SCAN Group is implementing a service diversification strategy designed to identify and address the unmet needs of the California-based Medicare Advantage organization’s beneficiaries.
The company, whose assets include SCAN Health Plan, recently invested an undisclosed dollar amount in non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) broker SafeRide Health.
The goal behind this strategy is to identify and address “pain points” for seniors with complex health care needs, according to Dr. Sachin Jain, president and CEO of SCAN Group and SCAN Health Plan.
“Our mission is to keep older people healthy and independent, and the investments we make are organizations that we believe are making leaps and bounds in helping older people live healthy and independent lives,” Jane told Hospice News. “We think these are mission-aligned investments. Our interest is in partnering with and investing in companies where there is a significant opportunity to transform the aging experience in America.”
SafeRide’s platform gives patients access to hundreds of NEMT providers, including Uber (NYSE: UBER ) and Lyft. The product is designed to identify higher acuity patients and offers real-time reporting, triage and live monitoring, as well as aggregated personalized program insights.
SafeRide marks the company’s fifth investment as it executes its service diversification strategy.
As of 2020, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) allows Medicare Advantage plans to cover additional non-medical benefits, including transportation and nutrition services and some home modifications, among others.
Although MA plans are not required to offer these benefits, a growing number are accepting them. As of 2021, 67 percent of individual plans offer nutrition-related support, as do 69 percent of special needs plans, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. About 38% of individual plans cover transportation benefits. Among special needs plans, the share is 87%.
Transportation is a key social determinant of health. Many patients delay or cancel health care appointments due to difficulty getting to and from appointments due to distance, frailty, accessibility, and other factors.
“For anyone who is fragile or vulnerable, [addressing NEMT needs] reduces one barrier to real access to care. A lot of older people you know cite transportation as the main reason they haven’t been able to get medical care,” Jane said. “Medicare Advantage plans across the country actually have benefits for non-emergency medical transportation. I think this is one of the most challenging benefits to administer because of the complexity of delivering rides to different types of people who have a range of different functional limitations.”
SCAN’s other recent investments include healthcare logistics and services platform MedArrive, kidney care company Monogram Health, medication management firm Arine and SafelyYou, a platform that offers AI-enabled fall management technology for cognitively impaired patients .
SCAN began partnering with MedArrive in late 2021 as a preferred provider of home services, including a joint effort to vaccinate patients returning home against COVID-19. The MA company decided to invest a confidential amount in MedArrive after this collaboration.
MedArrive uses physician-led telehealth to reach patients in addition to in-person care. The company’s services include chronic disease management, transitional care, readmission prevention, urgent care and palliative care, among others.
When it comes to investments like these, one of SCAN’s goals is to simplify the healthcare experience for its members, Jain told Hospice News.
“Everyone is saying the same words in this space, but the question is whether they really believe it. Things will inevitably go wrong in a complex business like logistics and transportation,” Jain said. “What we care about is how much do you care when these things go wrong and how hard will you work to make it better?”