Sarah M. London
Chief Executive Officer at Centene
Thank you, Jen. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us as we review our first quarter 2022 results. I want to begin by acknowledging the passing of a great man, Michael Neidorff, whose leadership and passion built Centene into the purpose-driven market leader that it is today. Michael infused our entire organization with the belief that high-quality affordable healthcare should be within reach of every American, especially our nation's most vulnerable. On behalf of the entire Centene team, I want to send our thoughts and prayers to Michael's family. We will miss him dearly, but I can assure you that Michael's legacy lives on in the men and women of this Company, and our commitment to his vision has never been stronger.
On our call today, I'll begin with an update regarding the Company's leadership structure, touch on first quarter highlights and then provide you an update on strategy and our value creation initiatives. Brent will speak to our performance in our core business lines. And finally, Drew will review our financial results and full-year 2022 outlook in more detail. First, the Company's core leadership structure. We are updating this morning the construct of the office of the CEO. This group of individuals represents the most experienced strategic and senior leaders of the organization who will assist me in setting policy and driving forward Centene's enterprise agenda.
The office of the CEO includes myself, Brent Layton, our President and Chief Operating Officer; Drew Asher, our Chief Financial Officer; Jim Murray, our Chief Transformation Officer, who will take on expanded responsibilities in addition to our value creation office; and Ken Fasola, who in addition to leading Magellan, will assume oversight of our portfolio of strategic non-health plan assets. This construct, with key support from our Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel, formalizes the manner in which we've been operating for the last several months and represents the agenda setting nucleus of the organization as we enter the next stage of transformation and growth.
Now let's discuss our first quarter results. Centene delivered a strong first quarter performance, including adjusted diluted EPS of $1.83 up 12% compared to the year ago quarter. We closed the quarter with 26.2 million members, up 8% compared to the year ago quarter, demonstrating the strength and value of our products in the market and the success of our enrollment periods. As a result, we are raising our full-year 2022 outlook from our previously provided range. We now expect our full-year 2022 adjusted EPS to be within a range of $5.40 to $5.55. Drew will provide more details on the quarter and outlook in a few moments.
Now to strategy. Over the last few months, the opportunities to optimize and strengthen our business have become even clearer. We remain hyper-focused on executing our value creation plan with many workstreams well underway and clear milestones ahead. At the same time, we are refreshing our long-term strategy in order to pave the way for growth beyond our 2024 horizon. As we have said before, focusing on our core business and prioritizing value creation are not just short-term ideas. They are pillars of and critical inputs to a long-term strategic vision for the Company. Let me give you an example. Over the last nine months, you have heard us repeatedly talk about operating excellence as a focus of our value creation work. It includes streamlining platforms, standardizing processes, modernizing systems and using data everywhere to be as smart as possible about how we do our work. It means fewer calls, fewer clicks and faster answers. Will it create SG&A savings? Absolutely. Is that our measure of success? No.
The real goal of operating excellence is to fundamentally improve the experience that members, providers, community and state partners have with Centene. Success, put simply, is making it easier to do business with us. For our members, we believe we can deliver more seamless and efficient ways to give the information, access and care they need when and where they need it most. Our goal is to increasingly empower our members and their caregivers as agents and advocates in the care journey. For our provider partners, we believe there is a significant opportunity to align more closely in value-based partnerships, and we are committed to delivering the data and tools that will help them drive better health outcomes.
For our state partners, we believe in being excellent at the basics. But we also intend to leverage our uniquely local approach to deliver innovative solutions that are infused with an understanding of the communities we serve and designed to help them succeed. The goal across all stakeholders is the same, to build lasting trusted relationships. This has been a differentiator for Centene from the beginning and we intend to build on this strength as we grow and innovate. More to come on this during our June Investor Day. In the meantime, you should feel confident the work we do over the next three years will not only align with, but naturally fuel our next phase of innovation and growth, and we are designing and executing with that end in mind.
Now turning to specific updates on the value creation work. We remain on track to achieve our previously stated goals. Jim Murray and his team are moving at a rapid but thoughtful pace to execute on these initiatives with tremendous support and partnership from both our corporate business leaders and our local team leaders. While we are excited about our progress, we also ask you to recognize that some of these initiatives are complex and will take years to fully complete. We are being deliberate using a step-by-step approach to ensure that standardization and operational enhancements are taking place in the right way across the organization. This means that as we enhance certain enterprise-wide best practices, we will also preserve the local feel and approach that has served as this Company's hallmark for two decades.
I'll give you a few examples of the progress the team has achieved in the quarter. First, we successfully hit our pharmacy platform migration milestones and are already engaged in strategic discussions with our potential PBM Partners about how to drive additional quality and value in delivering pharmacy benefits to our members. Last week, slightly ahead of schedule, we released the RFP that will cover our more than $40 billion of pharmacy spend in 2022. We have made meaningful progress this quarter in evaluating our existing portfolio of real estate assets, given our commitment to increased work from home and flexible work models. We are in the process of determining the necessary square footage to support our employees moving forward and anticipate a significant downsizing of our current leased space.
We have also advanced our efforts to centralize key functions such as utilization management and call centers to enterprise shared services organizations. To that end, we performed a lift and shift of reporting responsibilities for both these functions earlier this month. For the remainder of the year, we will be focusing on standardizing best practices and optimizing these operating models. In addition to the savings opportunity, we believe these organizational shifts will create a better experience for our members and providers, as well as our employees. Lastly and importantly, we've kicked off our efforts around large-scale IT platform consolidation. As you know, Centene has grown tremendously through acquisition over the last several years. And as we have mentioned before, the resulting technology footprint includes multiple core platforms and over 500 support applications.
The conversion process will require a multi-year staged approach to derisk the effort, but the opportunity for increased efficiencies is significant. And while this will be hard work, consolidation is necessary to enable the stakeholder experience we intend to deliver. These are just a few examples of the nearly 15 workstreams in the process of being activated. As I stated earlier, we are very pleased by our progress but recognize that we still have miles to go before we sleep.
Before I wrap up, I would like to highlight a recent example of the work we are doing to improve Health Equity through data-driven innovation. In March, Centene was one of three organizations who received the Innovation Award by the National Committee for Quality Assurance or NCQA for our focus on Health Equity. The award recognizes Centene's data-driven Health Equity improvement model for being a leading-edge strategy for improving Health Equity and healthcare quality. The effectiveness of our Health Equity improvement model represents success on many levels. By using a data-driven process, we are identifying opportunities to reduce healthcare disparities, designing initiatives across community member and provider levels and tracking our impact.
These efforts can produce higher quality outcomes for our members and in turn improvement to important metrics such as HEDIS scores. To highlight some examples, Centene's Health Equity model was able to improve rates of immunizations for Latino children with our SilverSummit Health Plan in Nevada, colorectal cancer screening rates for American Indian and Alaska native members in our Arizona Complete Health Plan and maternal health outcomes among African-American and Black members with our Health Net Plan in California. Health Net has also been chosen to participate in NCQA's Health Equity Accreditation Plus Pilot Program.
Addressing Health Equity in new and innovative ways is very much aligned with our purpose and will be an important part of our work going forward. Further, applying big data to drive local outcomes will be a critical and sustaining differentiating strategy for the enterprise. In closing, I'm humbled by the opportunity to lead this exceptional team and Company. We have significant runway ahead to deliver for our members, enhance our operations, achieve our financial commitments and create value for our shareholders.
With that, I will turn it over to Brent, who will provide an update on our core business lines. Brent?