Can the New Health Care Mega Mergers Succeed?

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<p>"Is free-market magic finally bringing Amazon-style convenience, quality, and efficiency to health care?” asks David Blumenthal, M.D., in an essay published yesterday in <em>Harvard Business Review.</em></p><p>To answer this question, Dr. Blumenthal, the Commonwealth Fund’s president, looks at the recently announced CVS-Aetna and UnitedHealth-DaVita mergers. Both arrangements join a large health care services provider with a national insurer, as do large nonprofit health care systems like Kaiser Permanente and Intermountain Healthcare.</p>
<p>Whether these new entities will succeed, however, is all in the details, Blumenthal says. In the case of CVS-Aetna, having more than a thousand local stores around the country is advantageous, but CVS will have to reshape those stores into full clinics with exam rooms and labs. Additionally, the clinics will have to coordinate seamlessly with primary care providers, specialists, and other health professionals — “something that daily confounds even the most experienced, long-time, care-delivery systems,” Blumenthal notes.</p>
<p>In contrast, DaVita already has 2,000 primary care providers and specialists in medical clinics, urgent-care centers, and outpatient surgery sites in six states, removing one challenge for UnitedHealth. But will the new entity be able to develop the “culture of trust, collaboration, and value orientation” needed for UnitedHealth to grow into a national system?</p> Read more