Optum's behavioral health strategy: 3 things to know

Optum added over 45,000 therapists, psychiatrists and behavioral health providers to its network, Optum Health CEO Amar Desai, MD, said. 

At a conference with investors on Nov. 29, Dr. Desai said Optum is focused on integrating care for patients. The health services arm of UnitedHealth Group has over 430,000 behavioral health clinicians in its network, according to the company's 2023 investor guide. 

"We have integrated home care delivery with our behavioral health benefits business to improve timely access to behavioral care for our patients through our home care program," Dr. Desai said. "As a practicing physician, I am particularly excited that we are becoming the practice and partner of choice in the marketplace." 

Optum is the largest employer of physicians in the U.S. 

Here are three more things to know about Optum's behavioral health strategy: 

  1. The company is integrating behavioral healthcare into primary and home health visits. Increasing access to behavioral care is a "a positive sign that we are delivering holistic, high-quality care," the group wrote in its 2023 investor guide.
  1. Optum is adding its digital behavioral health offerings into its primary care and home businesses, as well as virtual and digital mental health tools for health plan members.

  2. Optum Rx, the business's pharmacy benefit manager, provides medication management for behavioral health, substance use disorder and other complex drugs for more than 1 million people each year.

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