Optum in the past 90 days: 8 things to know

Optum has continued to grow in several ways over the past few months, executing partnerships and new strategy to care for an increasing number of patients.

Here are eight recent updates from Optum and its venture arm:

1. Optum Ventures led the $8.2 million Series A funding round for Heartbeat Health, a data-driven cardiology telehealth platform. The funding round was announced March 12 and includes several other backers that aim to accelerate development of Heartbeat Health's virtual care platform.

2. In early March, Bloomberg covered a story about Harmony, UnitedHealth Group's health plan which aims to steer patients to Optum-owned physician practices. Policyholders are in a narrow network of Optum physicians and receive lower premiums as a result. The Optum providers share risk for medical costs as part of the contract with Harmony, which has around 35,000 members currently and premiums 20 percent lower than other market players in Southern California, including Oakland-based Kaiser Permanente and Cigna.

3. Optum Ventures reportedly backed Scipher Medicine, a molecular diagnostic technology startup, within the past few months. Scipher closed its Series B funding round, bringing total funds to $30 million. Optum's contribution was not disclosed.

4. Former President of OptumCare James Rechtin left the company to join Envision Healthcare as president and CEO on Feb. 26.

5. Optum's fourth quarter profits have repeatedly outpaced the fourth quarter profits of UnitedHealthcare. In 2019, Optum reported $30 billion fourth quarter profits, compared to UnitedHealthcare's $2.1 billion. This trend has held true for the past five years.

6. Optum reported $29.8 billion in fourth quarter revenue, an 8 percent increase year over year. For the full year in 2019, Optum reported $113 billion in revenue. Optum Health full year revenue was up 25.6 percent year over year to $30 billion and served around 96 million people last year. OptumInsight reported 11.1 percent full year revenue growth, hitting $10 billion.

7. Optum named Amar Desai, MD, president and CEO of UnitedHealth's Optum in California in January. Dr. Desai previously served as president of HealthCare Partners in El Segundo, Calif. He is responsible for Optum's physician networks and organizations in California, including Monarch HealthCare and AppleCare.

8. In January, Optum announced plans to partner with Minnesota-based Allina Health to develop up to a dozen new ambulatory surgery centers for the health system in the next five years. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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