Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota announced it had entered into a full-risk value-based care arrangement with hybrid startup Homeward that aims to increase access for rural Minnesotans.
The insurer and the rural healthcare startup said Medicare Advantage members in 24 Minnesota counties outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area will be able to use Homeward’s services. The company offers in-home and community-based appointments as well as virtual care.
Homeward and Blue Cross said they’re working to identify patients who have gaps in their care or aren’t currently receiving services they need. They plan to expand Homeward’s services to additional counties as well.
“Our agreement with Homeward is another important step for Blue Cross’ nationally recognized Medicare Advantage plans,” Dr. Mark Steffen, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, said in a statement. “Blue Cross and Homeward will be working with local hospitals, clinics and care systems in each community to ensure that, together, we can work to solve one of the biggest challenges in the healthcare system today. We are excited for the opportunity to increase our support for populations and communities that are in need of more healthcare resources.”
THE LARGER TREND
Homeward launched nearly a year ago with a $20 million investment from General Catalyst. The startup, led by vets from chronic care company Livongo, is focused on providing care in rural communities, where residents are at greater risk for poor health outcomes compared with their urban counterparts.
Homeward has since partnered with pharmacy chain Rite Aid to connect seniors with clinical services like wellness visits and screenings. It also announced a $50 million Series B round in August, where it revealed its first value-based care partnership with Priority Health in Michigan.
Last summer, Homeward CEO Dr. Jennifer Schneider told MobiHealthNews moving away from fee-for-service payment was crucial for healthcare delivery in rural areas, particularly when offering services like remote patient monitoring.
“In order to actually be sustainable and use the care that you need to be successful in care delivery, I think total capitation is really the only path forward in rural markets,” she said.