Catalyst Health Network and UnitedHealthcare's Accountable Care Organization Relationship Fostering Quality Care at Lower Cost

December 18, 2018
  • Catalyst Health Network improves number of annual preventive screenings year over year for cervical cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer

  • Catalyst and UnitedHealthcare's accountable care organization lowered health care costs by more than $28 million in the last two years 

Catalyst Health Network (Catalyst) and UnitedHealthcare's accountable care organization (ACO) has improved the number of annual preventive screenings year over year for cervical cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer, and lowered health care costs in North Texas by more than $28 million in the last two years.

Cervical, breast and colorectal cancers rank among the Top 10 leading causes of cancer death in the United States, but can be prevented if detected early. UnitedHealthcare shares data with Catalyst to inform doctors of patients' underlying medical conditions, past treatments, gaps in care, medications prescribed and future care needs. This ACO relationship has touched the lives of thousands of UnitedHealthcare plan participants through preventive screenings in the last year:

  • 6,300 patients annually have received colorectal cancer screenings, compared to 5,800 before the ACO, an increase of more than 8 percent;
  • 3,400 patients annually have received breast cancer screenings, compared to 3,100, an increase of nearly 8 percent; and
  • 8,800 patients have received cervical cancer screenings, compared to 8,500, an increase of 3 percent.   

In the last two years, Catalyst care providers reduced health care spend by more than $28million for over 78,000 UnitedHealthcare plan participants. On top of quality improvements, savings were also driven by an 11 percent increase in specialist referrals to in-network providers and a 4 percent reduction in emergency-room visits for patients participating in the ACO.

The accountable care relationship was established in 2015 for people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare employer-sponsored and individual health plans, and has grown to include more than 500 care providers across North Texas. More than 80,000 people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare's employer and individual health plans are eligible to benefit from this collaboration.

"Our relationship with UnitedHealthcare is making a positive impact on our patients' health and the care they receive from Catalyst physicians' practices and our extended Care Team," said Christopher Crow, M.D., president of Catalyst Health Network. "We are gratified by the engagement from our care providers and practices, and the potential to put dollars back into the communities and employers we serve. We appreciate the opportunity to work with UnitedHealthcare to provide highly coordinated and quality health care."

"Our relationship with Catalyst affirms that ongoing collaboration results in better health outcomes for patients and lower health care costs," said Scott Flannery, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of North Texas. "Catalyst continues to be a leader in addressing the care needs of its patients and diligently working to lower costs."

Accountable care programs offer a care delivery model that shifts care provider reimbursement away from the traditional fee-for-service delivery model to a value-based approach in which physicians are eligible to receive payment incentives based on patient satisfaction and achieving certain clinical measures. This collaboration also improves the ability to identify patients who are at high risk, and helps them reduce emergency-room visits and readmissions to the hospital, manage their chronic health conditions and take their needed medications.

More than 15 million people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare plans across the country have access to accountable care programs, delivered in part through more than 1,000 accountable care arrangements nationwide as the organization engages in deeper, more collaborative relationships with physicians and hospitals.

Care providers nationwide are showing strong interest in a shift to value-based care. UnitedHealthcare's payments to physicians and hospitals that are tied to value-based arrangements now total $72 billion.

For more information about UnitedHealthcare's changing relationships with care providers and how value-based programs are helping to improve quality and people's health, visit and download the Value-based Care Report.

About Catalyst Health Network

Catalyst Health Network is a URAC accredited clinically integrated network of primary care physicians who have come together to provide high-quality care, helping communities thrive. With 515 primary care providers, 160 office locations, 800,000 patients, and 70 care team members, Catalyst Health Network operates as a non-profit organization improving health, coordinating care, and lowering cost – creating sustainable and predictable value. The network is comprised solely of physician members and managed by StratiFi Health, a physician services and population health organization. For more information, visit or follow @CatalystHN on Twitter.

About UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States, UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1.2 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. The company also provides health benefits and delivers care to people through owned and operated health care facilities in South America. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at or follow @UHC on Twitter.