Kevin's Weekly Health Tech Reads 11/8

CMS posts Direct Contracting Entities, a quiet week of healthcare news, & a lot of job postings

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  • CMS announced the other day its list of 51 companies that are participating as Direct Contracting Entities in the first year of the new Direct Contracting model. The Direct Contracting initiative is worth watching as it essentially takes the Medicare Advantage approach to payment for primary care (i.e. the global risk approach of Oak Street and Iora) and applies it to the Medicare fee for service population. Given the success seen in the MA population, it’ll be interesting to see how this works in the Medicare fee for service population. The Direct Contracting Entities include a number of well known startups innovating in the primary care space - Cityblock, Iora, Landmark, Lifesprk, Oak Street, and VillageMD. Notably, Clover, which you may recall has been touting Direct Contracting as its growth strategy as part of its recent SPAC, is not on the list. A bit bizarre given their investor presentation cited 200,000 lives in 2021 that were already under contract. Link.
  • Some interesting tidbits from Q3 earnings calls this week:
  • Humana. In a similar tone to Anthem last week, Humana’s CEO led off speaking at length about what they’re doing to support members, including their partnership with Papa, the grandkid-rental service to help with loneliness in seniors. Check out the anecdote he shares about the Humana / Papa member - the Papa team sang happy birthday to a Humana member, who was overcome with emotion because nobody had wished him happy birthday in years. Man. That’s both super cool that Papa is able to help folks in that way, and also invites some very depressing philosophical questions about why we live in a world where an individuals health insurer is the only one wishing them a happy birthday. Link.
  • CVS. CVS shared that it will have a female CEO starting in February as Merlo is retiring and Karen Lynch will be taking the helm. Link. It’s now at 450 HealthHUBs across 30 states and is rolling out in-person behavioral health services in January. Interesting to see how Merlo discusses the value of HealthHUBs - additional visits; pharmacy utilization; front of store sales; as well as enabling the organization to scale up other programs, such as a diabetes management offering. Link.
  • Cigna. Cigna responded to Q&A with some comments about how they’re looking to expand care delivery and coordination services, specifically virtual and in home, via both internal development of those capabilities but also opportunistic acquisitions. Link.
  • Cohero Health, a digital therapeutic for asthma, has sold its assets to Aptar Pharma. Link.
  • OnTrak, a mental health analytics startup, acquired LifeDojo, a health coaching startup, for $10 million. Link.
  • Koa Health, which spun out of Telefonica’s ‘moonshot factory’, raised $16.5 million to launch its mental health platform for employers in the US. Link.


  • Interesting read from Ian Chiang and Poorwa Godbole of Flare Capital on care delivery trends in the post-COVID-19 world. It hits on a number of interesting trends across big themes - virtual care, remote monitoring and in-home care, social determinants, etc. Link.
  • Here’s a look at how UHC’s Medicare business views the role of home health and telehealth moving forward. They’ll complete 1.7 million HouseCalls - Optum’s home visit program in 2020. Link.


  • Omada reports that it conducted a randomized controlled trial showing a statistically significant reduction in A1c levels and weight loss over a 12 month period. Link.
  • In a study result that should surprise nobody, this JAMA study reports patients more often received a ICD / CRT-D from the medical device manufacturer that provided the largest payment to the doc who did the implant. Link.


A bunch of jobs from rather cool companies were posted over on the Slack channel this week. If you’re not already on the Slack channel you can join by clicking here.

  • Aledade, a platform enabling independent PCPs to perform in risk-based contracts, is hiring a VP of ACO Performance & Operations. Link.
  • Amwell, a telehealth company, is hiring a pricing manager and product marketing manager. Link.
  • Cityblock, a new care delivery model for dual eligible populations, is hiring a product manager. Link.
  • Cohere, a platform helping providers deliver high value care, is hiring for a bunch of roles. Link.
  • Devoted Health, a Medicare Advantage insurer, is hiring for a role on their engineering team. Link.
  • Dispatch, an in-home urgent care startup, is hiring a couple roles in their partnerships team. Link.
  • Iora Health, a Medicare Advantage primary care startup, is hiring a bunch of different roles across ops, sales & marketing, tech, and clinical. Link.
  • LiveFree Health, a concierge navigation platform for cancer patients, is hiring marketing, patient experience, and special projects roles. Link.
  • Par8o, a platform for provider referral management, is hiring a client success manager. Link.
  • Paytient, a patient payment platform, is hiring ten roles across product, marketing, sales, BD & engineering. Link.
  • Portal Instruments, building a needle free drug delivery system, is hiring a medical director. Link.
  • Tomorrow Health, a home health logistics platform, is hiring for a bunch of different roles. Link.
  • Special X, a platform supporting families raising kids with disabilities, is hiring a marketing director. Link.
  • VAL Health, a behavioral economics consulting firm, is hiring a consultant. Link.
  • Xealth, a platform integrating digital health tools into health systems, is hiring a SVP of Product. Link.