DaVita Medical, Optum deal held up by more FTC questions

DaVita and OptumHealth expect the closing of their deal would be delayed by 30 days due to additional questions from the FTC. (Image: Pixabay)

UnitedHealth Group subsidiary OptumHealth’s plans to acquire dialysis giant DaVita Inc.’s medical group division are on hold again because of additional questions from the Federal Trade Commission.

DaVita and OptumHealth disclosed that the FTC requested more information from DaVita on March 12, per the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Act. It did not provide any more specifics other than to say the closing of the deal would be delayed by 30 days. DaVita said it still expects the deal to close this year.

RELATED: Optum’s $4.9B deal to buy DaVita Medical Group further expands UnitedHealth’s care delivery portfolio

The $4.9 billion sale of the DaVita Medical Group to OptumHealth was announced last December. The medical services division of DaVita, one of the two big dialysis providers in the U.S., includes 300 clinics in the western United States, 35 urgent care centers and six ambulatory surgical centers. The sites treat 1.7 million patients per year. However, it has been losing money, prompting DaVita to put the non-core business on the block.

At the time the deal was announced, OptumHealth CEO Andrew Hayek commented that “the physicians and clinicians of DaVita Medical Group provide outstanding patient care, and we look forward to supporting their continued success in serving their patients and communities. We also look forward to working closely with the leadership team of DaVita Medical Group to combine our capabilities and, supported by the data analytics and technology capabilities of Optum, enhancing patient care and the value we provide to the communities we serve.”

RELATED: Regulatory changes and technology demands will drive physician practice mergers and acquisitions in 2018

Once the deal closes, DaVita Medical Group will become part of OptumHealth’s OptumCare division. It currently works with more than 80 health plans, 30,000 affiliated physicians and hundreds of care facilities.

DaVita, which had acquired the medical group as part of its merger with HealthCare Partners in 2012, said it would use the proceeds from the deal to repurchase shares and retire debt. DaVita dropped HealthCare partners from its name several years ago.