If you missed the news about the 5500 doctors being fired from United Healthcare last week then use the link below to catch up.  I’ll tell you these “creative writing”image types of Press Releases become more challenging all the time to decipher what they really mean too.  The Hartford Courant was reporting that AARP had received complaints about this issue..so what did we do here, run quickly to the door of AARP for some discussions?  Basically what is happening here is a view on whether or not the insurer loyalty is with members or UnitedHealthGroup.  We don’t know how much AARP gets paid by United but who knows, maybe the pot grew of late? 

United Healthcare Firing Thousand of Doctors Caring For Medicare Advantage Plan Patients in Connecticut, Florida and Rhode Island-Attack of the Business Intelligence Killer Algorithms…

Read this statement below from the press release…what’s AARP really going to do?  If you have not seen the truckloads of subsidiary companies United owns, take a look here and also that might help explain the complexities yet vagueness at the same time of these press releases…

“The new agreement will expand this commitment to research as AARP will join Optum Labs’ mission to advance innovation and improvement in health care.”

AARP has a patient portal and we all know what those are for pretty scraping data for sale.  Just recently in the news Penn State made the news with trying to assess their members a $100 a month penalty charge if they did not participate and the long and short of that was it cut down on the data for sale if enough folks were not entering data.  That issue has now drawn the attention of a US Congressman. 

AARP Trying to Entice Weight Loss – Ho Hum It’s Another Portal Application Contest

“Participants are urged to post frequent updates and to exchange ideas, encouragement, recipes and moral support.”   in other words get that data in the portal…so really what else would the AAPR function be with Optum Labs, I’m all ears…here’s more information on that conglomeration below

United Healthcare Launches UHC Research Institute–More Data, More Analytics to Measure Performance, Improve Performance, Optimize the Supply Chain and Increase Revenue For Academic Medical Centers

They also have Humedica that they paid hundred of millions of dollars for that can kick in here too with selling de-identified patient medical record data.  Humedica will be able to package up the non identified data and sell it to pharmaceutical, device  companies and others. Humedica uses a portal service for the hospital analytics and the information sold from EMR records can show which products are doing better, worse, etc. 

This sounds like it’s direct competition for the FDA Sentinel program too as remember back a few years ago when insurers were going to donate claim information to add to the device and drug files that were being gathered to evaluate for safety along with medical records added.

I thought it was kind of weird to see the CEO of Mayo like a doing a commercial for Optum Labs, In Harvard Business Review join in and bring data (grin) as they are a partner and are in the middle of a bond issue so they can build a new wing.  Mayo does over $8 billion a year in revenue with the profits (or excess revenue as non profits call it) at just over $300 million…so you can see what a bond issue right now is making folks a little nervous with the return on investment and selling data will put money to the bottom lines perhaps .  Even Forbes caught on the to data selling portion with United Labs with an article they wrote when the announcement was made…”good business when you can get it” the article sais referencing the data selling. 

Looks like we have a good pay day going on over here with Cerner too (link below) with licensing a ton of revenue cycling software.  As their practice seems to go, just create one more subsidiary…keeps everyone guessing. 

United Healthcare Adding Yet One More Subsidiary to the Very Large Number of Subs They Already Own/Operate-Optum and Dignity Healthcare (A System Wide Cerner EHR Client) Form New Venture Called Optum 360–Subsidiary Watch

I guess old memories and suspicions with this company go way back too far in remembering how the former CEO was given a new jet as a parting gift when United bought PacifiCare here in California.  I live in the OC United Manifesto here where MDs tell me the ACOs consist of cutting doctors pay and that has been an ultimate goal of United all along and some doctors with complex contracts are ending up being paid at rates less than Medicare.

UnitedHealthCare Looks at Doctor’s Pay for Savings, Nothing New There Been Doing It for Years But Keep In Mind We Have the Annual Medicare Cut Fix on the Floor Again with Congress–Timing?

So what is in this for AARP members?  Looks like there's money for AARP and imagewhat will they do about all the fired MDs who were seeing Medicare Advantage patients.  United in California stopped selling individual policies so I don’t know how that might affect an AARP policy?  AAPP needs to clean the site up a bit, I looked at it tonight and they have a dating service as well and we all know that a data scraper for sure.  Maybe this is some of the data headed for Optum labs (grin)…you never know and I see tons of ads with them looking for employees to hire. 

In summary though, the Current made a good point, where is the loyalty here with AARP, members or UnitedHealthGroup?  It’s very gray out there…BD 

UnitedHealth Group announced today that it has reached an agreement in principle with AARP to extend and broaden their long-time relationship focused on improving the health and well-being of Americans 50 and older.

The extended agreement, which is expected to run through December 2020, will enable UnitedHealth Group to serve AARP’s 37 million members by drawing uponimage the ever-expanding capabilities across its businesses, including UnitedHealthcare in health benefits and Optum in health services. UnitedHealthcare will continue to offer a portfolio of AARP-branded products, and Optum will continue to provide health care navigational and decision support services. As part of the expanded relationship, AARP will become the Founding Consumer Advocate Organization of Optum Labs, Optum’s research and innovation facility focused on data-driven health care research and clinical translation.

“We are pleased that AARP is extending its relationship with Optum and joining Optum Labs to discover meaningful and actionable ways to improve our health system,” said Larry Renfro, chief executive officer of Optum. “AARP and Optum are bringing together the best consumer insight, health information and research expertise to drive innovation and improve the health care journey for millions of Americans. We look forward to exploring additional ways our two organizations can work together in the future.”



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