Anthem's 'mini-Optum' unit gets new president: 4 things to know

Anthem selected Prakash Patel, MD, as the executive vice president and president of its diversified business group. The appointment, effective Aug. 6, comes as the Optum-like division competes with rivals on the prow for provider acquisitions, according to Forbes contributor Bruce Japsen.

Here are four things to know:

1. Dr. Patel, who joins Anthem from GuideWell and Florida Blue, will helm four units within Anthem's diversified business group: clinical solutions provider AIM, health plan and medical group CareMore, consulting arm Health Insights, and data analytics company HealthCore.

2. "Leadership is deeply focused on achieving connectivity across the touch points of these building blocks, while determining the next move for capital deployment," Leerink Partners' Ana Gupte, PhD, said in a June 29 note obtained by Forbes after Dr. Patel's appointment. Dr. Gupte has described Anthem's diversified business group as its "mini-Optum" segment.

3. Analysts would like Anthem to pursue growth similar to that of UnitedHealth Group's Optum segment, which has quickly expanded to employ more providers than Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente. Optum has also improved financially, with revenues climbing 11 percent to $23.6 billion in the first quarter of 2018.

4. In a statement following Dr. Patel's appointment, Anthem President and CEO Gail K. Boudreaux said Dr. Patel's "breadth and depth of healthcare experience will serve us well in our efforts to develop innovative approaches to care that deliver higher value for Anthem and our diversified business group customers while deepening our relationships within the healthcare community."

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