Kevin's Weekly Health Tech Reads 12/13

Collective Medical acquired for ~$650m, over $730 million in funding announced this week across 14 deals, HBR article suggests expanding ICHRA, a Mercer survey on employer priorities, & more

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News:

  • Collective Medical, a software platform helping providers coordinate care using ADT feeds, was purchased by PointClickCare, an EHR for long term care facilities. The transaction value was reported to be just under $650 million. Seems like a really nice financial outcome for the Collective folks & investors - Collective raised just under $50 million a few years ago. It will be interesting to see what happens to the real-time notification startup landscape from here - does PatientPing become a more valuable asset for someone else now that Collective is off the market? Does PatientPing become less valuable because the largest post-acute network (and presumably one of the main customers of these companies) has effectively now chosen another vendor? Link.
  • Ro continues to quickly expand its services, this week announcing the acquisition of Workpath, a startup that’s built APIs to enable healthcare companies to order on-demand home healthcare services for patients. This seems to be a step toward Ro’s vision of being the Shopify-like platform for virtual healthcare services. It seems like a massive opportunity if they’re able to execute on it - will be quite interesting to watch Ro’s next couple expansion moves from here. Link.
  • Amazon announced it is launching HealthLake, a data lake for healthcare orgs, its latest addition to a growing list of healthcare capabilities. Not surprising to see them launch with Cerner featured prominently given the budding relationship between the two orgs, although it’d be nice to see a few Cerner health systems raising their hand in this announcement as being excited to use the HealthLake. Link.
  • Some regulatory news from the week:
  • Congress reached a bi-partisan deal on Friday to end surprise billing. Would be great if this makes it over the goal line (and works in the way its intended). Link.
  • CMS proposed streamlining prior auths for Medicaid. Not surprisingly, the AHA cheered the move, although is pushing for expansion to Medicare Advantage as well. Link.
  • HHS proposed modifications to HIPAA, expanding an individuals rights to their own data. Link.
  • Talkspace is in discussions about potentially being acquired - either by a strategic or a SPAC - at a ~$1 billion valuation. The article notes that potential strategic acquirers are healthcare and technology companies - interesting to think through which technology companies would be potential acquirers here. Link.
  • Tempus, the precision medicine company, raised another $200 million at an $8 billion valuation. About the only thing I understand about this company is that its founder previously started Groupon, which I enjoyed using before it imploded. Link.
  • Cityblock continues its ascent, raising $160 million at a $1.3 billion valuation for its primary care model for dual eligibles, only a handful of months after adding $54 million. It is really nice to see an awesome group of folks doing so well by focusing on supporting underserved populations - 80% of Cityblock’s members have over 3 chronic conditions and 2/3rds are people of color. Hopefully this serves as a proof point for the industry to continue to drive more investment in the space. Cityblock has had a remarkable growth trajectory since it spun out of Google’s Sidewalk Labs three years ago, now with over 70,000 members across four geographies via payer partnerships. You may say - hey, 70k members isn’t that many - but compare that to Oak Street which had around 60k at-risk members in Q3, after being founded in 2012. And given the average annual spend for the dual eligible population is around $16k, if Cityblock gets a global cap payment for those patients, that can be a really nice business (very rough math… 70k x $16k/yr = $1.1 billion of revenue). This is gonna be a fun S-1 to read one day soon-ish. Link.
  • LeanTaas raised $130 million for its AI platform helping hospitals make more efficient use of operating rooms and in-patient beds. It currently has over 300 hospital and health system customers. Link.
  • Pear Therapeutics raised $80 million to help commercialize its FDA-approved digital therapeutics. Link.
  • Calm, the meditation app, raised $75 million at a $2 billion valuation. Link.
  • Elation raised $40 million for its software platform for primary care practices. Link.
  • Centivo, a digital-first health plan offering for self-insured employers, raised $34 million. Link.
  • Story Health raised $4 million for its virtual specialty care clinic. Link.
  • Babyscripts, a virtual maternity care platform, raised $4 million. Link.
  • Blueprint, a startup helping mental health practitioners collect and get reimbursed for PROs, raised $3.4 million. Link.
  • Pair Team raised $2.7 million and emerged from stealth building a platform for value-based primary care. Link.
  • Kleva Health raised $1.5 million in funding for an at-home COVID-19 test. Link.
  • Docent Health, a platform helping health systems coordinate care, raised funding from CHCF. Link.
  • Most Days launched a mental-health focused self-care app and announced a Seed round from a bunch of well known names in healthcare. Link.
  • Oak Street is growing into Louisana and South Carolina next year. Link.
  • Sanford and Intermountain have called off their merger after Sanford’s CEO was fired over comments related to his unwillingness to wear a mask. Link.
  • Tenet purchased 45 ambulatory surgery centers across 9 states for $1.1 billion. Link.

