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Northern Light announces plan to transfer 1,400 workers to Optum in March

Linda Coan O'Kresik
Bangor Daily News

Fourteen hundred workers at Northern Light Health will become employees of Minnesota-based Optum as part of a new strategic partnership announced Thursday.

Northern Light Senior Vice President Paul Bolin says most of the affected employees work in revenue, information, care management and supply chain services. He says the COVID pandemic accelerated the need for Northern Light to find a more financially sustainable way to provide health care amid rising costs.

"And we think that we found this creative relationship with Optum to provide continued employment — we're not laying anyone off," Bolin says. "No one is losing pay regarding this. Our staff in Maine will continue to serve the patients in Maine for Northern Light, they'll just be working through Optum to perform those services. "

Optum, which is a part of United Health, is a Fortune 500 company. Bolin says it will have greater leverage to negotiate pricing for supplies and has the resources to create a common billing system for all Northern Light hospitals. The company expects the partnership to save a billion dollars over 10 years.