UnitedHealth Group to buy Seattle primary care clinic

UnitedHealth Group will acquire a controlling stake in Polyclinic, a large physician-owned primary and specialty care clinic in Seattle — the latest move in the company's push to expand its direct patient care business, according to The Seattle Times.

Under the deal, Polyclinic's 210-physician practice would merge with Optum Health, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth. The Optum business manages physician groups around the country.

Polyclinic was founded in 1917 by six Seattle physicians and has grown to become one of the largest multispecialty groups in the nation. Despite its ability to scale in size, the practice found it hard to compete with other Seattle area healthcare providers such as Swedish Medical Center and the University of Washington Medical Center.

By merging with Optum,  Polyclinic will be able to tackle "the things that you just need to be big enough to afford to do," UnitedHealth Group CEO David Wichmann told investors during a meeting in New York, according to the Times.

The deal also will expand the clinic's access to technologies and other physician groups within Optum.

The  acquisition needs approval from the Federal Trade Commission and would supplement a separate deal with DaVita Medical Group to acquire the 500-physician Everett Clinic, a primary and specialty clinic based in Seattle, and Northwest Physicians Network, a 1,000-plus physician practice in Pierce County, Wash.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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