Optum vs. Tenet: How ASC strategies are shifting 

Tenet Healthcare, parent company of ASC chain United Surgical Partners International, and Optum, parent company of ASC chain SCA Health, are looking at different ASC growth strategies as the year comes to a close. 

Optum and SCA Health

Optum is doubling down on value-based care, and SCA Health is expanding its focus to the larger care continuum, rather than just ASCs. 

OptumHealth's 31 percent revenue-per-customer growth is attributed to the increasing number of patients served under value-based care, according to an Oct. 14 call with investors transcribed by The Motley Fool. OptumHealth is Optum's care delivery platform. The growth is also linked to an increasing focus on higher acuity ambulatory procedures.

The company, previously known as Surgical Care Affiliates, also rebranded to SCA Health in May, with intentions to expand beyond ASC management. 

SCA Health CEO Caitlin Zulla told Becker's this rebranding represents the company's transition to "support physician specialists more holistically across the specialty care continuum," rather than an ASC company "singularly focused on partnering with surgeons in their ASCs."

"In addition to our continued ASC leadership, we've grown our business to support specialty practices, patient navigation, value-based care, anesthesia, ancillary services and more," she said.

More than two-thirds of Optum's revenue is derived from value-based care contracts, and that number is expected to grow, OptumHealth CEO Wyatt Decker, MD, said in the earnings call. The company's third-quarter revenue is up 17 percent from the same quarter last year, reaching $46.6 billion. 

In the third quarter, Optum also made two major acquisitions. The company acquired Houston-based multispecialty physician group Kelsey-Seybold Clinic for around $2 billion and Healthcare Associates of Texas, a Dallas-based physician practice management company, for $300 million.

Tenet and USPI

USPI is the largest ASC chain in the country, both by market share and number of ASCs. The company added 122 ASCs in the last year, ending the third quarter with 440 ASCs and 24 surgical hospitals across 35 states.

USPI executives revealed the company is behind on its year-long growth plan in an Oct. 20 third quarter earnings call from Tenet, but USPI's mergers and acquisitions pipeline remains strong. The company still expects to deploy $250 million in acquisitions this year. 

Like SCA Health, higher-acuity procedures are a point of focus. By the end of the third quarter, orthopedic and spine procedures made up 20 percent of USPl's total volume. 

Tenet has been bolstering its ASC business to drive revenue in the last few years. The company has spent more than $2.5 billion in capital investment to scale USPI since December 2020 and expects to see 12 percent growth after acquiring interest in about 160 ASCs in less than two years. 

USPI also aims to have 575 to 600 ASCs by the end of 2025.

In the second quarter, Tenet paid $406 million to acquire Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White Health's 5 percent equity position in USPI. In June, USPI and United Urology Group signed an official agreement to form a joint venture partnership in 22 ASCs.

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