Photo Credit: Dispatch Health
Most home health startups focus on remote monitoring or bringing caregivers into patients’ homes. But Denver-based DispatchHealth is taking a different approach.
The company, which provides in-home high-acuity care, from stitches to pneumonia treatment, recently raised $135.8 million in series C funding.
Dr. Mark Prather co-founded the company in 2013. A former emergency physician and head of an emergency medicine staffing group, he saw an opportunity to provide patients with better care in the home.
The primary focus is to care for patients with chronic conditions, such as COPD or congestive heart failure, or those who might have difficulty getting transportation to the hospital.
“As an ER doctor, if you came and saw me with a problem, I maybe had two versions of a care plan for you. If you brought me into the home, I have to develop a care plan that is in context for you,” he said. “If I see there is not car in the driveway, or you’re trouble getting around with a walker, do I really tell you to go see a cardiologist in two days?”
Clearly, not everything that can be done in an emergency room can be brought to a patient’s home. But a surprising amount can. For example, a nurse practitioner can treat complicated UTIs, provide IV fluids to dehydrated patients, insert a catheter or stitch up cuts. Prather said bloodwork, point of care lab tests, ultrasounds and EKG monitors can all fit in a vehicle.
The startup currently operates in 19 cities and plans to expand further with the new funding. Prather said the company is also looking to expand the services it provides, including remote monitoring and other resources for patients that might need care over a longer duration of time.
Optum Ventures led the series C round, and Oak HC/FT and Humana also joined as investors. Previous investors Alta Partners, Questa Capital and Echo Health Ventures also participated in the round.
Though DispatchHealth has developed partnerships with payers and local provider groups, at the beginning, it had to develop a new model for reimbursement.
“When I first developed the model, there was no way to get paid. Then I had to go and show good outcomes. Over time, we’ve developed the payment mechanics for this,” Prather said. “Many payers are realizing the home is a site of care that might actually be better for the patient.”
The company works with several commercial insurers, including UnitedHealthcare, Anthem, Aetna, Cigna, Humana and Bright Health.