Univita now serves 5 million customers

Monday, April 23, 2012

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Univita Health in March picked up 1 million new patients and a decent chunk of the Florida market when it acquired Miami Lakes, Fla.-based All-Med Services of Florida. 

The deal brings Univita’s total number of patients to 5 million, it said in a release. Both companies have an integrated model that coordinates home health care, HME and other services for managed care and other payers.

In a state that’s seen similar contract models—most recently, CareCentrix—some stakeholders worry about the potential impact on smaller providers, says Sean Schwinghammer, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Home Care Services. 

“It’s concerning for small and medium-sized businesses that will be cut out of the market,” said Schwinghammer. “It’s also concerning that insurers are putting all their eggs in one basket, creating a company that’s too big to fail, and that patients will have no choice in the marketplace.”

The private equity-backed Univita formed in December 2008. The company made its first foray into HME with the 2010 acquisition of Atenda Healthcare Solutions in Davie, Fla. It now has locations in several states: Tennessee, California, Minnesota, Indiana, Wisconsin and Massachusetts.

There should always be room for providers who serve patients well, says provider Rene Gispert, no matter how many big players there are in the market. 

“It doesn’t matter who bought who or when they bought what,” said Gispert, owner of St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Alma Respiratory Service. “As long as you do the best job you can out there, that’s what counts. It all boils down to the service you give the patients.”

Provider Fino Randazzo says he’s concerned that the sheer volume of patients that Univita now manages could cause some managed care patients to fall through the cracks.

“When you’re taking on that kind of responsibility, I think 5 million patients is just too many for one company to handle,” said Randazzo, president and owner of Orlando-based Florida Home Health Equipment and Supplies. “You’re dealing with people’s lives. It’s not like they’re going to drop the ball on purpose, but there’s just not enough hours in the day.”