Dr. Amar Desai Takes Helm at Optum Health as New CEO

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) subsidiary Optum Health recently tapped Dr. Amar Desai as its new CEO.

The change in leadership comes on the heels of Optum Health’s growing presence in the hospice and home health landscape. The company has acquired two of the nation’s largest providers — LHC Group and Amedisys Inc. (NASDAQ: AMED) — with price tags that reached $5.4 billion and $3.3 billion, respectively.

As Optum’s CEO, Desai will oversee operations of the company’s nearly135,000 employees that provide home health, hospice and other services to 103 million patients nationwide.


“I am looking forward to working with our team who always put patients and caregivers at the center of everything we do, and focus on making each interaction and moment with our patients matter,” Desai said in a LinkedIn post. “When this is done every day across our enterprise, we have the opportunity to meaningfully impact how care is delivered and experienced in the U.S. — one patient, one family, one neighborhood at a time.”

This is not the first role Desai has held with the company. He was most recently executive-in-residence at UnitedHealth Group since April. Desai also served as president and CEO of Optum Pacific West between 2021 and 2022. Prior to that, he held the same position at Optum California beginning in 2019.

Desai succeeds Dr. Wyatt Decker, who held the position for nearly five years before stepping down from the role. He will now serve as chief physician of value-based care of UnitedHealth Group. 


“We have an incredible opportunity to build upon and expand our distinctive care model that has helped millions of people — especially those with multiple chronic conditions or complex care needs — live healthier lives,” Decker stated in a LinkedIn post. “In this new role, I’ll be focused on strengthening and deepening our value-based care capabilities and innovative clinical solutions across UnitedHealth Group and working across health care to advocate for comprehensive, equitable care that addresses a person’s howl health.”

Optum Health’s executive turnover rate has been high in recent months following its series of acquisitions, including LHG Group, Amedisys and Change Healthcare. All told, 11 executives and division leaders have exited roles at the company since March, according to a report from Beckers Hospital Review.

In addition to the CEO switch, Dennis Chorneky, senior vice president and chief AI officer, stepped down, as well as Optum Health COO John Prince.

Optum did not respond to Hospice News’ request for comment.

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