CVS Health recently confirmed it will acquire primary care company Oak Street Health in an all-cash deal worth $10.6 billion.
Suzi Cunningham, administrator of Advanced Ambulatory Surgery Center in Redlands, Calif., joined Becker's to discuss the consolidation trends she is monitoring.
Editor's note: These responses were edited lightly for brevity and clarity.
Question: What consolidation trends are you eyeing?
Suzi Cunningham: I can't help but notice the consolidation occurring amongst the payers. We have major payers that now (indirectly) own medical groups, independent physician associations, hospitals, pharmacies, etc. … It has been argued that the consolidation will drive improvements in care coordination and increase efficiencies, but what I see are companies buying up their competition and thereby creating greater power in their market.
The CVS purchase of Oak Street will undoubtedly result in CVS seeking to extract $800 million in profits that were intended for healthcare services. This underscores the fundamental problem where there is now a very troublesome expansion of for-profit corporations looking at patients as sources of revenue and profit and not as humans in need of care.