Allina Aims to Take Home Health Model Nationwide
Are house calls making a comeback? With insurance giants like UnitedHealth Group and Humana spending billions to acquire home health firms, it’s clear that home-based care is fast becoming a lucrative business.
Now, Minneapolis-based Allina Health is diving even deeper into the field. On Tuesday, the company formally announced the launch of a new entity known as Inbound Health. The effort is designed to help other health systems and health plans stand up their own home-based health programs. Dave Kerwar, who’s serving as CEO of Inbound Health, said that Allina had been fielding several requests from other health systems looking to launch their own home-based care programs.
“That led us to understand that there was a real opportunity here,” Kerwar said in a phone interview. He said he hopes to bring Allina’s home health model to other health systems across the country.
Allina is teaming up with Boston-based venture capital firm Flare Capital Partners to launch the new company.
The Inbound Health model touts a “full stack of capabilities” that can help other companies launch and scale at-home care operations. That includes virtual care teams, analytics tools, supply chain partnerships, and payment models. Though it made its formal debut Tuesday, the Inbound Health platform has actually been in use at Allina since May 2020. The company says it has helped more than 4,200 patients on the platform.
Inbound Health’s model is primarily focused on patients who need acute or post-acute care. That could include patients recovering from a surgery, for instance. “This is very different than long-term home care,” Kerwar said. “We are replicating the most important part of a hospital or skilled nursing facility stay in the patient’s home.”
Kerwar said that Allina’s model can lower care costs by up to 40 percent for health systems.
“The hospital-at-home and skilled-nursing-facility-at-home models have proven across the country to be pretty key to lowering medical costs and improving care quality and patient satisfaction,” he said.
But how exactly does home health care reduce costs? Kerwar laid out to two main reasons: It generally requires fewer resources, and it tends to reduce the chances of requiring more care down the road. In general, hospitals are very expensive to run, and not every patient needs a hospital stay to recover.
“We’ve seen less utilization of care afterwards,” said Kerwar, who previously served as chief product officer of Mount Sinai Health System. “We’ve seen fewer readmissions.”
Allina and Flare are the leading investors in a $20 million Series A fundraising round for the new company. “Most of that investment has already been secured,” Kerwar noted. “We are inviting other investors to participate in this Series A. Those will almost exclusively be what we call strategic investors, which are health systems that we would work with that want to stand up this program.”
Kerwar said Inbound’s model is fairly flexible and can adapt to individual health systems’ needs.
“Our model is such that we want the health systems to leverage all of their existing capabilities first. Then we bring in what we can provide to fill in the gaps,” he said. “We only want to make money when our health systems are successful.”