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Establishing our roots

Hear from leadership about the evolution of Optum Care.

SMA was started in 1972 by a cardiologist named Tony Marlon. He was expanding SMA and to a multispecialty group.

What really differentiated us in the marketplace was our innovation to population health and our integrated health care model.

WellMed began in 1990 with a few clinics, two clinics, and about five docs. Dr. Rapier was the founder of the group and has grown now to clinics across Texas and Florida.

The foundation of the company was based on providing great service to physicians so they can better take care of their patients. That's been a key to our success within WellMed, but also believes that's something that we've been able to keep and retain as we've grown and spread what we've done across OptumCare as well.

In 2008 United Healthcare was in the process of acquiring health plans. They eventually acquired the parent company, which is Sierra Health and Life but also Southwest Medical Associates. This was the first time that United through an acquisition, now owned a medical group. And Optum was formed and Southwest Medical Associates was transferred into OptumCare.

We saw that there was an alignment as far as our vision, mission and strategy But more important, there was a huge cultural fit. And we noticed that immediately.

We partnered with Optum in 2011 because we believe that our philosophies matched, number one. And number two, we thought that they would provide us the growth engine we needed to continue growing successfully. Not for the sake of growing but to grow successfully and not lose our mission, which was really to put the primary care doctor and his patient at the center of our universe.

We were a little bit unique in that we had been able to demonstrate an ability to scale and replicate what we had been successful at in San Antonio, into other markets.

We had always been fully at risk and fully delegated. We never were a fee-for-service medical group.

I think what Optum saw was what they would like to see healthcare be like. They believe that what they were seeing in one market could actually be expanded nationwide and be done very successfully

Most if not all of the physicians who want to be part of OptumCare are committed to the vision and mission and the transformation of healthcare in our country. It is that ability to have that impact on something that is greater than yourself, which motivates many of us in our daily work here at OptumCare. This is a physician-led and physician-driven organization because we're all committed to that same goal.

Early commitment to the physician-patient relationship helped drive our success.

Clinician insights partners with Optum Care providers to share best practices, research and more.