Will CVS, Amazon and Walgreens deals shift the U.S. healthcare system to a value-based care model?

Amazon, CVS and Walgreens are investing millions of dollars into primary care practices as part of a push to shift the U.S. healthcare system to a value-based care model, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 2. 

The healthcare disruptors have made headlines in recent months as their deals — One Medical, Signify Health and Summit Health — are shifting the way the $4 trillion healthcare market operates. 

Right now, the healthcare market mostly operates as a fee-for-service model, but these deals are putting an emphasis on value-based care, according to the Journal. The value-based care model pays patients for staying healthy, while the fee-for service model pays medical providers for each service performed. 

The fee-for-service model has been criticized for incentivizing healthcare providers to recommend more services in order to receive payment. But Walgreens, Amazon and CVS tapping into the growing value-based care model could shift that paradigm into prioritizing patient health and reducing the amount of time patients spend in hospitals. 

Healthcare experts still have concerns about the value-based care model. According to the Journal, experts fear that patients may be delayed in seeing specialists. 

In addition, there is also a shortage of primary-care physicians, which creates a significant barrier to creating a value-based care model. 

But this is one of the many reasons healthcare disruptors are pouring in millions of dollars into primary care practices. 

UnitedHealthCare's Optum has been acquiring private practices that can provide care virtually, at home and on site. With acquisitions like this, healthcare disruptors are prioritizing keeping care out of the hospitals in order to lower costs — which in turn would incentivize improving patient outcomes. 

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