December 7, 2017 | Ryan Thompson | Leave a comment UnitedHealth’s Optum division will absorb the DaVita Medical Group operations, which include primary care, specialty medicine, urgent care and surgery. Optum already has affiliations with about 30,000 doctors and hundreds of medical care operations. “The physicians and clinicians of DaVita Medical Group provide outstanding patient care, and we look forward to supporting their continued success in serving their patients and communities,” OptumHealth CEO Andrew Hayek said in a statement. “We also look forward to working closely with the leadership team of DaVita Medical Group to combine our capabilities and, supported by the data analytics and technology capabilities of Optum, enhancing patient care and the value we provide to the communities we serve.” Pairing insurers with health care providers is increasingly common as companies seek to improve patient care by better coordinating diagnosis, care plans, prescriptions and benefit management. Mizuho Securities analyst Sheryl Skolnick hailed the deal: “Optum moves the bar yet again, establishing itself as the leading physician platform for the transformed health care system of the future … and creating a path toward” additional profits. A fusion of health care companies and services is just the latest in an industry coping with big change. CVS Health’s purchase of Aetna could eventually reshape basic health care for patients and customers. The company could seek to bolster its prescription drug business while nudging customers away from costly emergency room visits and toward affordable clinical care for routine ailments at the drug store. It’s also a move driven by anxiety. CVS is aiming to strengthen its business as it faces the possibility of online behemoth Amazon selling prescription drugs. The company also recently announced plans to offer next-day delivery in a move widely viewed as a pre-emptive strike at Amazon. In another sign of industry consolidation, Walgreens in September agreed to buy more than 1,900 Rite Aid drug stores in a deal that makes it the nation’s largest pharmaceutical chain by number of locations, edging archrival CVS. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAYPublished 7:49 a.m. ET Dec. 6, 2017 | Updated 4:13 p.m. ET Dec. 6, 2017 Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.