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Optum Care leadership

Powering modern health care requires a special team.

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Meet our team

Wyatt W. Decker, MD, MBA, Chief Executive Officer, Optum Health headshot

Wyatt Decker, MD, MBA, joined Optum in 2019. In his role as chief executive officer of Optum Health, Dr. Decker oversees the care delivery and ambulatory care capabilities of Optum Care, as well as major platforms serving Behavioral Health, Population Health, Complex Care and consumer offerings at Optum. He is leveraging the full value of Optum's distinctive assets in data, analytics, technology and clinical expertise to improve the health outcomes and experiences for the millions of people receiving care in local care systems and everywhere Optum serves consumers and patients.

Prior to joining Optum, Dr. Decker served for more than two decades at Mayo Clinic, one of the largest not-for-profit, academic health systems in the U.S. He most recently held the dual role of chief medical information officer for Mayo Clinic, and CEO of Mayo Clinic in Arizona. At Mayo Clinic, Dr. Decker pioneered the use of innovative digital technologies, including telemedicine and AI, to deliver health care expertise to affiliated care providers nationwide, as well as leading the digital strategy around engaging and empowering patients.

Under his leadership, Mayo Clinic in Arizona was named the number one safest teaching hospital in the U.S., the number one hospital in Arizona by U.S. News and World Report, and achieved the highest possible CMS ratings for both patient quality and patient experience. He oversaw the launch of the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine’s Arizona campus, and the building of an advanced, National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center.

Dr. Decker also has served as a Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, and directed the Emergency Medicine Residency Training program at Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Decker holds an MD from Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science from University of California, Santa Cruz.

Paul Balthazor was named chief operating officer of Optum Care in June of 2018. His organization leads the National Core Operations team including technology, business integration, real estate, supply chain, credentialing and contract management, revenue cycle and operations.

Balthazor began his career with Optum in 2002 as part of the American Chiropractic Network (ACN) Group where he served as the CFO and later, the chief operating officer.  

In May 2007, Balthazor joined UHC Community & State where he served in a number of finance, operational and network leadership roles, including chief financial officer.

Most recently, he held the position of chief operating officer.  Prior to joining UnitedHealth Group, Balthazor worked for Arthur Andersen, providing merger and acquisition advisory services to many clients, including UnitedHealth Group.

Balthazor is a graduate of St. John’s University in Minnesota, where he obtained degrees in accounting and management.

Daniel Frank, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Optum Care, headshot

Dr. Daniel Frank was named chief medical officer of Optum Care in 2019, expanding his most recent role as chief clinical officer of the organization’s clinical performance and affordability teams. Leading our clinical functions, he is responsible for partnering with our local care delivery systems across the nation to advance clinical initiatives, foster an exceptional provider experience, improve patient outcomes and transform the way we deliver care.

In support of this differentiated experience for more than 40,000 providers and the millions of patients we serve, he also oversees the Office of Provider Advancement, chairs the Clinical Leadership Congress, and serves on the Physician Executive Council. In addition, he is an executive board member of the Center for Clinician Advancement at UnitedHealth Group. Through these governance bodies and partnerships, he upholds our commitment to ensure our care delivery capabilities are developed in a highly collaborative, physician-led environment.

Dr. Frank has long focused on the effective development and implementation of clinical priorities and related programs to achieve greater clinician and patient satisfaction, and high-quality, affordable health care. Prior to his role as CMO, he held a number of leadership positions within Optum Care including lead physician, local and national medical director roles focused on process improvement and quality initiatives, and chief clinical officer.

His career with Optum began in 2008 at Southwest Medical Associates in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he served as a primary care physician and medical director. Before joining Southwest Medical, he was in private practice in south Florida.

Originally from New York, Dr. Frank received his bachelor’s degree in microbiology at the University of Florida, and his medical degree from the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine. He completed his residency in family practice at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami where he became board certified in Family Medicine. 

Selemon Asfaw is the Chief Financial Officer of Optum Care where he is responsible for leading the strategic financial direction for Optum’s Care Delivery, SCA and MedExpress businesses.

In addition to having fiscal responsibility for Optum Care, Selemon oversees risk-based financial arrangements across the Optum Health segment.

Prior to this role, Selemon was CFO of Optum Health’s Care Solutions and Health Services businesses and was a Vice President of Corporate Development leading M&A on behalf of Optum Health.

