Category: Physicians

Optum buys Atrius Health. I’m quoted in the Boston Globe

published date
March 3rd, 2021 by

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.


By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

Aledade CMO Dr. Emily Maxson on Primary Care Participation in ACOs

published date
February 11th, 2021 by

Emily Maxson Aledade
Dr. Emily Maxson

As the daughter of an infertility specialist, Emily Maxson grew up with a strong understanding of medicine and an appreciation for the role of specialists. But she also learned about the challenge of access and the importance of primary care. As a primary care physician and Chief Medical Officer of Aledade, Emily helps independent primary care physicians participate in accountable care organizations, preserve their independence and financial viability, and boost quality and access for patients.

In this episode of the HealthBiz podcast, Emily and I discuss the role of primary care, how physicians have fared during the pandemic, the interaction of technology adoption and reimbursement, and Emily’s predictions –or hopes– for the future.

She recommends two books: Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries by Peter Sims and Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

The HealthBiz podcast is available on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts and  many more services. Please consider rating the podcast on Apple Podcasts. Doing so helps the podcast reach more listeners.

Check out the rough (AI generated) transcript.


By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

Optum looks to acquire Atrius Health. I’m quoted in the Boston Business Journal

published date
January 13th, 2021 by

Word on the street is that Optum wants to acquire Atrius Health, a non-profit 700-physician group. Optum, a subsidiary of the for-profit UnitedHealth Group, is the biggest employer of primary care physicians in the country, according to the Boston Business Journal (Atrius Health, state’s largest independent physician group, is in acquisition talks)

Here’s what I told the Journal:

“As a physician-led organization, Atrius can make a strong impact on healthcare quality and cost,” said David Williams, president of the Health Business Group, a Boston-based consulting firm. “But they need a strong balance sheet to play against (the state’s largest hospital groups) Mass General Brigham and BI Lahey. With backing from Optum, Atrius will be able to be a strong force in Eastern Massachusetts and have the ability to enter into meaningful, value-based contracts with private insurers, Medicare and Medicaid.”

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

The 30 Years’ War for value-based care: Podcast with Archway’s Dave Terry

published date
October 22nd, 2020 by

When Dave Terry started his career in healthcare three decades ago, he noticed something odd and disturbing. The fee-for-service model meant doctors were paid for quantity, not for quality or cost effectiveness. Since then he’s been working to do something about it: for the first twenty years at American Practice Management, then Partners Healthcare and Harborside Healthcare. He made progress, but also learned the limitations of acting against entrenched interests.

For the last decade he’s gotten even more serious, co-founding Remedy Partners in the wake of the Affordable Care Act and then Archway Health, where he is CEO. Archway helps physicians jump into the meaningful risk-based payment models that are finally on offer from the Feds and private carriers.

I compared Dave’s quest to the Thirty Years’ War, but reminded him that there was a Hundred Years’ War, too, so he better gird himself.

The HealthBiz podcast is now on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts and  many more services, making it easy to subscribe.


By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group

iPhone and iPad in healthcare: Podcast with DrChrono’s Daniel Kivatinos

published date
October 8th, 2020 by

The HealthBiz podcast is now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and  many more services, making it easy to subscribe.

Kivatinos photo
Daniel Kivatinos

Like many healthcare entrepreneurs, Daniel Kivatinos was a tech guy whose bad personal experience with the healthcare system led him to try to make things better. The founding of DrChrono a decade ago coincided with the birth of the iPad and iPhone, and the company has been closely linked to Apple hardware ever since. In fact, Daniel is such a hardcore Apple guy that he recommends buying two Apple watches so you can wear one while the other is charging!

In this edition of the HealthBiz podcast, Daniel charts the history of DrChrono and shares what’s coming next with the Apple Watch, artificial intelligence and more.


By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group