California approves CVS Health-Aetna deal

Another regulator has cleared the way for the $69 billion deal between CVS Health and Aetna, as California approved the deal—with conditions.

The approval from the California Department of Managed Health Care comes with a plan to invest nearly $240 million in California’s healthcare delivery system.

The package includes $166 million to support the state’s healthcare infrastructure and employment by building and improving facilities and supporting jobs in Fresno and Walnut Creek.

Another nearly $50 million will go to increase the number of healthcare providers in underrepresented communities through scholarships and loan repayment programs under the Health Professions Education Foundation, and supporting joint ventures and ACOs to deliver coordinated care and support value-based care.

“Our primary focus in reviewing a health plan merger is to ensure compliance with the strong consumer protections and financial solvency requirements in state law,” DMHC Director Shelley Rouillard said in a statement. “The Department thoroughly examined this merger and determined enrollees will have continued access to appropriate healthcare services and also imposed conditions that will help increase access and quality of care, remove barriers and improve health outcomes.”

Other funds are earmarked for improving healthcare accessibility in the state, including lowering barriers to other services, such as dental care, and integrating emergency medical services with community opioid treatment and prevention programs, among other aims.

The merger is still anticipated to close before Thanksgiving, according to CVS Health executives.

Another holdout on the deal is New York, which may also be seeking some reinvestment back into the state. The deal was approved by the Department of Justice in October.