Optum Buying Alere HealthWith dynamic shifts in the market, there has been a surge in integrated healthcare models. Optum, a unit of Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group Inc., has made headlines with its decision to buy Alera Health in a $600 million all-cash transaction. Alere Health is a division of Alere Inc., a provider of rapid diagnostics for infectious disease, cardiometabolic disease and toxicology and other services.

Alere Health and its subsidiaries provide condition management and health services to more than 200 regional and local health plans, scores of large employers, and 29 states, serving about 22 million individuals across the U.S. The tie-up will strengthen Optum’s portfolio of health management services to improve care delivery, modernize the health system infrastructure, and population health management.

Making the announcement, chief executive officer of Optum Larry Renfro said, “Alere Health’s expert team and proven health management solutions are a strong fit with our focus on empowering consumers to make more informed decisions, achieve healthier lifestyles and take greater ownership of their health”, said. “Adding Alere Health’s solutions and expertise allow us to be an even more valuable partner to payers, employers, federal and state governments and consumers in achieving their long-term population health and cost management goals”.

For Alere, the sale will help sharpen its strategic focus on enhancing competitiveness in the global rapid diagnostics market and improve its balance sheet.

“Combining Alere Health and Optum allows our clients to continue to receive the leading health management solutions they need today and receive even greater value in the future”, said Namal Nawana, president and CEO, Alere.

Optum recently acquired MedSynergies, a Texas company that handles billing, scheduling and other administrative services for hospitals and integrated doctor practices. MedSynergies’ clientele includes 9,300 physicians and other clinicians across 30 states.

Over the past decade, several factors have contributed to healthcare provider tie-ups. With the industry becoming increasing competitive, providers are seeking to adopt value-based reimbursement models that are designed to reward care coordination, patient safety and patient centeredness. Such mergers and acquisitions are beneficial for society at large if they meet the aims of the integrated care model – to improve clinical outcomes, reduce cost and provide a better experience for all.