UnitedHealth seeking to acquire physician-owned Oregon clinic network

UnitedHealth Group's Optum, the largest employer of physicians in the U.S., is seeking to acquire physician-owned Corvallis (Ore.) Clinic. 

Corvallis Clinic operates 11 clinic locations in the state and also owns and operates its own ASC, according to a Dec. 28 notice from the Oregon Health Authority, which is reviewing the proposed transaction. Corvallis offers primary care, behavioral health, physical therapy, telemedicine, occupational medicine, audiology, optometry, radiology and laboratory services. It is the largest multispecialty group in Oregon's mid-Willamette Valley.

According to the application submitted by Optum and the clinic, Corvallis' current "financial forecasts project material losses over the next 12 months, despite the physician-owners' 15% reduction in compensation which was put in place more than a year ago." 

"Along with ongoing losses, further instability is expected as clinicians will seek employment opportunities where they can earn more competitive compensation," the application stated. "The loss of physicians in the geographic service area would have a significant negative impact and result in decreased patient access and limit opportunities for health equity initiatives if the proposed transaction is not completed."

They said the proposed acquisition will "significantly stabilize health care services in the area and improve economic conditions faced by the business by providing material financial support and appropriate subject matter expert resources." Upon closure of the proposed transaction, Optum Oregon plans to conduct a "thorough review of Corvallis Clinic's operational challenges and workflows to identify opportunities for alignment with Optum Oregon's operational standards and efficiencies."

Optum Oregon currently provides administrative and management services for Eugene-based Oregon Medical Group, Portland-based GreenField Health and Eugene-based OHR Physician Group, according to the notice. 

The Oregon Health Authority said it will use "healthcare data, news and media reports, information from the companies and input from the public to decide whether the deal should be approved." Public feedback is being accepted until Jan. 18. 

An Optum spokesperson told Becker's, "The Corvallis Clinic and Optum share a strong commitment to providing patients with high-quality, local care with a focus on affordability and innovation. We are excited to be coming together to expand upon the exceptional health care services provided by The Corvallis Clinic to patients in the Willamette Valley."

Optum Health CEO Amar Desai, MD, said at UnitedHealth Group's Nov. 29 investor conference that Optum has nearly 90,000 employed or affiliated physicians and another 40,000 advanced practice clinicians serving tens of millions of people. 

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