Optum acquires Refresh Mental Health: report

Optum has quietly acquired Refresh Mental Health from private equity firm Kelso & Company, Axios reported Thursday.

The company confirmed the deal in a statement to the outlet. The acquisition has not been announced publicly as of yet.

“Optum and Refresh Mental Health are excited to expand effective behavioral care to patients through a more coordinated health system," the company said in a statement to Axios.

The deal would give the UnitedHealth Group subsidiary a greater foothold in the behavioral health space, which has garnered greater interest under the pandemic. The value of the purchase is unclear, but Kelso bought Refresh at a valuation of around $700 million in December 2020, Axios reported.

Refresh was founded in 2017 and provides outpatient mental and behavioral health services. It runs 300 locations across 37 states that offer a variety of services including psychiatry and substance abuse treatment.

UnitedHealth has been active in the merger and acquisition space, with many of its purchases joining the Optum fold. News of its Refresh buy comes as the company is gearing up to fight the feds to close its acquisition of Change Healthcare, which is valued at $8 billion in cash and $5 billion in debt.

The Department of Justice sued to block the deal on antitrust grounds, arguing having access to Change's data could give UnitedHealth a leg up on other insurers in the market.