Minneapolis-based Allina Health plans to shift 2,000 IT and revenue cycle employees to Optum, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group.
The nonprofit Allina, which has 12 hospitals and more than 90 clinics, said the relationship with Optum would allow it to:
• Continue advancing information systems solutions to improve the patient and provider experience.
• Streamline the billing experience for patients and providers by implementing industry-leading technologies and processes across revenue cycle operations.
• Adopt innovative technologies at an accelerated pace.
“Healthcare is changing rapidly and the technological needs to support care delivery are increasingly complex," said David Ingham, D.O., vice president and chief information officer for Allina Health, in a statement. “As we look to the future, we need to collaborate on solutions that will support and accelerate our care delivery expertise by bringing size and scale to innovation and technology. This new relationship with Optum brings the best of both organizations to the table in support of providers, patients and communities. We are grateful to be retaining the knowledge and talent of our team members who will still stay strongly connected to Allina Health.”
A story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune noted that the agreement also is expected to trim expenses at a health system that in July announced about 350 job cuts amid high labor costs and delayed patient discharges.
"It's not the sole reason — it's not the rationale behind this change — but [savings] is a part that will help us as we work to overcome pretty serious financial challenges facing us this year," Ingham told the Star Tribune. "We don't have the size and scale of an Optum to deliver on some of these really emerging spaces," he added.
Optum has made similar outsourcing deals with other health systems. For instance, in January 2023, Maine-based Northern Light Health, which has 10 hospitals, outsourced revenue cycle management, information systems, inpatient care management, analytics, project management office and supply chain management to Optum.
Northern Light Health has 987 licensed beds, a single physician-led medical group, eight nursing homes with 585 long-term beds, five emergency transport members, 37 primary care locations, and more than 12,000 people in Maine.
Approximately 1,400 of those Northern Light Health employees became employees of Optum beginning in March 2023, becoming part of the Optum workforce of 220,000 people.