Kevin's Weekly Health Tech Reads 4/25

Accolade acquires PlushCare, Oscar formally launches the +Oscar platform, Tiger leads a $133 million investment in Virta, & more!

Reads for the week of 4/18 - 4/24


News:

  • Accolade, a company that helps employers coordinate healthcare for their employees, acquired PlushCare, a virtual primary care startup, for up to $450 million. It makes a ton of sense for them to make this acquisition strategically as they think about sales to employers. Accolade seems to be positioning itself well as it competes for the attention of HR departments against a number of other players developing a similar portfolio of offerings - Teladoc, Grand Rounds / Doctor on Demand, Transcarent, and others. This is going to be quite the arms race over the next few years as all of these organization seek to cozy themselves up to employers as the trusted partner to help employees navigate health care services and manage health care spend. Link.

  • Oscar Health curiously decided to formally announce its +Oscar platform this week… with zero new clients on it since their platform opportunity was highlighted in its S-1 a few months ago. It is worth noting that in this press release, Oscar refers to customers of the platform as “the Oscar health insurance companies, Cigna+Oscar and Health First Health Plans.” Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but it is an interesting shift in tone from the platform discussion in their S-1. The platform conversation in the S-1 focused entirely on outside partnerships like Cigna and Health First, with no mention of their own plans as a customer of their platform. Yet now their internal plans are listed as their first customer for +Oscar. Why? Obviously the public markets haven’t reacted well to Oscar’s IPO, and this feels like they’re flailing about trying to fix the narrative. Rather than putting out press releases announcing the launch of +Oscar, I’d personally rather just see them sign up some more clients. Link.

  • Molina is paying $60 million to acquire Cigna’s Medicaid assets in Texas, which serve around 50,000 people and generate around $1 billion in premium revenue. Again, if I’m a startup in the space looking to grow membership with easy access to capital I am doing everything I can to get a piece of a deal like this. As Bright Health has shown, there appears to be a financial arbitrage play here for the new entrants. Link.


Funding

  • Diabetes startup Virta was the recipient of Tiger’s weekly massive digital health check for this week. Virta announced it raised $133 million in a round led by Tiger, valuing Virta at $2 billion. This comes just five months after Virta raised $65 million at a valuation of around $1 billion. Not a bad return for investors in that last funding round. Link.

  • InterWell Health, a company in the value-based kidney care space, raised $46 million. Link.

  • Current Health, a remote monitoring platform selling to health systems and pharmaceutical companies, raised $43 million. Link.

  • Proximie, a new platform to digitize the operating room, raised $38 million. Link.

  • VieCure, a tech platform for cancer centers, raised $25 million for oncology. Link.

  • Renovia, a digital therapeutic for women’s pelvic floor disorders, raised $17 million. Link.

  • MedChart, a startup simplifying the process for patients and attorneys to request medical records, raised $17 million. Link.

  • pulseData, a data analytics startup for kidney care, raised $16.5 million. Link.

  • Brella, a supplemental health insurance company, raised $15 million. Link.

  • Seqster, the latest startup attempting to build the “mint.com for healthcare”, raised $12 million. Link.

  • Moving Analytics, a virtual cardiac rehab platform, raised $6 million. Link.

  • Oath Care, a virtual support community for mothers, raised $2 million. Link.


Opinions:

  • Triple Tree put out a good summary on the virtual care landscape, breaking down the different components of the user journey and startups playing in each. It includes some good lists of startups across various parts of the journey, diving into topics such as small / medium practice adoption of virtual care, the employer market, behavioral health, government programs, and clinical trials. Worth checking out. Link.

  • The new CMMI Director, Elizabeth Fowler, has paused a number of initiatives and shared this week that “we’re at a really critical juncture in the path to value-based care”. While it sounds like Fowler is willing to take a critical look at existing programs CMMI has implemented, we can expect to still see a general push towards value-based care and potentially a streamlining of efforts across CMMI. That certainly doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Link.

  • Olivia Webb wrote an interesting post on adoption of tele-mental health, highlighting a survey of providers from a mental health practice in NY. Of the seventeen providers in this practice, they reported wanting to spend 70% of their time providing virtual care moving forward. Lots of potential implications for care models in the future, as the article explores. Link.


Data:

  • Here’s a webinar sharing results from a survey on the state of telemedicine in pediatric care. The survey and webinar highlight some issues of virtual care for pediatric practices today: 1. The telemedicine solutions still are not integrated well into workflows and EMR’s and these small practice docs don’t have time or know how to integrate/support them, 2. Reimbursement for virtual care is still too inconsistent and eats too much time trying to figure out, and 3. the ability to mimic in person care is hard when “90-95% of diagnoses” occur by listening to the lungs and looking into ears. Seems like theres a lot of opportunity for digital health startups to partner with these small / medium sized practices. Link.

  • This is a good piece from the Commonwealth Fund looking at how Medicare brokers influence plan selections. It provides a nice overview of how brokers work in the Medicare space and the implications of the approach. Link.


Jobs:

  • Aegic Ventures, as NY-based startup studio, is hiring an Operating Partner. Link.

  • Aledade, a startup helping independent primary care practices manage value-based care contracts, is hiring two business operations roles in the CEO office. Link.

  • Brightline Health, a behavioral therapy for kids and teens startup, is hiring a Revenue Cycle Product Manager. Link.

  • CoachMe Health, a non-profit bringing digital diabetes care to Medicaid, is hiring a developer and entrepreneur-in-residence. Link.

  • Fella, a virtual clinic for male obesity, is hiring for an Obesity Physician. Link.

  • GHX, a healthcare supply chain management company, is hiring a Director of Demand Insights. Link.

  • LRVHealth, an early stage healthcare VC, is hiring for a number of roles at different levels. Link.

  • Omada, a diabetes management startup, is hiring a number of roles, including product. Link.

  • Ribbon Health, a data and API layer startup for healthcare enterprises, is hiring a Product Lead. Link.

  • Swift Medical, a wound care management technology startup, is hiring a VP of Marketing. Link.

  • Zeus Health, an early stage startup developing a platform to accelerate digital health startup builders, is hiring engineers. Link.