UnitedHealth to acquire home health provider LHC Group in $5B deal

UnitedHealth Group will acquire home healthcare provider LHC Group for $170 per share in cash, or about $5.4 billion, the healthcare giant announced Tuesday.

When the deal closes, UnitedHealth will fold LHC into its Optum subsidiary as part of its Optum Health arm, which is one of the country's largest employers of physicians. LHC Group includes some 30,000 employees who provide more than 12 million in-home services each year.

Optum Health providers work with more than 100 health insurers.

“LHC Group’s sophisticated care coordination capabilities and its warm, human touch is so important for home care, and will greatly enhance the reach of Optum’s value-based capabilities along the full continuum of care, including primary care, home and community care, virtual care, behavioral health and ambulatory surgery,” said Wyatt Decker, M.D., CEO of Optum Health, in a statement.

“We greatly admire how the people of LHC Group have created a culture that enables them to be a trusted health care partner to patients and their families when they need it the most, and we look forward to working with and learning from them," Decker said.

The merger would unite LHC's home health expertise with Optum Health's experience in value-based care. Leadership at LHC will continue under Optum.

The companies expect the deal to close in the second half of 2022.

“Since our founding in 1994, ‘it’s all about helping people’ has been the core of our mission, and as part of the Optum team and its value-based capabilities, we will be able to expand our patient-centered mission and help drive best care practices across the country,” said Keith Myers, LHC Group’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. “Working together as organizations committed to caring for the most vulnerable in society will help us more effectively and efficiently deliver high quality and increasingly value-based care in the home.”

The news comes on the heels of reports that Optum would acquire Refresh Mental Health to bolster its reach in the behavioral health space.

The company's purchase of Change Healthcare has also stalled in recent weeks following the Department of Justice's suit to block the massive—and controversial—deal.