Homeward, a tech-enabled startup targeting rural health patients, received a $50 million Series B funding round.
It's the company's second funding round in five months of existence. Homeward was launched in March with $20 million in seed funding by former Livongo President Dr. Jennifer Schneider.
The company’s Series B funding round was led by ARCH Venture Partners and Human Capital. It also included participation from General Catalyst, which led Homeward’s Series A funding, and Lee Shapiro and Glen Tullman, co-founders of 7wireVentures, an early-stage venture capital firm. Tullman was also the founder and CEO of Livongo before selling it to Teladoc for $18.5 billion.
Homeward said it will use the funds to expand into new markets through value-based contracts with health plans. On Wednesday, it announced a value-based partnership with Priority Health, a non-profit health plan in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Priority’s Medicare Advantage members will have access to Homeward’s tech-enabled care team, including at-home visits and community-based mobile clinics. For the initial rollout this fall, Priority Health is making the service available in 14 Michigan counties.
“Our target market is tightly distributed among a small handful of health plans. In fact, approximately 90% of Medicare-eligible beneficiaries who live in rural markets are covered by seven payers. This funding enables us to reach rural populations even faster in partnership with health plans and local physicians,” Schneider said in a prepared statement.
Homeward uses a combination of mobile clinics, at-home care and remote patient monitoring to provide care for underserved patients in rural communities. Rural patients have a 23% higher mortality rate than those in urban communities due to the lack of access to quality care, according to research published in Health Affairs.
In June, Homeward partnered with pharmacy chain Rite Aid to provide mobile clinic vans at their rural locations in Michigan and provide primary care services to Medicare members, including annual wellness visits, screenings and risk assessments. The company said it will provide virtual care services to these patients as well through remote patient monitoring and refer them to regional health systems for more complex care.
“Pharmacists are incredibly trusted individuals in any setting, but particularly in rural settings,” Schneider said to Digital Health Business & Technology. “They have a really high percentage or number of touchpoints running into any individual person.”