Apria Healthcare Group announced it has become a preferred national contract provider for United HealthCare Corp.
Through the agreement, Apria may provide home infusion, respiratory therapy, home medical equipment and women's health services to more than 40 million United enrollees.
The contract continues and expands a previous agreement between the two companies, according to Apria spokeswoman Susan Lewis. The value of the deal, which went into effect April 1, was not disclosed.
Earlier this year, the company announced preferred-provider agreements with Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. and Aetna Health Plans.
Apria's success in landing the agreements reflects the tendency of managed-care organizations to gravitate toward "large, stable players," said Randall Huyser, an analyst with Furman Selz in San Francisco. "They give them the best pricing, and the most consistent quality of care," he said.
Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Apria is the nation's largest home-respiratory company, with 350 locations in 49 states. United is a Minneapolis-based managed-care company.