AP NEWS

UnitedHealth Group division says its combining with Genoa Healthcare

September 28, 2018

UnitedHealth Groups Minnesota-based OptumRx division for pharmacy services is combining operations with a large, privately backed behavioral-health pharmacy company called Genoa Healthcare in a deal reportedly worth more than $2 billion.

Neither UnitedHealth, Genoa, nor the private equity fund that owns Genoa issued an announcement of the sensitive deal Friday morning. Bloomberg reported Thursday night that a person familiar with the deal said Minnetonkas UnitedHealth Group had paid about $2.5 billion to buy Genoa, beating other bidders like Walgreens Boots Alliance. The Bloomberg report said the source was not authorized to disclose the private talks behind the deal.

Asked Friday to confirm details from the Bloomberg report, a spokesman for OptumRx sent a two-sentence statement via e-mail:

To help better support the pharmacy needs of patients with behavioral health and substance use disorders, OptumRx is combining with Genoa Healthcare. This will help ensure improved access, health outcomes and pharmacy, telepsychiatry, and medication management experiences for consumers across the country, including Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, while helping public and private sector payers reduce their health care costs.

Based in Renton, Wash., Genoa Healthcare says it operates is the fifth-largest drug chain in America, filling 15 million prescriptions annually for more than 650,000 people at 435 full-service pharmacies. Genoas pharmacies are located in community mental health centers, where patients are often covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

They often struggle to hold down a job and maintain stable housing and reliable transportation. They need extra support to stay on complicated medication treatment plans, a fact sheet about Genoa on the companys website says. Our services are especially tailored for these challenges and are custom-designed for each individual.

Genoas methods end up achieving medication-adherance rates of more than 90 percent, decreasing ER visits by 18 percent and reducing hospitalizations by 40 percent, Genoa says.

Genoa also operates the nations largest outpatient telepsychiatry program, with operations in more than 35 states, for 125,000 people annually. And Genoa runs a medication management solutions program for high-risk health plan members who typically have at least four chronic conditions and $50,000 in annual medical costs.

Last year, Genoa acquired a St. Louis Park-based company called Medication Management Systems, Inc., which was spun out of the University of Minnesota a decade earlier. The company provided technology and services to health insurers that want to provide guidance for patients about cost-effective use of prescription drugs, based on research by pharmacists at the U on medication therapy management.

Genoa was a portfolio company of the private equity firm Advent International, which on Friday declined to comment on any sale of Genoa to UnitedHealth Group. Genoa did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

Joe Carlson 612-673-4779

AP RADIO
Update hourly