Homeward Raises $50M to Rearchitect Rural Care

Homeward’s “no disruption is the best disruption” strategy is picking up steam with $50M in Series B funding to rearchitect healthcare for the 60M Americans living in rural communities by augmenting local providers rather than replacing them. 

It’s the company’s second capital raise in the five months since it debuted under the leadership of former Livongo execs Amar Kendale and Jennifer Schneider, bringing its total funding to $70M.

Homeward is an in-network provider with the ambitious goal of evolving both payment models and care delivery models in rural communities hardest hit by the hospital closure crisis.

  • To accomplish this, Homeward utilizes telehealth services, in-home visits and mobile clinics for physical exams, as well as cellular-based RPM technology to monitor patients in areas without broadband.
  • The Series B follows shortly after a partnership with Rite Aid to send Homeward’s mobile clinics to rural locations and provide primary care services to Medicare members, referring patients to regional health systems and local specialists for complex needs.

The fresh funding will help Homeward scale its on-the-ground and virtual care teams while expanding into new markets through value-based contracts with health plans, the first of which was just announced with Priority Health out of Michigan.

  • Priority’s 30k Medicare Advantage members will have access to Homeward’s full suite of services, including its physicians and mobile clinics. 

The Takeaway

Homeward is one of the first comprehensive providers to take on full risk in rural markets, and its Series B will allow it to reach these populations even faster through new partnerships. This expansion will likely be focused on only a small handful of payors, with Homeward reporting that seven health plans cover 90% of Medicare-eligible beneficiaries living in rural communities.

Homeward Debuts With $20M for Rural Care

Sometimes no disruption is the best disruption, which is why Homeward is launching with $20M in funding to rearchitect rural healthcare with a full-risk hybrid model that augments local providers as opposed to replacing them. 

At the helm of the new startup is ex-Livongo president Jennifer Schneider, MD, who is aiming to bolster access to both primary and specialty care services in less populated areas, like her hometown of Winona, Minnesota.

  • Homeward overcomes traditional barriers to rural care by combining a multidisciplinary care team, available virtually or in-person via mobile units, with cellular-based remote monitoring that doesn’t require a broadband connection.
  • Under Homeward’s model, which will focus initially on cardiology, a typical patient journey will involve proactive measures with RPM tools to detect heart problems, a visit from a mobile care unit to diagnose issues, and virtual visits for ongoing treatment.  
  • The company’s confidence in its model is seen in its commitment to becoming the first comprehensive provider to take on full risk in rural markets, giving it ownership of the economic benefits of delivering high-quality care at a lower cost.
  • To avoid displacing local primary care physicians and specialists, Homeward will work with regional Medicare Advantage plans to refer members to nearby facilities when appropriate, ensuring timely care while also reducing unnecessary hospital admissions.

The Takeaway

While the value-based model isn’t a new concept, its application towards the 60M Americans living in rural communities has been limited due to challenges with poor broadband and specialist availability. Telehealth as a standalone solution hasn’t been the remedy to these disparities, but Homeward’s cellular RPM devices and mobile care units could bridge the gap that other methods have failed to cross.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team

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