Amazon, Optum, CVS, Walmart and Walgreens: Top contenders in the race to acquire physicians

As physicians move away from private practice toward employment models, five major healthcare disruptors have been making waves in the race to acquire them. 


Last year, Amazon closed on a deal to buy primary care company One Medical for $3.9 billion, giving the company access to more than 200 brick-and-mortar physicians offices and roughly 815,000 One Medical members.

One Medical has since formed collaborations with Edison, N.J.-based Hackensack Meridian Health and Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health's Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, allowing specialists from both health systems to deliver care to Amazon's primary care patients. Amazon has 221 One Medical primary care offices in more than 20 markets.

CVS Health

CVS Health is focusing on primary care. In May, CVS closed on its $11.5 billion acquisition of Chicago-based primary care organization Oak Street Health. By 2026, CVS Health expects to have more than 300 locations. In March, it completed an $8 billion acquisition of Signify Health, adding 10,000 clinicians. CVS and Signify said they intend to work to lower costs and improve patient care, engagement and access, with a focus on Medicare Advantage customers.

The group has 1,100 MinuteClinic locations in 36 states and Washington, D.C. With the Oak Street deal, CVS Health also has more than 130 primary care clinics


UnitedHealth Group's Optum added nearly 20,000 physicians in 2023, bringing its total to 90,000 affiliated physicians. The country's largest employer of physicians, Optum has 2,200 primary and specialty care offices in 16 states.

Optum is also looking to acquire Baton Rouge, La.-based Amedisys, a home health and hospice provider for $3.3 billion. In February, Optum acquired Middletown, N.Y.-based multispecialty physician group Crystal Run Healthcare and closed on a multimillion-dollar deal to acquire home health and hospice company LHC Group. 

The company is also eyeing the acquisition of the physician-owned Corvallis (Ore.) Clinic, which operates 11 locations and an ASC. 


Walgreens-owned VillageMD is another contender in the race to acquire physicians, despite planning to close 60 clinic locations to cut costs. In January 2023, the company closed on its acquisition of Summit Health and its roughly 400 primary care and urgent care clinics, giving VillageMD nearly 700 practices around the county and an additional 2,800 providers.

As of March, the group has 680 VillageMD locations, including 200 clinics co-located with Walgreens and 170 third-party clinics at its stores.


Walmart Health has nearly 50 locations providing primary, behavioral and dental care. In September, Bloomberg reported Walmart is interested in purchasing majority ownership in primary care company ChenMed. If the deal is finalized, Walmart would have ownership in the company's more than 100 health centers in 15 states. 

In November, Walmart named its first health system partner, Orlando (Fla.) Health. That partnership will work on care coordination for patients at Walmart's eight healthcare centers in the Orlando area. 

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