Optum adds new partnership model to outpatient strategy with latest health-system deal - 3 insights

Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Optum has broken from its pattern of acquiring physician practices, outpatient clinics, urgent care facilities and surgery centers with plans to take over John Muir Health's non-clinical functions, according to Forbes contributor Bruce Japsen.

Three insights:

1. The new partnership model is intended to allow the Walnut Creek, Calif.-based John Muir to remain independent while providing quality care. About 540 John Muir Health employees will become part of Optum, the health services unit of UnitedHealth Group, as part of the deal.

2. Optum's executives expect other local health systems will be interested in similar partnerships where Optum takes on IT, revenue cycle management, analytics, purchasing and claims management services, Mr. Japsen said.

3. During Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth Group's second-quarter earnings call, OptumInsight CEO Eric Murphy indicated the new partnership is a sign of ones to come.

"We're already in discussions with several high-performing independent community-based systems and look forward to establishing continued partnerships, similar to John Muir Health, with health systems across the industry," Mr. Murphy said.

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