More on Mergers & Acquisitions

Anthem buys palliative care provider Aspire Health

The deal signals another move by an insurer to get into the provider business for more integrated care to lower costs.

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

Anthem will acquire Aspire Health, one of the nation's largest non-hospice, community-based palliative care providers.

The deal signals another move by an insurer to get into the provider business for more integrated care to lower costs.

"Anthem is focused on enhancing our ability to offer innovative, integrated clinical care models that can improve the quality of healthcare and deliver better outcomes," said Gail Boudreaux, president and CEO of Anthem. 

"Several studies have repeatedly demonstrated how advanced illness programs can provide high patient and family satisfaction, reduce hospitalization, and decrease costs," Aspire Health CEO Brad Smith said.  

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Aspire was founded in 2013 by Smith and former U.S. Senator and physician William Frist.

Aspire currently provides services under contracts with more than 20 health plans to consumers in 25 states. It uses proprietary predictive clinical and claims-based patient algorithms to identify patients with a serious illness who may benefit from an extra support. 

Once patients are identified, Aspire assigns a comprehensive care team that includes physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers and chaplains. The team works in an integrated approach to address symptom management, patient-family communication, advance care planning and to coordinate care with other medical professionals including primary care, specialty care and in-home care providers. 

The company also offers around-the-clock support to patients, including nurse practitioner home visits.

The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018 subject to regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to be neutral to earnings in 2018 and accretive to earnings in 2019.

"Aspire Health shares our perspective on the increasingly important role of integrated care and has built a unique model that provides palliative care and support services for patients and their families," Boudreaux said. "With the addition of Aspire Health to Anthem's other clinical care assets such as CareMore Health and AIM, we will be able to offer our consumers, customers, and other health plan and provider partners a broader array of programs and services that meet their diverse needs and drive future growth opportunities for our company."

Last year, Anthem bought provider Health Sun in Florida, which has a base of Medicare Advantage members.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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