Optum on track to exceed physician hiring goal, CEO says

Optum is on track to meet its growth goals in 2021, executives said during the first-quarter earnings call April 15.

The company announced plans to add 10,000 physicians in 2021 earlier this year, and Wyatt Decker, CEO of OptumHealth, said Optum is on track to exceed that number. Optum now has 56,000 affiliated, contracted and employed physicians.

"We eliminated much of the clerical burden in our physicians and advanced practitioners' practice and let them focus on the work they love," said Mr. Decker, as transcribed by Seeking Alpha. "So this is really gaining traction among our physician workforce."

Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of UnitedHealth Group and Optum, said OptumCare, which has 20 million patients in its network, plans to continue moving those patients to a capitated model to better manage healthcare outcomes and costs.

"We are rapidly transitioning our capabilities clinic-by-clinic to be able to [expand our networks]," said Mr. Witty. "It's one of the areas I think we feel extremely optimistic about for future momentum."

Mr. Witty also spoke about OptumCare's plan to align clinical services with its nearly 90 health plan customers. OptumCare serves 4 million patients in accountable care arrangements and 2 million are under fully capitated arrangements.

"The accountable arrangements drive measurably better patient outcomes and experiences at a lower cost," said Mr. Witty. "For example, seniors served by OptumCare physicians under such arrangements spend on average one-third fewer days in the hospital and have 40 fewer days in skilled nursing facilities than seniors in traditional Medicare. We expect the growth in the number of OptumCare patients served under accountable arrangements to accelerate."

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