Centene CEO: Physician acquisition spree not in playbook

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UnitedHealth Group, Humana and other national health insurers may be on a provider acquisition spree, but Centene Corp.'s CEO said acquiring clinics and physician practices is not part of its strategy, according to a Forbes report.

While Centene signed a definitive agreement to buy Community Medical Group, an at-risk primary care provider serving 70,000 government-insured beneficiaries in Florida, the health insurer's CEO told analysts during Centene's second quarter earnings call the acquisition is "scalable," but not the new norm.

"We're not out there buying all the practices we can and all the clinics that we can," Centene CEO Michael Neidorff said. He later added: "We are not trying to buy clinics and have clinics in every market. We are focused where they're needed or where there's a group of physicians that are now going to work with it."

Centene's comment comes as its rival UnitedHealth's Optum recently picked up DaVita Medical Group for $5 billion in cash, according to Forbes. Likewise, Humana and two private equity firms finalized agreements to purchase two providers offering outpatient, home care and hospice services: Curo Health and Kindred Healthcare.

Centene told analysts it will focus on increasing access to its Medicare Advantage and ACA individual marketplace plans.

More articles on payer issues:
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Horizon BCBS consultant's report reveals CEO downplayed cost in OMNIA selection
Centene revenue climbs to $14.2B

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