Weekly Health Tech Reads | 9/18/22

Humana's investor day, Redesign funding, our Medicaid market map, & more

This week's newsletter is sponsored by Wheel.

Wheel, a company that pairs virtual care technology with a clinical workforce, published a really interesting article looking at the unit economics of virtual care delivery models. It’s an insightful piece explaining why virtual care delivery is unprofitable at sub-scale patient volumes but can get to profitability when patient visits are scaled. It highlights nicely how Wheel can help manage physician staffing costs for virtual care delivery organizations as they seek to manage cash burn while scaling their business. Link

Corrections:

Two items to correct from last week:

  • We linked to the wrong Tegus article. If you were interested in reading their expert interviews about how employers are evaluating digital health solutions, you can check it out here.

  • It was Headspace Health, not Hinge Health, that acquired Shine, the mental health and wellness app focused on the BIPOC community.

News of the Week:

  • Humana's investor day was on Thursday, and it was full of interesting insights into how they're building out their primary care and home health businesses, among other things. If you're at all interested in the senior primary care space, it's worth listening to the section where Humana discusses primary care strategy from 40 minutes to 1 hr & 10 minutes in. It provides a great rundown of Humana's senior clinic strategy and what they've learned over the last few years. Keep an eye out on Tuesday for a much deeper dive on what we learned from the investor presentation for HTN members. Link (Slides) / Link (Webcast)

  • Redesign Health raised $65 million at a reported $1.7 billion valuation. This would be a fun one to unpack Redesign's legal structure to see what is generating a $1.7 billion valuation - presumably Redesign is both generating revenue from some shared services payment from its companies in order to cover operating costs, and then on top of that has the equity stake in the various companies. The equity component seems like it should be the real value driver here. Redesign suggests it will launch 25 companies this year alone, which is a torrid pace. And there seem to be lots of questions still outstanding as to whether this approach actually works at this scale. In particular, it will be interesting to see how they balance building internally versus acting more like an early-stage VC and convincing existing teams to let Redesign be the first money in. Either way, makes a ton of sense for General Catalyst to lead this investment as they continue building out their ecosystem as they now presumably get preferential access to a steady stream of early stage companies. Link

  • Two New Jersey hospitals are in a legal battle as CarePoint is suing RWJBarnabas Health, alleging that RWJBarnabas conspired with local real estate execs and Horizon BCBS NJ to crush CarePoint. As noted in Slack, there's quite a bit of irony that it's CarePoint initiating this lawsuit. CarePoint, of course, is the health system that former Clover Health CEO Vivek Garipalli owned and was notorious for jacking up prices in New Jersey. The lawsuit is interesting to check out for all th way  Link (article) / Link (lawsuit) / Slack (h/t Etan Walls)

Other Announcements:

  • Google will be supporting people in signing up for as well as finding providers who accept Medicare / Medicaid. Now let's just hope they can figure out the data quality problems that plague the space. Link

  • The Advocate Aurora and Atrium merger was delayed after the Illinois Health Facilities & Services Review Board originally voted to deny the deal but then revoted to delay it. Link / Slack (h/t Kevin Wang)

  • Love, some sort of DAO for clinical trials of non-western medicine, is apparently raising $10 million at a $400 million valuation. It's not necessarily a terrible idea, but the whole thing reads like a satire article from The Onion. Link / Slack (h/t Samir Unni)

  • Provider search and scheduling platform Kyruus acquired Epion Health, a patient engagement platform. Link

  • Soda Health, a platform that helps Medicare Advantage and Medicaid members access supplemental benefits, raised $25 million. Link

  • HealthMatch, a clinical trial platform, raised $7 million. Link

Opinions:

  • A small but mighty outfit called HTN published a nice market map on Medicaid this week. You can check it out here if you missed it on Tuesday. This piece was intended to provide a overview of what startups are working on in the space, and kicks off us looking into a number of Medicaid-related topics over the coming months, including more on who the Medicaid population is, who delivers care for Medicaid, and how its paid for. We think it'll make for a fun series on a worthwhile topic, and we hope you'll think so too! Link / Slack 

  • We’re breaking convention of including only articles from the last week for this article from NYT highlighting efforts in Seattle to help address the problem of homeless encampments in a more productive way than incarceration. The program, JustCare, staffs team members who respond to urgent calls from encampments rather than police. These team members focus on building trust with homeless residents. It has helped find housing for hundreds of local residents. Of course, the debate is over the cost of the program, with the former Seattle mayor releasing a report that JustCare cost $127,376 annually per person housed, which JustCare disputes. Either way, this seems like something we should be doing more of. Link (paywalled) / Slack (h/t Oliver Rothschild)

  • This is an interesting piece looking at Massachusetts interest in instituting hospital price caps and the political challenges it will likely face in attempting to do so. Link

Data:

  • Interesting new data suggesting that the spike in remote patient monitoring during COVID-19 was primarily driven by only a handful of providers, with 0.75% of providers having a remote patient monitoring claim. Link

  • A new Merritt Hawkins survey suggested that wait times for common specialty physician types averaged 26 days in major cities, up from 24 days in 2017. Link

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