Humana Adds to Senior Primary Care Push Via $1.2B JV


The leaders of Humana Inc. are expanding their partnership with a large private-equity firm and accelerating their plans to build a nationwide network of primary care clinic for seniors.

Louisville-based Humana first teamed up with Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe in early 2020 to open senior primary care centers under a joint venture putting to work $800 million. Since then, the companies have opened 37 CenterWell-branded clinics – Humana owns nearly 180 other clinics on its own – and have plans to set up another 30 sites in the next year under their original arrangement. The new JV adds $1.2 billion in capital to CenterWell’s push to build and nurse to profitability another 100 clinics by the end of 2025.

“Doctors and nurses spending more time with patients, paying greater attention to both the physical and mental aspects of health, and following a team-based approach all allow for personalized, value-based care that helps improve lives,” Reneé Buckingham, president of Humana’s Primary Care Organization, said in a release. “Early success has led to increased interest in our payer-agnostic model, and under this new joint venture, we look forward to significantly expanding our geographic footprint and serving even more patients in more communities.”

As of March 31, Humana’s 214 clinics worked with about 180,000 patients in Medicare value-based arrangements as well as 58,000 people under Independent Practice Association plans. By 2025, Buckingham and her team plan to have grown Humana’s network of CenterWell and Conviva primary care centers to between 340 and 400 locations. The expected growth pace of 30 to 50 clinics per year is an increase from 30 this year, when Humana is entering Dallas and Phoenix with its CenterWell model.

Welsh Carson is the new JV’s majority owner while CenterWell will earn a management fee for running the centers. Humana has the option to buy Welsh Carson’s stake in the JV starting in 2028 or five years after the clinics open while the investment firm can require Humana to buy it out starting in 2030 or seven years after the centers’ openings. (For the companies’ first joint venture, that timeline is 2024 to 2029.)

Shares of Humana (Ticker: HUM) were up slightly May 17 to about $442. Year to date, they are down about 5 percent, trimming the company’s market capitalization to about $56 billion.

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