Earlier in his career, Selemon was an Investment Banker with Goldman, Sachs & Co. in the Healthcare Group in New York City, covering a range of clients in the sector.

Prior to Investment Banking, Selemon launched a series of entrepreneurship and leadership programs for underserved youth in North Minneapolis on behalf of the University of Minnesota. Selemon holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Business.

Dewayne Ullsperger joined Optum Health in 2017, leading Actuarial and Healthcare Economics. Prior to this role, he served as the chief actuary for the commercial business and lead Healthcare Economics at UnitedHealthcare. Ullsperger was the principal and co-founder of Reden & Anders, which was acquired by UnitedHealth Group in 1998 after starting his career at Touche Ross.

Ullsperger graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries.

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Business leadership team

Dr. Patrick Conway

Patrick Conway, MD, MSc, joined Optum in February 2020 and serves as the chief executive officer of Care Solutions at Optum, part of UnitedHealth Group. He leads a portfolio of care continuum businesses with over $30 billion in annual revenue serving over 50 million people across acute and post-acute care, care in the home in-person and virtually, mental and behavioral care benefits and delivery, broad population and complex disease health management, specialty care and government health services.

From 2017 to 2019, Dr. Conway was president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, leading the organization to be recognized nationally for innovation, value-based payment and investments in better health outcomes.

From 2011 to 2017, Dr. Conway served as deputy administrator for innovation and quality at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and as director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) and the agency’s chief medical officer. He also served as principal deputy administrator and acting administrator of CMS. Before joining CMS, he oversaw clinical operations and quality improvement at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He remains a practicing pediatric hospitalist.

A respected leader, innovator and clinician, he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in 2014, received the President’s Senior Executive Distinguished Service Award, and was a White House Fellow from 2007 to 2008.

Dr. Conway received his MD with high honors from Baylor College of Medicine, residency training at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Master of Science in clinical epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Scott D. Hayworth

Scott D. Hayworth, MD, FACOG, is the senior vice president and chief physician liaison officer of Optum Health, driving growth across the country as a physician leader supporting mergers, acquisitions and new strategic partnerships. He will also serve as an advisor to new initiatives. He was the CEO and market leader of the Optum Tri-State region, one of the five regions in the Optum Health nationwide network, from March 2021 to January 2023.

Dr. Hayworth has a national reputation as an authority on practice administration, multi-specialty group management and adaption to the rapidly changing environment in health care, including the transition to value.

Dr. Hayworth was the president and CEO of CareMount Medical (formerly Mount Kisco Medical Group, PC) for more than 20 years, overseeing nearly 15-fold expansion in size of the group prior to its becoming part of Optum Tri-State in late 2020. In 2019 Dr. Hayworth became chairman of the board and chief executive officer of CareMount Health Solutions, LLC, a collaborative physician-owned management services organization.

Dr. Hayworth is a consultant to the Vincent Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital and a clinical associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. He is a member of the board of America’s Physician Groups (APG).

Dr. Hayworth is a past associate dean at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He is past chairman of the board of the American Medical Group Association and former national treasurer of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Dr. Hayworth has been named by Crain’s New York Business as a “Notable Health Care Leader” every year from 2020 to 2022. He was selected by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of their “105 Physician Leaders to Know” in 2019 and “112 Physician Leaders of Hospitals and Health Systems” in 2018.

Dr. Hayworth has an AB in biology from Princeton University and an MD from Cornell University Medical College (now Weill-Cornell Medicine). He completed his training in obstetrics and gynecology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

Shawna Gisch

Shawna Gisch has been with UnitedHealth Group for 13 years, splitting her time in leadership roles across Optum and UnitedHealthcare. Gisch is currently the CEO of Optum Health Solutions, a portfolio of solutions that combines insights, access and assurance to deliver a better care path for those who utilize health care the most. This $3 billion business impacts over 300 million consumers and serves employers, payers, the public sector and TPAs.

Prior to leading Health Solutions, Gisch held the position of senior vice president of clinical operations within UnitedHealthcare (UHC) Government Programs. Her team had responsibility for overseeing the clinical model for Medicaid, Medicare and Dually Eligible individuals. This includes the design and operational execution of innovative population health programs for the over 18 million members served by Medicare & Retirement and Community & State across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Gisch has also served as chief of staff to the Community & State CEO and led various teams within Optum Health, including managing a portfolio of case and chronic condition management programs.

