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University of California, UnitedHealth Group to Develop ACO

September 30, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The University of California (UC Health) and UnitedHealth Group are collaborating for a 10-year strategic relationship centered on value-based care and the formation of an accountable care organization (ACO).

UC Health and UnitedHealth Group's Optum and UnitedHealthcare businesses will aim to promote advancements in clinical research and collectively design patient-centered, clinically integrated care provider networks, with the goal of transforming the state's healthcare delivery system.

UC Health's five academic medical centers (UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC San Diego and UCSF) will expand use of Optum's clinically integrated network services and data analytics services, the organizations said in a joint announcement. Optum, which focuses on modernizing the health system's infrastructure and advancing care, has more than 8,000 employees in the state.

There are several key components of the partnership. For one, UC Health and UnitedHealthcare will create an ACO for large self-funded employer groups, with a primary care physician serving as a trusted adviser to each patient. In addition, the organizations will collectively design clinically integrated care provider networks with the aim to improve the patient experience and promote advancements in clinical care. Clinically integrated networks can improve care for high-risk patients while expanding access for everyone by using data to manage barriers to care, improve same-day access, identify risks to patient health and close gaps in care, the organizations noted in their announcement.

What’s more, UC Health will become the first West Coast healthcare provider to partner with OptumLabs, an open, collaborative center for research and innovation focused on improving patient care and value. Founded jointly by Optum and Mayo Clinic in 2013, OptumLabs is opening a San Francisco Bay Area facility accelerate collaboration among UC Health and other constituents in the region.

"This collaboration aligns with UC Health's overall strategy to partner with other health care stakeholders to deliver cost-effective, higher-quality healthcare," John D. Stobo, M.D., UC Health executive vice president, said in a statement. "Healthcare is changing rapidly, and this relationship will help us stay on the leading edge to improve the health of Californians."

Further, OptumLabs will provide UC Health researchers with access to its de-identified, linked clinical and administrative claims information providing real-world insights that can help accelerate improvements in patient care. And, UC Health and OptumLabs will collaborate with other like-minded organizations and recruit tech companies to push the boundaries of healthcare and innovation in the Silicon Valley area.

Finally, OptumLabs will sponsor a five-year internship program to help train the next generation of healthcare data scientists. OptumLabs and the University of California system will provide students access to expertise and the opportunity to work at one of the five UC Health systems.

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