Optum's rise to the top: 5 years of growth

Optum and its parent company, UnitedHealth Group, employ approximately 90,000 physicians in total, making it the largest employer of physicians in the U.S. — but that did not occur overnight.

The company has seen huge growth since its founding in 2011 — particularly in the last five years. Here is an overview of some of Optum's key moves since 2019:

In 2019, Optum completed its $4.3 billion acquisition of DaVita Medical Group, creating a network of more than 16 million patients. By the end of that year, Optum added 10,000 physicians to its network for a total of  nearly 50,000 employed or affiliated physicians and reported revenue jumps of 11.5%, hitting $113 billion. 

By the end of 2020, the company had 50,000 employed or affiliated physicians and 1,400 clinics nationwide, with annual revenues of $136.3 billion. The company also served 98 million patients, up from 96 million in 2019.

In 2021, Optum announced plans to acquire Atrius Health, a 715-person physician group based in Newton, Mass. The company earned $155.6 billion in total revenue, a 14% increase year over year. Optum also served 100 million people in 2021, compared to 98 million in 2020. 

In 2022, Optum purchased Jacksonville Beach, Fla.-based Refresh Mental Health, Houston-based multispecialty physician group Kelsey-Seybold for around $2 billion, and Dallas-based Healthcare Associates of Texas for $300 million. After overcoming regulatory hurdles from the state, Optum also closed on the Atrius Health deal for $236 million. By the end of 2022, the company reported employing 70,000 physicians and reported annual revenues of $182.8 billion.

The group added 20,000 physicians in 2023 and partnered with various physician groups and health systems. It partnered with Waukesha, Wis.-based ProHealth Care; Northern Light Health in Brewer, Maine; Owensboro (Ky.) Health; and Uber. It also acquired healthcare technology firm EMIS Group for $1.51 billion; Baton Rouge, La.-based home healthcare provider Amedisys for $3.3 billion; Middletown, N.Y.-based multispecialty physician group Crystal Run Healthcare in a private deal; and home health and hospice company LHC Group for $5.4 billion. 

The group also had 2,200 primary and specialty care offices in 16 states by the end of the year and earned $226.6 billion in total revenue — an increase of 22% year over year. 

Optum has had a busy start to the year — it already received approval to fast-track its acquisition of Corvallis (Ore.) Clinic, a physician-owned practice that has experienced significant financial turmoil in recent years, particularly since the cyberattack on Optum's Change Healthcare, which the Corvallis Clinic uses to process medical claims, in February. The company is also working to acquire financially troubled Dallas-based Steward Health Care's physician group Stewardship Health, for an undisclosed amount.

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