UnitedHealth Group's plan to drive more surgeries to ASCs

UnitedHealth Group made three long-term commitments as part of its sustainability efforts, including pushing more surgeries to ASCs, according to a June 15 company report.

UnitedHealth Group aims to have more than 55 percent of its members' outpatient surgeries and radiology services delivered at high quality, cost-efficient sites of care by 2030, which often means directing patients to ASCs. In 2019, the company reported 47 percent of outpatient surgeries and radiology services were performed at high quality, cost-effective settings. UnitedHealth Group said it aims to meet its goal by:

  • Providing physicians with point-of-care tools for shared decision-making about care delivery
  • Guiding patients to low-cost care settings
  • Developing digital tools for members to identify care sites that meet quality and cost standards

Conducting more joint replacements in ASCs for commercially insured patients could save $20 billion in the next decade and lead to 500,000 fewer hospitalizations per year, the report stated. And shifting diagnostic tests from the hospital outpatient department to physician offices or standalone centers could save members $300 per test and lower spending 62 percent, according to the report.

OptumCare, the division of UnitedHealth Group's Optum that provides physician services, has 53,000 employed and aligned physicians who treat 20 million patients annually.

UnitedHealth Group also said it's committed to closing 600 million gaps in care for members by the end of 2025 and ensuring 85 percent of members receive preventive care annually by 2030.

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