10 things to know about Optum, the $101B healthcare company keeping hospital execs up at night

Hospital and health system leaders may have a difficult time defining Optum — the fastest-growing unit of the largest health insurer in the country — as a competitor or a collaborator.

Here are 10 things to know about Optum, a subsidiary of Eden Prairie, Minn.-based UnitedHealth Group:

1. UnitedHealth Group unveiled the Optum brand in 2011 by merging its existing individual health services business units at the time — OptumInsight, OptumHealth and OptumRx.

2. Optum's revenues topped $100 billion for the first time in the year ended Dec. 31, 2018. It grew revenues by 11.1 percent year over year to $101.3 billion.

3. Optum has 165,000 employees worldwide and 2,447 job opportunities posted as of May 20, including vice president for talent and succession management, RN case manager (with $3,000 sign-on bonus) and an internal medicine physician.

4. Optum contains several divisions:

  • OptumRx — pharmacy benefit manager with a network of more than 67,000 community pharmacies
  • OptumCare — healthcare organization offering primary, pediatric, specialty, surgical, urgent, senior and advanced care
  • Optum Global — includes Optum Global Solutions and OptumInsights, which provide business solutions and consults to clients
  • Optum360 — technology arm for billing, operations and administrative processes for hospitals and physician practices
  • OptumServe — federal health services business for military service members, veterans and their families

5. With a network of more than 32,000 physicians and advanced practice clinicians in 75 markets, OptumCare is one of the largest employers of medical professionals. OptumCare locations include:

  • WellMed — based in San Antonio with more than 16,000 physician offices in Texas and Florida
  • Monarch HealthCare — based in Irvine, Calif., with more than 2,500 physicians
  • AppleCare Medical Group — based in Artesia, Calif., with more than 900 physicians
  • Reliant Medical Group — based in Worcester, Mass., with more than 500 physicians
  • The Polyclinic — based in Seattle with more than 200 physicians
  • American Health Network —based in Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio, with more than 200 physicians

6. Optum joins forces with physicians via direct employment, network affiliation or practice acquisition.

7. Sir Andrew Witty has led Optum as CEO since 2018, after serving as a UnitedHealth Group company director. He previously served as CEO and a director of GlaxoSmithKline from 2008 to 2017, working with the drugmaker for more than 30 years total. He was knighted in 2012 for his contributions to the United Kingdom's economy.

8. Wyatt Decker, MD, has served as CEO of OptumHealth since April. He previously spent more than 20 years at Mayo Clinic, most recently as chief medical information officer for the Rochester, Minn.-based health system and CEO of its Arizona campus.

9. Optum has made several noteworthy acquisitions in the past five years, including its acquisitions of MedExpress for $1.5 billion in 2015, Surgical Care Affiliates for $2.3 billion in 2017, the Advisory Board's healthcare arm for $1.3 billion in 2017, and DaVita Medical Group for $4.3 billion, the last of which is still pending.

10. Earlier this year, Optum filed suit for a temporary restraining order to stop one of its former executives from working at Haven, the healthcare joint venture launched by Amazon, JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway. Optum argued that David William Smith's employment as Haven's director of strategy and research would violate the noncompete agreement he signed while with Optum. In February, U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf in Boston denied the motion and ordered the parties to work with an arbitrator to resolve the dispute on a confidential basis.

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