Home healthcare provider Heal plans to expand its footprint with $100 million in new funding from Humana. The Los Angeles-based startup offers in-home primary care visits and telemedicine visits, and more recently added teletherapy. It currently operates in eight states, including California, New York and Washington.
Heal’s physicians see roughly 10 patients per day, with a back-end platform that assists with appointment booking, billing and other administrative tasks. It also touts upfront pricing for patients. The company is currently covered by 25 insurance plans, of course including Humana.
The insurer’s investment in Heal goes beyond cash. Humana will work with Heal to expand its footprint to new markets, including Chicago, Charlotte and Houston. Susan Diamond, Humana’s segment president for home business, will also join the startup’s board of directors.
“The partnership with Heal is part of Humana’s efforts to build a broader set of offerings across the spectrum of home based care, with high quality, value-based primary care being a key foundational element,” she said in a news release. “We continue to see high levels of customer satisfaction and improved health outcomes when care is delivered in the home.”
Heal also plans to use the funds to expand the breadth of services that it offers. For example, the startup is considering offering physical therapy and dermatology, CEO Nick Desai said in a phone interview.
Desai and CMO Dr. Renee Dua co-founded the company in 2014. Since then, Heal has conducted 200,000 home visits.
Roughly 60% of its users are covered by Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans, Desai said, though the company has also been building out services to care for the youngest patients. In 2018, Heal indicated it planned to provide more health services for children and new mothers. As of late, it has seen a need for pediatric vaccinations, which have dipped due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Desai said.
In-home appointments aren’t just convenient. They can also be an opportunity to spot fall risks, food insecurity, and other potential health risks. And for some patients with chronic conditions, who might not feel comfortable going for an in-person appointment right now, seeing their doctor is still important.
While most patients initially treat Heal like an urgent care service, after the second visit, many of them find a primary care physician with the company, Desai said.
“Just because something is welcome now because of Covid doesn’t mean it won’t be welcome later,” he said. “It is a fundamentally better experience. Once you’ve experienced that, no one wants to go back to the doctor’s office.”