Why 3 health systems outsourced services to Optum in 2023

Three health systems struck deals to outsource revenue cycle, health IT and other services with Optum in 2023. 

Here is more on why those health systems opted to outsource those services: 

Brewer, Maine-based Northern Light Health tapped Optum Jan. 5 to manage its revenue cycle management, information systems, inpatient care management, analytics, project management office and supply chain functions. In March, 1,400 of the system's employees became Optum employees.

Tim Dentry, Northern Light's president and CEO, told the Portland Press Herald the deal is expected to save $1 billion over 10 years by outsourcing billing and support operations to Optum.

"Nobody was going to save the day for us in healthcare," he told the newspaper. "This decision by Northern Light is going to take a huge amount of pressure off of individual entities like [Eastern Maine Medical Center, a hospital parented by the health system]."

Owensboro (Ky.) Health selected Optum Jan. 10 to manage its revenue cycle operations and IT services. Optum hired 575 employees from the health system. 

Owensboro Health CFO Russ Ranallo said in the news release announcing the deal that the partnership with Optum will allow the health system to "build on the innovative work we've already done, recruit and retain the loyalty of the best physicians and clinicians, invest in new technologies to enhance patient care, and expand our services to underserved areas." 

The health system also said the partnership will simplify revenue cycle workflows so team members can spend more time communicating with patients and less time dealing with repetitive tasks. It will also drive digital healthcare transformation by enhancing infrastructure across all of Owensboro Health’s care delivery networks.  

Optum announced Oct. 4 that it was hiring more than 800 employees from Waukesha, Wis.-based ProHealth Care and will begin managing the health system's revenue cycle management, information technology, informatics, analytics and inpatient care management. The 835 revenue cycle management, information technology, informatics, analytics and inpatient care management will officially transition to Optum on Jan. 27. 

ProHealth Care CEO Susan Edwards told the Milwaukee Business Journal that the shift will allow the health system to remain independent at a time of increasing mergers and acquisitions. 

"As one of the smaller [health] systems in the market, we certainly don't have the ability to leverage scale," Ms. Edwards told the news outlet. "So, by working with Optum, we can basically leverage their scale and expertise to really enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our administrative operations and also free up resources that will allow us to invest in improving the care in our communities."

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