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CVS Health eyes Signify Health acquisition—here’s what it means for retail primary care

The news: CVS Health plans to bid for value-based care (VBC) healthcare analytics company Signify Health this week, per WSJ. Other managed-care providers and private equity firms are also bidding for the company.

How we got here: During its latest earnings call, CVS Health CEO Karen Lynch said the company plans to pursue M&As to advance its primary care reach.

That’s not surprising. One month ago, CVS reportedly approached primary care disruptor One Medical for a sale. Talks never materialized, though. Shortly after, Amazon swooped in and bought One Medical for nearly $4 billion.

CVS could be eyeing Signify Health as an alternative to One Medical.

  • The VBC entrant recently decided to sell its business after exiting the CMS’ bundled payments program.
  • That means Signify Health is up for grabs, and could be an easy target for acquisition.

2 ways a Signify purchase would boost CVS’ primary care strategy:

1. Expanding CVS’ physician network—a core component of CVS Health’s retail strategy.

Signify Health acquired accountable care organization Caravan Health in February 2022. As a result, Signify Health’s network now includes 200+ health systems, 100 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and 10,000+ primary care practices.

A massive physician network is exactly what CVS is looking for in a M&A deal. Unlike retail clinic competitors like Walmart (which mainly hires nurse practitioners), CVS wants its new primary care clinics to be primarily physician-led.

2. Inheriting Signify Health’s established home care business—an area that CVS wants to amplify this year.

Signify Health offers in-home health assessments and engages patients with SMS, email, and telephone reminders in between visits. That could be an attractive proposition for CVS.

  • CVS Health’s executive VP and CFO Shawn Guertin noted in the company’s latest earnings presentation that CVS plans to “establish a network of physician-led primary care centers with integrated virtual and home assets.”