Humana uniting healthcare services under CenterWell brand with an eye on growth

The staff of the CenterWell senior-focused healthcare center in Spartanburg, South Carolina (Humana)

Humana is consolidating much of its health services business under a new name: CenterWell.

The insurer expects to bring most of its healthcare service providers under the brand over the next two years, the company said in an announcement provided first to Fierce Healthcare. The first groups to adopt the new branding will be the Orlando-based Family Physician Group and the multistate Partners in Primary Care.

Reneé Buckingham, segment president of Humana’s care delivery organization, told Fierce Healthcare that after making strategic investments in its health services, the insurer felt it was time to better align the disparate groups it operates.

The logo for Humana's CenterWell
(Humana)

"We felt like it was time now that we harmonized the service offerings, both clinically and operationally, to bring them under one brand," Buckingham said.

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The first wave of facilities to be brought under the CenterWell brand includes Partners in Primary Care's 41 locations and 24 centers under Family Physician Group, Humana said. The centers are located throughout Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas and are payer-agnostic, treating patients from a number of Medicare Advantage plans.

The centers offer senior-centered primary care, a value-based and coordinated approach that's centered around the needs of older patients, Buckingham said. Humana targets communities where seniors may not otherwise have access to coordinated care, she said.

"There is the need in almost every community across the country," she said.

As such, the insurer sees significant opportunity to grow with its primary care and health service offerings. For the provider groups first coming under the CenterWell umbrella, they opened 15 new centers in 2020 and there are up to 20 opening this year and into early 2022, Humana said.

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It will also be adding Georgia as a market in 2021, with four to six new clinics opening in the Atlanta area. Conviva, a group of about 90 clinics operated by Humana in South Florida and South Texas, will not join CenterWell, though Buckingham said internal "linkages" will allow the two to coordinate.

Vertical integration is the name of the game for larger insurers nationally, especially as the demand for value-based care grows. Owning the providers directly allows payers to more effectively build and design those arrangements, experts say.

Payers are snapping up providers to get in on this trend. Beyond Humana, for example, UnitedHealth Group's Optum is one of the largest employers of physicians in the country with its OptumCare provider network.

Buckingham said that as Humana aims to bring more of its health services into the CenterWell fold, it will be focusing on ensuring that the patient sees a seamless, coordinated experience.

"We’ve thought through all the connection points from the patient and member perspective, so we’re going to take our time," she said. "We’re not going to to rush."