Skip to main content

Watch now

Cultivating the West

Optum Care sought partners who shared our core values.

When Optum did their first acquisition, which was in the AppleCare, they thought, okay, great, we've got Southern California covered. And then, you know, somebody showed them a dot on a map and it's a little tiny area. So then Optum bought Monarch and said, okay, now we've got Southern California covered. Same kind of thing happened with, with NAMM. But I will say with the acquisition of healthcare partners, we really do have a very solid footprint in Southern California. Now we can provide care to them in different places because we actually can cover the geography. NAMM ranges, organizes independent physicians into high-performing networks. We contract with insurance companies and we deliver care to their beneficiaries. I was about the 12th employee of NAMM. I joined the company in 1993. In fact, it wasn't really NAMM until 1995. I think for Optum, they liked the geographic footprint. It was a geography where Optum didn't have a presence. The fact that we were deeply embedded in managed care. In fact, we were really one of the pioneer groups of taking risks.

Monarch began in 1994, by bringing together three competitive IPAs in the Southern Orange County area.

We were recognized a long, long time ago. And this is something that again, differentiated us from many, many others in the marketplace, that the center of the healthcare universe was the doctor patient relationship.

When Monarch joined Optum, Monarch had been doing very well in 2010, going into 2011, but the world around us was actually what was really changing.

Because of healthcare reform that was taking place at that time, everybody was very, very focused on delivering high quality affordable care.

We really did want to get in a partnership with someone who's gonna help us take our organization to the next level of performance. And so our physician board of directors said, go find that person.

Optum also very forward looking, also very innovative, was doing what everyone else is doing. Looking around the country. Is there anyone out there who is doing what we need to do in the delivery system arena of healthcare? It was fantastic because, if you took the core values of Monarch HealthCare and the core values of Optum at that time, they were virtually identical. They were taking the very same approach we were taking, but because they were so much bigger and had so many more capabilities, they really immediately took us to a different level.

We knew then that this was the right partner for us.

We joined Optum at the very end of 2012. I can't remember exactly how many networks we had at the time, but today we have 17 and we had something much less than that in 2012. We had about half the amount of membership that we have now, and we've expanded geographically. We've expanded into new lines of business. We never would have had the ability, the capital to do something like that. And then we've also been able to tap on resources available in the company that have that kind of expertise.

We had started in the Southern part of Orange County. And over the years of Monarch's existence, we moved through the entire County and then into Long Beach, which is the Southern part of Los Angeles County. So Monarch serves the geography of the entire Orange County population.

I think the future of care needs to be much different than it is today. We've got to do a much better job of making it simpler for patients, making it simpler for physicians. There's a huge issue with physician wellness and physician burnout. We've got physicians doing so much administrative work that they're losing their love of practicing.

As a primary care physician, it was one patient at a time. Every time I was in a room with a patient, that was the most important thing in the world to me. All the concepts that are important on a large scale, when you're face to face with a patient they're secondary to what that patient needs in that moment. And you can't do that nationally, you have to do that locally.

We're gonna have capabilities that none of us can even imagine, and we are going to truly improve care in our communities and in this country.

Together, Optum Care, along with AppleCare Medical Group, Monarch Healthcare and NAMM share the belief that improving both the physician and patient experience is key to providing high quality care.

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