstitutional" Certificate-of-Need Process
Jury Awards $870K to Man After Surgeon Amputates Wrong Testicle
All 16 Reprocessed Ureteroscopes Tested in Study Were Still Contaminated
For Surgical Sales Reps, It's All About Bonuses and Commissions
What Caused Mold to Grow in Sterilization Sink?
Anesthesiologist: Overlapping Surgeries Led to Safety Issues and Medicare Fraud
Surgeons Will Be Obsolete in a Few Years (And They're Not the Only Ones)

New to Outpatient Surgery Magazine?
Sign-up to continue reading this article.
Register Now
Have an account? Please log in:
Email Address:
  Remember my login on this computer

advertiser banner

Other Articles That May Interest You