UnitedHealth Group Views Home Health As ‘New Frontier’ Of Value-Based Care

UnitedHealth Group’s (NYSE: UNH) deal for LHC Group Inc. (Nasdaq: LHCG) reportedly could still close in the first quarter.

Each party has certified “substantial compliance” and no divestitures are expected, according to a Dealreporter item for last week, which cited sources familiar with the matter.

As that deal does come to a close, the home health industry is on the brink of knowing how one of its largest representatives, LHC Group, will be utilized underneath the UnitedHealth Group and Optum umbrellas.


Until then, there are more than just tea leaves to read from the acquirer.

“We view home health as one of the new frontiers of providing value-based health care because of the convenience it provides,” Optum CEO Dr. Wyatt Decker said on UnitedHealth Group’s fourth-quarter and year-end earnings call Friday. “It provides the ability to access people, like dual special needs patients, that often have great difficulty leaving their home to get care.”

UnitedHealth Group’s two main business arms are its health care delivery services platform, Optum, and UnitedHealthcare, which is one of the largest managed care organizations in the country. LHC Group will eventually be embedded into Optum.


At the company’s investor day in November, home- and community-based services were a focal point.

“You will see us both developing the platform of home care, increasingly, in a comprehensive fashion, as well as integrating home care within our clinic-based care model,” Decker continued. “It really creates two growth vehicles for us.”

The Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based Optum is a diversified health services company that employs more than 190,000 people worldwide. Even prior to LHC Group’s arrival, Optum will have made significant investments in home- and community-based care.

“Within the home piece, it kind of a derivative phenomena,” UnitedHealth Group CEO Andrew Witty said during Friday’s call. “That home creates a capability, which allows us to serve these [special needs population] folks better, and that, of course, is going to be an accelerator.”

UnitedHealth Group and Optum see home health care as a key cog in their overarching value-based care plan.

“For value-based patients, our in-home services have reduced hospital visits by 15% versus fee for service, delivering comparable health outcomes and achieving an NPS of approximately 80,” UnitedHealth Group President and COO Dirk McMahon also said on the call.

Optum is set to serve 750,000 additional value-based patients in this year alone, according to the company.

Overall, UnitedHealth Group brought in $82.8 billion in revenues in Q4, an over 12% increase compared to the $73.7 billion it brought in over the same time period in 2021. Full-year revenues grew to $324.2 billion, a 13% year-over-year increase.

On Optum’s end, it brought in $47.9 billion in revenues in Q4, a 16% year-over-year increase. Over the full year, its revenues reached $182.8 billion, a 17% year-over-year increase.

“We’re we’re pretty excited about how this is coming together,” Decker said. “We’re creating a differentiated offering to help accelerate value-based care growth and provide that comprehensive care that people need.”

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