“These are good jobs in a growing field,” said Gov. Jan Brewer, adding she was proud Optum selected Tucson out of all of the cities nationwide vying for the company’s attention. “As we all know, it takes a team effort with everyone rowing the same direction to turn this economy around.”
Optum Rx, the fourth largest pharmacy benefits manager in the United States, is part of UnitedHealth Group’s Optum business group. Optum is partnering with Tucson Medical Center to launch an innovative new model of health care delivery, known as an accountable care organization. That entity, Arizona Connected Care, has the goal of holding the line on skyrocketing medical costs by providing more integrated care to patients and keeping them healthier, longer.
Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said the company made a wise choice, given the proximity to the University of Arizona and Pima Community College, which will provide a strong local labor pool and opportunities for innovation.
Stephen Hemsley, CEO of UnitedHealth Group, said the business climate is favorable in Tucson, but cited the growing relationship with Tucson Medical Center as a factor in the decision as well, saying he was impressed with the hospital’s leadership as it embarks on the progressive venture.
Dirk McMahon, the CEO of Optum Rx, said the Tucson facility will strengthen the company’s mission as the population ages and more people gain access to health insurance, prompting more access to prescription drugs.
The new office is expected to be ready for business by summer at the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park, which already houses large companies such as IBM, Raytheon, Citigroup and Target. Full staffing is anticipated by the end of next year.
Matt Heinz, a physician who practices at TMC and a state Democratic lawmaker making a bid for Congress, said he was pleased at the announcement. “It’s fantastic because it creates jobs for my district and for Tucson as a whole. I also look forward to continuing the relationship between Tucson Medical Center and Optum.”