Photo: Martin Barraud/Getty Images
Hospital operator Bassett Healthcare Network in Cooperstown, New York is collaborating with Optum on the former’s clinical and operational performance, in a partnership focused on quality, affordable healthcare for patients across central New York, the organizations announced this week.
Optum will provide Bassett Healthcare Network with a range of services including revenue cycle management, advanced data and analytic capabilities and information technology, with an eye toward advancing quality care and better patient experience.
The relationship, the health system said, is intended to give Bassett the operational capabilities and financial resiliency to meet the evolving needs of the target demographic. It also positions the organization for potential further growth opportunities while remaining an independent, locally governed health system.
WHAT’S THE IMPACT
Part of the collaboration entails an improvement of business processes through advanced technology and insights, which Bassett said would give it the ability to focus more on patients.
To that end, the partnership will introduce tools and strategies into the mix that range from scheduling and care navigation to payment resolution. Bassett will be able to apply Optum’s analytics capabilities, and access to that data is expected to result in more cost-effective care. The collaboration entails ongoing investments in these advanced analytic approaches.
On top of that, efforts will include the modernization of revenue cycle processes geared toward improving administrative efficiencies, as well as delivering transparent billing.
Some of the healthcare-specific IT strategies being implemented include enhancing infrastructure and network security across all of the hospitals in Bennett’s network.
“Optum’s scale and range of resources strengthens our ability to deliver unmatched care to our local communities,” said Dr. Tommy Ibrahim, president and chief executive officer of Bassett Healthcare Network. “Building on our long history of strategic relationships, our collaboration with Optum will create career opportunities for our employees and infuse Bassett with leading innovations and expertise that will greatly modernize and enhance experiences and access to clinical services for patients. It also will expand our ability to partner with other healthcare providers in the region, to better serve patients in Central New York.”
About 500 Bassett employees performing in-scope functions will have the opportunity to transition to Optum, where they’ll have access to new technologies and skill development opportunities, the system said.
THE LARGER TREND
This isn’t the first partnership or acquisition Optum has pursued this year, as the UnitedHealth information and technology-enabled health services subsidiary announced in March its intent to snag Massachusetts-based Atrius Health for an undisclosed amount.
By acquiring Atrius, Optum is expanding its footprint in Massachusetts as it works towards growing its physician network.
Not all of its moves have been entirely successful, however. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it was pursuing an investigation of UnitedHealth Group’s $ 13 billion acquisition of data analytics company Change Healthcare, spurred in part by a letter sent to regulators by the American Hospital Association raising antitrust concerns.
ON THE RECORD
“We are honored to support Bassett Healthcare Network’s commitment to delivering exceptional patient care for the communities it serves,” said Rick Hardy, CEO of OptumInsight. “In addition to providing proven services and technology to meet Bassett’s clinical and operational needs today, we are committed to working with Bassett to transform healthcare for the people of Central New York for many years to come.”
“This collaboration with Optum is an important element of Bassett Healthcare Network’s strategic plan, affording Bassett the opportunity to upgrade our technological capabilities and modernize our support services,” said Doug Hastings, chair of the Bassett Healthcare Network Board of Directors. “Given the rapidly changing nature of the healthcare system, Bassett’s relationship with Optum will provide tools for serving our communities in ways we could not do on our own, enhancing not only effectiveness and efficiency, but also safety, patient-centeredness, timeliness and equity.”