Gisch graduated summa cum laude from Oregon State University with a BS in chemical engineering and a minor in business administration. She also received an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Trip Hofer

Trip Hofer recently rejoined Optum Health, a UnitedHealth Group Company, as CEO of Optum Behavioral Solutions. Hofer is responsible for the overall strategy for our behavioral businesses, driving growth for our behavioral products and offerings, continuing to ensure our network supports timely access and expanding behavioral care delivery for the people we serve. Hofer is a visionary leader who has a reputation for bringing new and disruptive thinking to his teams. Under his leadership, we are building the optimal behavioral health platform — leveraging the behavioral benefits (insurance coverage), care delivery and digital capabilities of Optum to create better, more integrated solutions for our members, patients, clients and providers.

Prior to his current role, Hofer served as the CEO of AbleTo since 2018. AbleTo is a leading provider of virtual behavioral health care services for adults suffering from depression, stress or anxiety. At AbleTo, Hofer was responsible for driving significant growth for the organization in serving their members’ mental health needs with superior experiences and innovative solutions.

Prior to joining AbleTo, Hofer held leadership roles at CVS Health, Health Dialog and UnitedHealth Group — including leadership roles on the Optum Health Employer Solutions and Wellness and Well-being teams. Hofer spent several years with Booz Allen, a leading management consulting firm headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Hofer holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and environmental studies from St. Lawrence University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Yale University’s School of Management.

LTG Patricia D. Horoho, Retired

LTG (Ret) Patricia (Patty) D. Horoho is the chief executive officer of Optum Serve, the end-to-end federal business of both Optum and UnitedHealth Group.

Horoho joined UnitedHealth Group in 2017 to establish the Optum Serve brand, uniting 3 legacy businesses in the process. Under her leadership, Horoho has built a dynamic senior leadership team and has grown the Optum Serve employee population and business. This growth includes securing the $55 billion Veterans Affairs Community Care Network Third Party Administrator contract. Today Optum Serve continues to grow and expand its support of technology, health services, data analytics and consulting initiatives in both federal and commercial markets. In the last 2 years, Optum Serve has entered into new markets, grown the top line by 300%, improved bottom-line performance by 1,250 base points and grown into a multi-billion dollar organization.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Horoho’s agility and ability to effectively leverage resources resulted in Optum Serve rapidly standing up new business models to support both COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution. Under her leadership, Optum Serve implemented both the Priority Identification Vaccine Operating Tool (PIVOT), which informs and monitors equitable COVID-19 vaccine administration, and Vaccine Outreach – Implementing Community Engagement (VOICE), which provides customized community engagement and collaboration to address vaccine hesitancy and difficult-to-reach consumers.

Horoho is a values-based servant leader whose life’s calling is to improve the U.S. health care system, focused in the areas of health care delivery, health readiness and health disparities. While guiding Optum Serve through periods of immense growth and change, Horoho maintains a laser focus on championing health equity, inclusion and diversity efforts, and Veteran-focused initiatives at UnitedHealth Group. Horoho is a frequently sought-after speaker, leader and adviser in these areas.

Horoho’s distinguished professional career also includes 33 years with the U.S. Army, where she retired as a Lieutenant General, the 43rd Army Surgeon General and Commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command. She made history being the first woman, first nurse and non-physician to hold these posts. In these roles, Horoho led the third largest health care system in the world — a global logistics, research and care network across five continents, with a multibillion-dollar budget and staff of more than 156,000. An expert in health care transformation, Horoho moved the entire Army Medicine organization from a disease model of care to a system for health. She implemented groundbreaking and long-lasting initiatives around behavioral health, while improving health care considerations and force protection measures for military women.

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Market leadership team

Imelda Dacones, MD, is the president of the Washington Optum Care market with oversight of The Everett Clinic, The Polyclinic and the Optum Care Network of Washington.

As a nationally recognized leader in driving value-based care innovation, Dr. Dacones is a long-time advocate of the Quadruple Aim. She also practiced as a primary care doctor and hospital-based internist for more than 22 years.

