Massachusetts regulators can't agree on effects of Optum, Atrius deal 

Massachusetts' Health Policy Commission outlined new details about OptumCare's acquisition of physicians group Atrius Health. 

The primary focus of the commission dealt with the transition of Atrius Health's nonprofit operations into OptumCare's Collaborative Care Holdings' for-profit structure. Non-clinical assets would ultimately be purchased through a management services organization while physicians would remain under a nonprofit umbrella and be contracted through the management services organization, according to the Boston Business Journal

The commission also considered whether or not the acquisition would raise healthcare prices in Massachusetts or if they should look at OptumCare's history in other states for comparison, but failed to draw a consensus either way.

There were implications that UnitedHealthcare's impact in the state through the purchase would still be less significant than that of Blue Cross Blue Shield or the newly-formed Point32Health.

"While the proposed Atrius-Optum transaction represents a significant change to the Massachusetts health care market, the HPC’s preliminary review did not uncover sufficient evidence that the transaction is likely to significantly increase health care spending or negatively impact market functioning such that a full cost and market impact review is warranted at this time," said Matthew Kitsos, Massachusetts Health Policy Commission press secretary. 

Whether or not the motion sees approval sits on the shoulders of Executive Director David Seltz. It will also have to be approved by Massachusetts' attorney general.

Negotiations have been ongoing since 2019 with an agreement reached in March. Should the acquisition go through, 1,000 Atrius Health physicians would join 53,000 physicians under OptumCare's roof.

cost and market impact review

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