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Concentra – USHealthworks – implications for workers’ comp

Yesterday’s announcement that Concentra owner Select Medical is purchasing US Healthworks sent waves through the workers’ compensation world.  The “new” Concentra will:

  • have 565 occ health clinics and on-site centers in about 40 states,
  • handle around one out of every seven occupational injuries, and
  • further cement Concentra’s position as the largest initial treatment provider in work comp.

The transaction valued USHW at $753 million, or about $3 million per location. Concentra is currently jointly owned by Select Medical and investment firms Welsh Carson, Cressey & Company (and several other firms). It looks like one goal of the deal was to buy out minority investors, a not-uncommon objective for this type of transaction.

So, what does this mean for workers’ comp?

  1. Workers comp services is a very mature industry, where scale and buying power are critical. This is yet another indication that players in the industry recognize scale is critical.
  2. This looks to be continued move on the part of Concentra to focus on occupational care and de-emphasize urgent care – which is focused on non-occupational conditions.
  3. Concentra will have more bargaining power with work comp PPOs and payers. The giant provider can’t quite dictate terms today, but is certainly in a very strong position.
  4. USHW has a reputation for over-prescribing physical therapy, a concern some have with Concentra as well.  Payers would be well-served to monitor this closely going forward.

What does this mean for you?

Consolidation can be beneficial for all parties.

It can also be a cause for concern for customers.


4 thoughts on “Concentra – USHealthworks – implications for workers’ comp”

  1. As a nurse case manager who works in the area workers comp, the merger is troublesome. I have had a few cases where the Injured worker was seen/treated at Concentra. The care was substandard, long and drawn out with minimal progress for the injured worker. I am not sure what goes into this, but who is looking at the outcomes of the work being done. Appropriate, efficient medical care for the injured workers and return to gainful employment in a timely manner. Concentra can be the leader only if they have the outcomes to support the work they do. Please report this aspect so we can judge on merit, not on size.

  2. As a Provider Relations Consultant with a large workers\’ comp carrier, we track closely outcomes of all primary care providers who treat employees injured in the work place.
    Our data has consistently shown Concentra achieving better overall outcomes across the board. Our data is broad based, hard numbers that can be measured in terms of lost time, utilization of ancillary services and pharmacy costs. Additionally we track average claims cost.
    Given the above, Concentra has demonstrated that their model works for Injured Workers, Employers and yes Carriers as well.
    We should not ignore the impact of employer return to work programs and injured worker motivation has on getting back to a productive life.
    I work with many providers who see injured workers, they would do well to pay attention to the Concentra model and review the impact their own treatment model has on the patients who\’s care has been entrusted.

  3. As a Safety Director for a large Constructon company I will probably seek medical care for my employees elsewhere now. I quit using Concentra several years ago because of the large doctor rotations, inconsistency and poor case management. US Healthworks has been the complete opposite of Concentra over the years. This merger is not a case of bigger being better. At least not for the patients.

    1. I completely agree Barry C. I’m in the same role as you. Concentra’s “one stop shop” for all patients and seeing whatever doctor is in for the day really does not help the care of the employee. I also never know who is my Concentra account contact is and it takes weeks with many phone calls on my end to even find out or update contact information.

      I’m sure many US Healthworks employees are also nervous for their jobs, many of them left Concentra for a better organization that cared.

Comments are closed.

Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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