United Health’s Optum is purchasing Atrius Health, an independent physician organization in Massachusetts. Atrius has struggled to compete against the huge hospital systems in the state, even though its physician-led approach is more cost effective. Optum’s heft may level the playing field.
I’m quoted in the Boston Globe (Physicians group Atrius Health plans to join Optum, giving a national operation a bigger Mass. footprint)
David E. Williams, president of the consulting firm Health Business Group, said joining Optum would allow Atrius to more aggressively compete with Mass General Brigham (formerly Partners HealthCare) and Beth Israel Lahey.
“With Optum’s backing, Atrius should be able to level the playing field,” he said. “Optum’s ownership will make Atrius less responsive to local needs, but the tradeoff will be worth it if it means Atrius can compete effectively with Partners and BI Lahey.”
Ideally Atrius would stay independent but I don’t thin that’s independent. The company has been losing ground as BI Lahey and MGH Brigham continue their aggressive consolidation of the market. Going with Optum seems like the smartest option for Atrius and the best for the state.March 3, 2021