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Derek Chao, MD

CEO, Optum West

Derek Chao, MD

Derek Chao, MD, is a physician, health care executive, and a nationally recognized leader in value-based care strategy. With over two decades of success in developing innovative programs that improve quality, lower total cost of care, and enable patients to live healthier lives, Dr. Chao is at the forefront of redefining health care in the United States.

In his current role as president and CEO of Optum Pacific West, Dr. Chao oversees the growth and operations of Optum Care in California, Oregon and Washington. As the largest region in the Optum nationwide network, he is responsible for the experience of 25,000 physicians, 2.6 million patients and more than 11,000 employees.

As a health care executive, Dr. Chao leads business development for the fast-growing Pacific West region, collaborating with external partners to find opportunities for growth and driving the M&A process. He oversees contract negotiations involving network design and has succeeded in driving down the total cost of care through strategic partnerships with health systems in a complex multi-payer environment.

At Optum, Dr. Chao is a leader in advancing value-based care, expanding access to high-quality, affordable, and convenient care across the diverse communities of America’s West Coast. Under his leadership, Optum received the Best Medical Provider in the Southland designation by readers of the L.A. Times, Top Doc status for hundreds of Optum Washington clinicians by Seattle Metropolitan and Seattle magazines, and numerous quality awards across the region.

Most recently, Dr. Chao served as chief medical officer for Optum Pacific West, leading the clinical team of one of the nation's largest multi-specialty integrated care organizations. In this role he led clinical strategy, quality, affordability, risk adjustment, network strategy and provider experience in addition to all clinical programs and teams.

Dr. Chao serves on the executive advisory board of several private equity firms and is a member of the President’s advisory council of La Verne University. He received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and cellular biology from the University of California, San Diego, and earned his medical degree from Penn State. He is board certified in both internal medicine and nephrology.