Amazon reportedly among bidders for Signify Health

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Photo: Sundry Photography/Getty Images

Amazon is among bidders lining up to buy in-home health technology and services provider Signify Health, according to The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News.

Others interested include UnitedHealth Group and Option Care Health. Earlier this month, people familiar with the matter told the Journal that CVS Health was seeking to buy Signify Health to expand its in-home health services.

Signify is for sale by auction, with bids due around Labor Day, according to the reports. Signify is reportedly holding a board meeting Monday to discuss the bids. The deal is reportedly valued at $8 billion.

UnitedHealth has submitted the highest bid for Signify, in excess of $30 a share, while Amazon’s offer is close behind, Bloomberg reported.

Signify’s stocks soared on the news, going up by more than 32% by the closing bell on Monday.

WHY THIS MATTERS 

Amazon’s interest is the latest sign of the tech giant’s ambition to take on healthcare.

Last month, Amazon signed a definitive agreement to acquire hybrid primary care provider One Medical in an all-cash deal worth approximately $3.9 billion. 

“We think healthcare is high on the list of experiences that need reinvention, Neil Lindsay, SVP of Amazon Health Services, said in a statement about that deal.

“I see this one a lot differently than One Medical,” said Sebastian Seiguer, CEO and cofounder of emocha Health, a digital health platform implemented by Johns Hopkins and 400-plus U.S. health departments.

In the case of One Medical, Amazon purchased a primary care provider with 200 clients, he said. 

“I didn’t find that a game changer,” he said. 

The acquisition of Signify would be different because it would give all of the companies interested in the purchase access to patients’ homes.

“There is a trove of data there,” Seiguer said.

emocha, a spin-off of Johns Hopkins, is a medication-adherence company that has a window into patients’ homes to understand their medication regime and help them with chronic diseases, which are among healthcare’s most costly conditions.

“The data we’re getting is incredible,” Seiguer said. “Meeting the patient where they are is not only acceptable, it’s happening.”

Doing so makes Signify a very valuable company, Seiguer said. This is especially true for Amazon, which has a foot in the healthcare market, but that market is so far the total focus of a UnitedHealth and CVS.

“For Amazon, they’d have the clinic, the pharmacy and now have home health,” he said.

The home health market is only expected to grow, due to demand spurred by an aging population, growing Medicare Advantage numbers and the need for a less expensive alternative to hospital care. This demand has combined with the needed digital technology and waivers made possible during a public health emergency that showed that providing acute care at home was both possible and saved hospitals money.

THE LARGER TREND

On July 29, Signify Health said it expected to lay off 489 employees starting October 1, with 147 of them located at offices in Texas, New York, Connecticut and South Dakota, and another 342 not assigned to a specific office.

In July, the Dallas-based company said it wanted to focus on its home and community-services business.

Signify uses analytics and technology to offer a value-based healthcare platform that partners with insurers and health systems and offers in-home health evaluations for Medicare Advantage and other government-run managed care plans.

 

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: SMorse@himss.org 



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