Dallas will be one of 10 markets where UnitedHealthcare’s Optum healthcare services is rolling out a plan to integrate medical care across the country.
At the 2019 Forbes Healthcare Summit, UnitedHealth Group president and Optum CEO Andrew Witty said that hundreds of clinics, surgery centers, and urgent care facilities acquired by the growing group will be “wired together,” Forbes reports. The thought is that increased connection will increase access to health data revealing new insights that will improve patient care across the country.
Dallas will join Denver, Seattle, Southern California, Las Vegas, and the New York and New Jersey markets in the initiative.
UnitedHealthcare is the largest health insurance company in the nation, with extensive business in the commercial, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid sectors. With more than 45,000 physicians, Optum is the largest owner of physician practices in the country.
While there are undoubtedly benefits to having access to such a large cache of medical data, studies have shown that increased consolidation of physician practices doesn’t improve quality but does increase cost, as larger groups have more negotiating power for reimbursement rates. Increased physician consolidation, along with a number of other factors, has accompanied steady increases in the cost of care nationwide, and Dallas is already one of the more expensive places to receive healthcare in the country.