Centene Corp. expects to drive greater integration of behavioral health and physical health now that it has Magellan Health under its control.
Sarah London — board vice chair and president of health care enterprises for the St. Louis-based company — said in prepared remarks at a session of the 2022 J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference that this integration will help the company drive better health outcomes and lower costs for high-cost, complex populations.
Centene (NYSE: CNC), which operates government-backed health plans, closed the $2.2 billion take over of Magellan Health on Jan. 4. Magellan is a major managed care organization that focuses exclusively on behavioral health and specialty services for managed care plans.
“When we announced the transaction a year ago, we didn’t know where we would be in the pandemic a year later,” London said. “But I think it’s clear to everyone that behavioral health needs are as acute as ever across the country.”
The deal will also enable Centene to build out programs that focus specifically on more specialized and acute behavioral subpopulations, London added.
Magellan Health continues to operate independently under the leadership of its CEO Ken Fasola. However, Centene announced last week that it appointed former Magellan Health Chief Operating Officer Jim Murray as its new chief transformation officer. Murray reports to London and leads the company’s Value Creation Office and the Centene Advanced Behavioral Health division.
Murray’s addition to the leadership team helps Centene gain further momentum to the company’s value creation efforts.
London said that Centene operates as a health care provider in some instances with the assets that the company owns but the company at its core is a care management company when asked about the company’s strategy with Magellan Health.
Operating in both care management and care delivery helps the company stay innovative, London said.
“It does allow us to really stay current and increase discipline in the organization of always thinking ahead about what is the absolute best service at the lowest cost that we can provide our members,” London said. “It’s our job to think about what is the right programmatic framework and how do we seamlessly bring all of these partners together.”