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Focus on post-acute care circles HME

Focus on post-acute care circles HME

Recently, I wrote about the news that Humana has contracted with AdaptHealth and Rotech Healthcare to provide HME products and services to its Medicare Advantage HME members. 

Now, another giant health care company is making waves in the HME industry: Optum, which has been a subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare since 2011 and which earlier this year bought LHC Group for a reported $5.4 billion. 

LHC Group has 30,000 employees delivering home health, hospice, home- and community-based services, and facility-based care from 964 locations in 37 states and the District of Columbia – reaching 60% of the U.S. population aged 65 and older. It says it’s the preferred in-home health care partner for 435 leading hospitals around the country. 

Consider that – as well as Optum’s stake as a pharmacy benefit manager and, through Change Healthcare, a revenue cycle management company – as we get back to the HME angle. 

While we were putting the finishing touches on this issue, Optum made an unsolicited bid to buy Amedisys, which has about 18,000 employees in 522 care centers in 37 states and the District of Columbia, delivering care to the doorsteps of more than 455,000 patients in need every year and performing more than 11.2 million visits annually. 

That HME angle? Well, Option Care Health in May announced a merger with Amedisys (one that values Amedisys at $3.6 billion, mind you). 

An industry analyst told us: “It is clear that the major players are focused in the subacute opportunities.” 

Will Optum prevail? Amedisys, which entered into a confidentiality agreement with Optum on May 30 and is currently engaging in exploratory discussions with the company, says “there can be no assurance that the discussions with Optum will result in a transaction” and that the merger with Option Care is still in effect.    

Option Care stands by its bid for Amedisys and it’s worth noting, the analyst says, that the company is majority owned by Madison Dearborn Partners, a private equity firm, and until recently was minority owned by Walgreens Boots Alliance. In March, Walgreens sold $15.5 million of its Option Care shares at $30.75, reducing its ownership from 14% to 6%, and then in June, the company sold its remaining shares

Could Option Care get pulled into an Optum-Amedisys deal? “Stranger things have happened,” the analyst said. 

The matter could very likely be settled by the time this issue hits mailboxes – “I do not think it will be protracted negotiations, at this point,” the analyst said. 

But what is clear, even now, is that those “subacute opportunities” that large health care companies are focused on are inching closer and closer to HME.


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