$2.4B Three-Way Merger to Tackle Kidney Disease, Offer Value-Based Care

A triumvirate of kidney care providers have announced a three-way, $2.4 billion deal to form a value-based company targeting early-stage disease.

InterWell Health, Fresenius Health Partners, and Cricket Health will combine their varied expertises to create an industry leader on track to having $11 billion in costs under management by 2025.

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The business model puts the company, which will operate under the InterWell Health brand, in partnership with patients’ nephrologists, or kidney specialists.

“In a value-based world, it is no longer enough just to provide quality care—providers must help patients change behavior, and this requires a fundamental shift in how we engage patients,” Robert Sepucha, InterWell Health Chief Executive Officer, told Fierce Healthcare.

As industry leaders, the three companies have strengths in different aspects of care. InterWell has a network of 1,600 nephrologists; Fresenius Health Partners, a division of Fresenius Medical Care North America, is the world’s largest operator of dialysis centers; and Cricket, a startup, uses a tech-enabled care model and patient engagement platform. Together, the merged entity has the capacity to address the full course of disease.

"I don't think that there's any other entity or organization that brings together all of the things you need to do to support this patient population from virtual care teams to in-person clinicians to the data and analytics to identify high-risk patients and a network of 1,700 physicians around the country,” Sepucha said. “So putting together the data, the clinical model, the care teams and the physicians, that's what this is all about."

The new company hopes to reduce hospital admissions and readmissions, increase transplant referrals and rates, help patients quickly transition to home dialysis, and improve health equity, Sepucha said.

InterWell Health has more than $6 billion of medical costs under management and covers more than 100,000 lives. The merger increases Fresenius Medical Care's total addressable market in the U.S. from about $50 billion to $170 billion, according to the company.