How Optum plans to get patients into behavioral care faster

Optum's acquisitions of behavioral health providers have helped it cut wait times for appointments, Optum CEO Heather Cianfrocco said. 

At a conference with investors on May 29, Ms. Cianfrocco said Optum offers the fastest times available to get patients into behavioral care. 

"On average it takes over 50 to 60 days to get an appointment for high-quality behavioral care. We started acquiring our own behavioral providers to be able to reduce that access issue," she said. 

Optum Health has more than 100 payers participating in value-based arrangements with the health provider, Ms. Cianfrocco said. Optum's behavioral health capabilities is one draw, she said, along with its home health and primary care offerings. 

The health services arm of UnitedHealth Group has more than 430,000 behavioral health clinicians in its network, according to the company's 2023 investor guide. 

In 2022, Optum acquired Refresh Mental Health, which operates dozens of mental health practices in several states.

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