Homeward Raises $50M in Series B To Expand Its Hybrid Value-Based Care Model for Rural Healthcare
Homeward, a hybrid telehealth and in-person care digital health company secured a $50M investment in a series B funding led by Human Capital and Arch Venture Partners and includes participation from General Catalyst, which led Homeward’s series A funding. Glen Tullman and Lee Shapiro both of 7wire Ventures also participated in the round. The proceeds of the funding will be used to expand their offering of high-quality, rural health care to other regions across the country.
Access to rural healthcare has gotten significantly worse over the past 7 years with over 100 rural hospitals closing from January 2013 to February 2020 per a GAO report.
1 in 5 of the American population lives in rural America, yet rural doctors make up only about 11% percent of practicing physicians.
For patients looking to access emergency department services in rural areas where hospitals with emergency departments had closed, the median distance to access hospital services increased by over 20 miles between 2012 and 2018, according to the GAO.
Americans living in rural America are more susceptible to premature death from the leading causes of deaths in the country. (Obesity, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Cancer, and more)
Homeward was formed by the former president of Livongo Dr. Jennifer Schneider when she teamed with Amar Kendale formerly the chief product officer of Livongo and Teladoc and Dr. Bimal Shah the former chief medical officer of Livongo. Dr. Schneider has shared that as someone who grew up in rural market America, the mission ofHomeward is personal for her as she experienced firsthand how the lack of access to care or resources for high-quality healthcare impacts those in rural regions.
Homeward’s mission is to provide access to primary and specialty healthcare for rural America using a hybrid model. According to the company Homeward will take on full risk for patients and partner with regional Medicare Advantage plans. Homeward’s model is designed to leverage technology and services for both primary care and specialty care by providing a team of health care professionals and experts accessed both through telehealth visits and through mobile care clinics based in rural communities. Homeward will also provide remote patient monitoring of various chronic and acute issues which will alert clinicians when a mobile clinic should respond to signs of escalating medical symptoms or deteriorating chronic conditions.
Earlier this year, Homeward secured its first value-based contract with Priority Health for its Medicare Advantage members in Michigan.
Homeward's goal is to completely redesign rural healthcare from the ground up, in the words of co-founder Schneider, we want to "rearchitect" rural healthcare, "we're not reinventing it; we're not throwing everything out.” As noted in a recent Fierce healthcare article, Homeward’s teams conduct physical exams, take vital signs and perform diagnostic tests in order to link patients with community physicians, specialists, and referral resources including appointment coordination. Patients are able to choose from virtual visits, community-based visits, and in-person visits.
In addition, in June of this year, Homeward partnered with Rite-Aid to provide services through its vans in parking lots at pharmacy locations in rural communities and plans to roll out this service in Q3 of 2022 in Michigan. Interestingly, Homeward delivers its services using cellular telephone technology for monitoring and telehealth visits which is often more widely available than broadband services. This unique aspect is designed to overcome issues with the so-called digital divide.
The Big Picture:
Homeward’s commitment is to provide patients living in rural America with hybrid care allowing them to have an in-person visit via Homeward’s mobile visit, followed up with a community-based visit. This is followed by a telehealth visit and referrals for patients that require it. Homeward is helping to address the lack of services and care for the 1 in 5 Americans living in rural communities who often require care and cannot access it. For example, according to a General Accounting Office (GAO) report, over 100 rural hospitals closed from January 2013 through February 2020. Not only does this force Americans living in rural communities to travel hundreds of miles for needed care, but due to the expense and inconvenience, they often delay necessary care. As a result, it is all too common for them to put off routine care such as physicals or diagnostic tests that may reveal their risk of developing chronic diseases, these same tests could also detect diseases they may already be experiencing. In addition, finding specialists to treat the disease can be even more burdensome requiring patients to drive hundreds of miles or many hours just for an initial visit. By contrast with Homeward, people are able to see specialists who will accurately diagnose them and treat them with consistent follow-up care and monitoring, if necessary, thus lowering costs, and improving treatment adherence and outcomes. Moreover, by having routine physicals and other visits earlier, patients can and are more likely to address early signs and symptoms of disease and start making changes to their lifestyle and diet that could positively impact their overall health. With these services, Homeward could improve access, lower costs and improve quality over time.