Healthcare Dealmakers—Advocate Aurora, Atrium's $27B merger; Centene's $2.8B pharmacy sell-offs and more

Healthcare mergers and acquisitions are in no short supply as providers, health tech companies, payers and other industry players look to expand their businesses and gain a competitive edge. Here’s a roundup of new deals that were revealed, closed, rumored or called off during the month of May.


Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health unveiled merger plans combining their organizations into a six-state, 67-hospital nonprofit juggernaut. If approved, the combined organization (Advocate Health) would become one of the country’s largest health systems with more than $27 billion of combined revenues, 5.5 million annual patients and 148,000 employees. Plans to combine the two systems have been approved by the boards of each and are now pending regulatory review.

Centura Health wrapped up the acquisitions of St. Elizabeth Hospital (formerly Colorado Plains Medical Center) and St. Catherine Hospital – Dodge City (formerly Western Plains Medical Complex). The Colorado and Kansas hospitals represent the system’s eighteenth and nineteenth hospitals and will become part of Centura’s Catholic ministries with CommonSpirit Health. Terms of the deals were not disclosed, although Centura said that all employees in good standing were hired as of the transaction’s May 1 close.

RWJBarnabas Health and Saint Peter’s Healthcare System’s proposed integration took a step forward in May when it received the blessing of New Jersey regulators. The organizations are now awaiting final approval from the Federal Trade Commission before moving ahead with the deal, which they say would form the state’s “first premier academic medical center.”

Dartmouth Health and GraniteOne Health called off plans to merge following opposition from New Hampshire’s attorney general. The two systems had signed a letter of intent in January 2019 to form an eight-hospital nonprofit health system they said would increase care access across the state’s southern and rural regions. The attorney general’s office blocked the deal after an investigation suggested a merger would remove competition and raise prices.

Universal Health Services will acquire the remaining 20% interest in George Washington University Hospital from George Washington University for an undisclosed sum, making the health system the sole owner of the academic medical center. A certificate of need for the restructured partnership was submitted to the District of Columbia’s State Health Planning and Development Agency on May 31.

Piedmont Urgent Care by WellStreet has acquired 10 urgent care locations from SmartCare. The joint venture’s new additions are located across Georgia and will be rebranded as Piedmont Urgent Care clinics. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

VillageMD, a value-based primary care services provider, announced the acquisition of Bandera Family Medical Group, a three-practice primary care group in Texas.


Centene announced plans to sell off two of its pharmacy subsidiaries: Magellan Rx to pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics and PANTHERx to The Vistria Group, General Atlantic and Nautic Partners. The two transactions are expected to bring $2.8 billion into the payer’s coffers, which it plans to use to buy back stock and reduce debt. Centene had announced last year that it planned to exit the pharmacy benefit management space as part of its ongoing value-creation effort and strategic review of its business.

Anthem closed its acquisition of Integra Managed Care, a New York-based long-term care plan. The purchase brings more than 40,000 Medicaid members into Anthem’s business, with Integra’s team joining Anthem’s government business division. Terms were not disclosed for the deal first announced in November 2021.

SCAN Group, the parent company of SCAN Health Plan, acquired in-home clinical care provider The Residentialist Group. SCAN said it plans to merge the company’s operations with HealthCHEC, its own in-home care program, to form a new medical practice called Homebase Medical that will serve Scan Health Plan members as well as the members of other health plans. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

LHC Group’s planned merger with UnitedHealth Group’s Optum is facing opposition from a LHC Group shareholder who filed a lawsuit alleging a Securities and Exchange Commission filing was “misleading” as it did not fully disclose information critical to the deal, such as financial estimates and potential conflicts of interest. The suit seeks an injunction that would prevent the merger unless such information is released to shareholders and, should the deal close, the plaintiff could seek to recover rescissory damages.


Clearwater Compliance, a healthcare-focused cybersecurity, compliance and risk management solutions firm, has agreed to acquire rival firm CynergisTek. After the merger, CynergisTek will be taken private as a subsidiary of Clearwater, a move that “will allow the combined entity to be more agile with greater flexibility to continue investing in innovation with the opportunity to scale as a managed service provider expanding and enhancing its service portfolio,” CynergisTek’s CEO said. The all-cash deal values CynergisTek at $17.7 million and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022.

Lightbeam Health Solutions, a population health management company, has scooped up Jvion and its AI-powered predictive analytics capabilities. While the companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal, Lightbeam said it expects the acquisition will help flesh out its proactive and preventive capabilities for payer and provider partners.

National Medical Billing Services, a healthcare revenue cycle management (RCM) company targeting the surgical market, acquired anesthesia, ambulatory surgical center and pain management-focused RCM firm Medi-Corp for an undisclosed sum.

Office Ally, maker of electronic clearinghouse and other healthcare software, acquired fellow healthcare software firm Bluemark for an undisclosed sum. With its specialty in developing revenue integrity and Medicaid enrollment solutions for hospitals, health systems, nursing homes and community-based organizations, Office Ally said acquiring Bluemark will help expand its product set and offer customers an integrated suite of software spanning self-pay management and Medicaid enrollment.