Dr. Dacones has been recognized many times as a doctor and leader. In 2020, she was named one of Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Minority Leaders. In 2019, she received Portland Business Journal’s Health Care Leadership Award.

Prior to this role, Dr. Dacones served as president and chief executive officer of Northwest Permanente (NWP) and chair of the National Permanente Executive Committee.

In these roles, she had remarkable success in modernizing business functions, growing the KPNW footprint, improving margins, driving innovation, and fostering clinician and team member engagement.

Dr. Dacones received her undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Chicago, where she also completed her internship and residency training in internal medicine.

Derek Chao, MD, President and CEO, Optum Pacific West headshot

Dr. Derek Chao is a physician, health care executive and national leader in value-based care. For 20+ years, he's been finding transformative ways to improve care quality, lower the total cost of care and help patients lead healthier lives.

In his current role, Dr. Chao oversees all Optum care delivery organizations in California, Oregon and Washington. Together, these organizations have 25,000 physicians and serve 2.6 million patients.

Dr. Chao works across Optum and UnitedHealth Group to make quality, affordable care available to patients and their communities. He ensures that patients, providers and team members have a positive experience. He also leads the Optum mission of shifting the nation to value-based care.

Most recently, Dr. Chao was the chief medical officer for Optum Pacific West, one of the nation's largest integrated care organizations. He led all clinical teams and programs as well as clinical strategy, quality, affordability, network strategy and more.

Before joining Optum, Dr. Chao held leadership roles at HealthCare Partners and DaVita Medical Group. He also practiced medicine as a hospitalist and nephrologist for 15 years.

Dr. Chao holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and cellular biology from the University of California, San Diego, and a medical degree from Penn State. He is board certified in internal medicine and nephrology.

Tarek Elsawy, MD, President, Optum Northeast and Midwest headshot

As regional president of Optum Care, Dr. Elsawy oversees the operations and performance of health care delivery systems in the organization’s Northeast and Midwest regions.

Dr. Elsawy is also the co-chair of the Physician Executive Council, Optum Care’s national physician leadership and governing body.

Dr. Elsawy came to Optum by way of Reliant Medical Group, the Massachusetts-based multi-specialty group he has led since 2016.

At Reliant, Dr. Elsawy has overseen system transformation through the implementation of a team-based primary care clinical model. In 2018, Dr. Elsawy led Reliant through its acquisition by Optum.

Before joining Reliant, Dr. Elsawy held several executive positions at Cleveland Clinic. As vice president of regional operations and medical affairs, he had direct responsibility for 18 family health centers, and led operations at eight regional hospitals.

He also led the development and implementation of Cleveland Clinic’s clinically integrated network (Quality Alliance and the Medicare Accountable Care Organization).

Dr. Elsawy received his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He performed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Virginia Medical Center and engaged in a research fellowship at Johns Hopkins University.

Bryan Grundhoefer, MBA, President, WellMed Medical Management, Inc. headshot

As president of WellMed Medical Management, Inc. and Optum Care Central Region, Florida and Texas, Bryan Grundhoefer is responsible for the overall operations of the award-winning, diversified health care enterprise. With more than 6,500 employees, WellMed supports more than 13,000 providers with various medical management services. Overall, WellMed provides quality health care services for more than 315,000 Medicare-eligible patients.

Before joining WellMed, Grundhoefer worked at Anthem, where he ran a multi-specialty IPA joint venture. He also worked in mergers and acquisitions with Anthem during the first two mergers with Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans insurance companies.

Grundhoefer also previously worked in the consulting division for both Ernst & Young and Deloitte & Touche.

A CPA and member of the AICPA, Grundhoefer earned his MBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Texas. He also has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management (with Distinction) from Purdue University. He currently serves as the head of the Health Care Advisory Council for the McCombs School at the University of Texas.

Scott D. Hayworth, MD, FACOG, President, Optum Tri-State headshot

Dr. Scott Hayworth has been president of the Optum Tri-State region since March 2021, overseeing three large multi-specialty groups – CareMount Medical, ProHEALTH NY and Riverside Medical Group – which serve a combined 1.6 million patients across 630 locations.

Additionally, he has served as president and chief executive officer of CareMount Medical for more than 20 years, overseeing a nearly 15-fold expansion in the size of the group prior to its becoming part of Optum in late 2020.