Opinions:

  • This HBR article argues it’d be a good idea to give employees cash to purchase their own insurance rather than having traditional employer-sponsored insurance. The article suggests expanding upon ICHRA, the newish rule allowing employees to purchase insurance through individual exchanges, in a way that will encourage larger employers to adopt the approach as well. It’s really interesting to think about how the insurance market might change if an approach like this takes off over the next few years, and in particular the impacts on all the digital health startups selling their wares to employer HR teams. Link.
  • Of course, the while the notion of allowing individuals to purchase their own insurance more directly is certainly appealing for a whole host of reasons as articulated above, it turns out it is still so incredibly confusing that most people make poor decisions when purchasing insurance. This NYTimes article highlights the confusing process of purchasing insurance and how providing people with more insurance options doesn’t necessarily lead to individuals selecting better insurance. Link.
  • Bob Kocher and Bryan Roberts from Venrock published their 2021 predictions. Leaving aside predictions for just a second can I tell you how excited I am that we’ve finally reached 2021 prediction season! It’s another friendly reminder that this nightmarish year is almost over. Whew! Ok back to the predictions - it’s an interesting list that is worth checking out to ponder what the next year might have in store. I found the prediction about virtual care for Medicare taking off as one of the most interesting on the list. Certainly there are strong tailwinds at play that make it seem realistic. But the practical challenges highlighted by the recent HBR article on telehealth in senior primary care models still seem like a huge barrier to rapid adoption. Will be interesting to watch. I also am holding out hope that they are correct about SPACs falling out of favor so we can get back to the good old IPO process. Link.

Data:

  • Mercer released a survey on employer priorities in 2021. Check out the chart below and how far behavioral health is in front of everything else. No wonder there’s so much investment activity there currently. It is interesting to note the Mercer claims data shows that new behavioral health diagnoses are actually down significantly year over year, which is the opposite of what you’d expect in a year like this, particularly given the explosion of mental health offerings. Link.
  • KFF looks at some policy changes that could help make Medicare more affordable, focusing on out-of-pocket limits and increased financial assistance. Link.

Jobs:

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  • Astrid Health, a startup building a digital platform for women living with PCOS, is hiring a Head of Engineering. Link.
  • Clever Care, a southern California MA plan combining eastern / western medicine principles, is hiring a VP of Sales. Link.
  • Doctor on Demand is hiring a product manager for its behavioral health product offering. Link.
  • Ferrum Health, an AI platform helping health systems reduce medical errors, is hiring for marketing and account management roles. Link.
  • LRVHealth, an early-stage health tech venture fund, is hiring a part-time CFO. Link.
  • Stellar Health, a value-based care platform for independent primary care, is hiring a provider practice associate role in - where else - Minneapolis! Smart. Link.
  • Teladoc / Livongo is hiring multiple roles, including a senior product manager. Link.
  • Transcarent, the stealthy-ish General Catalyst / 7wire startup in the center of excellence for self-insured employers market, is hiring a product manager. Link.