Optum-Backed Refresh Mental Health Acquires CARE Counseling

Optum-owned Refresh Mental Health has acquired fast-growing outpatient mental health provider CARE Counseling, according to several sources close to the matter.

The deal marks the second Optum-affiliated outpatient mental health acquisition in the last few years. In 2022, Optum acquired what was ostensibly the second-largest outpatient mental health company: Jacksonville Beach, Florida-based Refresh Mental Health. Refresh is only second to Lifestance Health Group (Nasdaq: LFST) regarding the number of clinics.

Officials with CARE Counseling have not responded to repeated requests for comment.


A spokesperson from Optum said the organization had “nothing to share” in regards to the news.

St. Louis Park, Minnesota-based CARE Counseling has been identified as one of the fastest companies in all of the U.S., regardless of industry, in terms of revenue growth. It ranked at No. 1,323 with 440% of three-year revenue growth in the 2023 Inc. 5000 and No. 97 in Inc.’s 2023 Regionals-Midwest list. Both lists catalog the nation’s fastest-growing companies. It appeared at No. 1,610 on the 2022 Inc. 5000 list.

Launched in 2014 by husband-wife co-founders Andrea and John Hutchinson, the company operates nine locations and lists one to-be-opened location, all in Minnesota, on its website. It offers therapy and medication management. Targeted demographics include adults, children, couples and families.


Many questions remain about the specifics of the deal and its purpose going forward. Back in 2022, a representative of Optum told Behavioral Health Business that the Refresh Mental Health deal was meant to “expand effective behavioral care to patients through a more coordinated health system” and “drive deeper integration between medical and behavioral health care and advance personalized care to patients through value-based care.”

The Optum-Refresh deal also demonstrated another potential exit for the slate of growing and/or large privately held mental health companies. The largest health insurers in the nation have health care services divisions of varying size and development. The Cigna Group’s (NYSE: CI) health services organization, Evernorth, announced a new outpatient mental health practice recently. Behavioral health has been a frequent topic of conversation in many of these insurance plans’ quests to address holistic health.

The acquisition comes after a pivot for Refresh Mental Health. In January, BHB reported that the company would shut down its eating disorder treatment division.

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