Under his leadership, CareMount Medical has grown from a handful of locations to more than 45 sites throughout the Hudson Valley and New York City, expanding and transforming staff, services, facilities and practice infrastructure to offer a high-quality, seamlessly integrated patient experience.

In this role, Dr. Hayworth also guided the establishment of relationships between CareMount and diverse partners and institutions, including affiliations with Massachusetts General Hospital, Northwell Health, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and nine regional hospitals.

In 2019, Dr. Hayworth became chairman and CEO of CareMount Health Solutions, LLC, a collaborative physician-owned management services organization.

Dr. Hayworth is a consultant to the Vincent Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell.

He is a past associate dean at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, as well as past chairman of the board of the American Medical Group Association.

He was selected by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of their “105 Physician Leaders to Know” in 2019 and “112 Physician Leaders of Hospitals and Health Systems” in 2018.

Dr. Hayworth received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Princeton University and his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College.

Kristi Henderson, DNP, NP-C, FAAN, FAEN headshot

A digital health leader and clinician with over 25 years of experience designing, implementing and optimizing the health care delivery system using digital health tools and technology.

She is the CEO for MedExpress and SVP of The Center for Digital Health & Innovation for Optum Health, where she is creating a first-of-its-kind connected health ecosystem using industry-leading digital health tools and telehealth.

She most recently led clinical operations for Amazon Care, a healthcare initiative for Amazon employees and their families.

Before joining Amazon, she designed and launched a national solutions center for patient access, virtual care, and care coordination for Ascension Health.

She has a proven track record of delivering successful programs at scale that improve health and save money.

She is an adjunct faculty member in Population Health at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas-Austin and at the University of Washington School of Nursing.

Henderson thrives with complex challenges and consistently delivers results that exceed expectations.

She is known for her ability to execute and sustain these models in advance of them becoming an industry standard as evidenced by her first launch of a telehealth program in 2003 which is recognized as one of only two of HRSA’s Centers of Excellence.

She is resourceful, collaborative and known for her creative solutions that engage patients and empower clinicians.

She has testified before multiple U.S. Senate committees and given numerous presentations across the country, including a TEDx, to advance telehealth policy and share innovative new models of care.

A few of her other leadership roles include service as an executive board member for the American Telemedicine Association; Association of American Medical Colleges Telehealth Committee member, American Nurses Association co-chair for Committee on Connected Health and National Quality Forum Telehealth Committee.

She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and the Emergency Nurses Association and an honorary Dean at the University of Washington School of Nursing.

Henderson received her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she was recognized as the 2019 Distinguished Alumna from the School of Nursing. She maintains national certification as a family and acute care nurse practitioner.

Rob McBeath, MD, President, Optum Mountain West headshot

Robert McBeath, MD is the Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Medical Associates and the President of Optum Care Mountain West Region.

He joined Optum Care in 2013 as the CEO of Southwest Medical Associates. In 2017, he became President of the Optum Care Mountain West Region. This region includes over 800 employed providers and 12,750 contracted providers in the states of Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico managing over 250,000 Medicare Advantage lives and over 500,000 commercial and managed Medicaid lives.

Dr. McBeath has held several leadership roles within Optum Care and is currently the Co-Chair of the Physician Executive Council, Optum Care’s national clinical leadership and governing body. He is also active in his local community of Las Vegas where he’s served in a variety of community leadership positions. He serves on the American Cancer Society’s CEOs Against Cancer board and is on the Board of Directors for Project 150, a local charity supporting homeless high school students.

Dr. McBeath completed his medical school training at the University of Nevada School of Medicine and his surgical internship and urology residency program at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson and served as Chief Resident. He is currently certified by the American Board of Urology and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He received his Master of Medical Management from the University of Southern California.

Caitlin Zulla, Chief Executive Officer, Surgical Care Affiliates headshot

Caitlin Zulla joined SCA in 2015 and serves as chief executive officer. Prior to her role as CEO, Zulla served as chief administrative officer and chief financial officer with responsibility for ten separate business functions. 

Before joining SCA, she was senior vice president operations of revenue cycle services for MedAssets (a health care performance-improvement company). Zulla worked previously as a senior consultant at CBIZ, Inc. (a national professional services company) and as a managed care analyst at Atlantic Health System. 

She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University, and a Master of Public Health and Health Management from Columbia University.