Specialty care is joining primary care and urgent care in the transition from brick-and-mortar facilities to the home.
On Tuesday, in-home care provider MedArrive said it will begin offering on-demand cardiovascular services this fall through a partnership with virtual cardiology company Heartbeat Health.
MedArrive nurses and emergency medical technicians deployed into patients’ homes will assess patients and connect them virtually with a Heartbeat Health cardiologist if they require an immediate consultation. Through on-site electrocardiograms, laboratory tests and other evaluations, the cardiologist can virtually prescribe medication or refer patients for more comprehensive treatment.
“There may be patients that need to have a stent put in or may need to have further diagnostics with a brick-and-mortar cardiologist,” Chief Clinical Officer Rocky Samuel said. “Heartbeat can prescribe exactly what that patient needs so that we can better facilitate them.”
MedArrive and Heartbeat Health did not disclose financial terms of their partnership. MedArrive said the cost to health insurers will vary depending on the value-based contracts it has with a payer.
MedArrive launched in December 2020 to provide in-home healthcare to low-income, vulnerable patients across nine states, mostly in the South and Southwest. It has partnerships with health insurers such as Centene, Molina Healthcare and Scan Health Plans.
Home healthcare became a magnet for venture capital funding during the COVID-19 pandemic as more care moved into the home due in part to the flexibility of telehealth services. MedArrive has raised more than $45 million in funding, Heal has raised $206 million and DispatchHealth has raised $330 million. As the companies mature, they are expanding into specialty services to increase revenue and profits.
“The model has always been how do we do this in a very cost-effective manner that is scalable because, at the end of the day, we can’t use venture capital to pay for our visits,” MedArrive Co-founder and CEO Dan Trigub said. “That money is going to run out and we’re not going to be here for the long term.”
Increased rates of cardiovascular disease and rising costs to treat it prompted MedArrive to begin offering cardiac care services. Cardiovascular disease is the third most expensive diseases to treat, costing the U.S. roughly $219 billion annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The company estimates 1 in 5 patients it serves has some form of cardiovascular disease.
MedArrive also wants to expand into obstetric care for low-income mothers and palliative care.
MedArrive is not the only house call company branching into specialty services. DispatchHealth, which offers in-home care in 30 states, began providing in-home cardiac care through a partnership with Tacoma, Washington-based Pulse Heart Institute in January. Last month, the company announced a deal with Denver-based Reimagine Care to provide in-home support services to cancer patients in Texas. DispatchHealth also offers hospital-at-home services through partnerships with hospitals and healthcare systems.
Expanded specialty services into the home is attractive to the health insurers that house call firms partner with, such as Medicare Advantage organizations and managed Medicaid organizations. Expanded specialty services ensure patients receive the care they need and can prevent them from seeking more costly care in hospital emergency departments.
Adding specialty services could help patients get treatment for chronic diseases before they spiral out of control and cost insurers more money, said Rebecca Springer, a healthcare analyst at research firm PitchBook. Specialists could also provide payers greater visibility into the health of patients and guide them to supplemental benefits such as healthy food, while reducing overall healthcare costs, she said.