UnitedHealth Group CEO Offers Update on Amedisys Deal: ‘We’re Now in The Very Early Stages of That Process’

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) has been relatively quiet on its strategic plans with Amedisys (NASDAQ: AMED), which it is in the process of acquiring via its subsidiary, Optum. The company shed some light on how the home health and hospice asset will fit into its overall scope of services Friday, however.

Optum announced plans to acquire the massive home health and hospice provider Amedisys for $3.3 billion in June.

“We’re obviously very pleased to have come to an agreement on the transaction with Amedisy, so we appreciate that,” UnitedHealth Group CEO Andrew Witty said Friday during a Q2 earnings call. “But as you’d expect, we’re now in the very early stages of that process, and it wouldn’t be appropriate to talk about anything specific in that regard. As far as the specifics are concerned, I think we’ll now go through our regular kind of process, and we’ll update you as appropriate, but [there’s] probably not much more to say today.”


UnitedHealth Group executives briefly touched on how the recent acquisition of Amedisys — and its $5.4 billion purchase of LHC Group in February — fit into its home-based and hospice care models.

All told, hospice and home health will be important pieces of UnitedHealth Group’s strategic focus. Amedisys and LHC Group offer critical services that aging populations need, according to Witty.

“[Taking it a] level higher up, it’s no secret that we’re very strong believers in the value of home health,” Witty said. “And no secret that we believe in the value of home health capabilities, when combined with other activities in terms of wrapping care around patients. [It] is a really important element of future value-based care — particularly as you speak towards complex patients, many of whom maybe struggled to get out of the home.”


UnitedHealth Group revenues reached $92.9 billion during the second quarter, representing a 16% year-over-year increase. Primary growth drivers included rises in outpatient care activity, primarily among seniors, according to John Rex, executive vice president and CFO.

Optum’s health service businesses brought in $56.3 billion in Q2, a jump from $45.1 billion during the same period last year.

The company indicated a focus on building out care delivery models with supportive services around the needs of a swelling aging population.

Services that fall within the range of senior care include home health, hospice, palliative and behavioral health, among others, according to Rex.

“In terms of behavioral health, and what we’ve noticed in behavioral, is an increase in the number of people accessing care. It’s a common, but a very, very significant increase even just since a year ago in terms of the number of people that are looking to access care,” he said. “We are planning on that continuing. We don’t see why that trend slows down. So we’re designing benefits for that to continue. Behavioral health resides within Optum’s health [services], and so that’s kind of the impact that we see in that component.”

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