Acumen America: Transforming the US Healthcare System - Acumen

Acumen America: Transforming the US Healthcare System

By Amon Anderson on December 31, 2017

In 2017, we made five new Acumen America investments across our priority areas—financial inclusion, workforce development and health. In particular, we’ve focused our investments on companies addressing the social determinants of health, those factors that exist outside the medical system, like food and housing, that affect someone’s ability to get and stay healthy. Unfortunately, these determinants are often overlooked by the healthcare system, so we’re building a portfolio that challenges this status quo.

Our most recent investment, BehaveCare, is taking an innovative care model into the homes and communities of those that need it most. BehaveCare serves Medicaid patients suffering from severe mental illness and substance abuse disorders who wind up repeatedly using expensive in-patient health services. These 1.25 million patients represent less than two percent of all Medicaid patients, but account for nearly 10 percent of total costs. BehaveCare leverages data to better understand the special, often overlooked needs of these patients and then connects them to the appropriate social and medical services. Taking both a high-tech and high-touch approach to care, the company deploys specialists within the community to visit patients in their homes, arming them with telemedicine, care coordination tools, and other resources to ensure these patients can navigate the barriers to good health and access the care they need.

One of our earliest investments, Healthify, created a digital platform that enables healthcare providers like BehaveCare to connect with social service providers to help bridge the gap. Through Healthify’s platform, nurses and care managers can assess the social needs of their patents, search for providers, and coordinate services, be it housing, child care or a food bank. Healthify is helping homeless patients find housing, parents find child care, and food-insecure families put dinner on the table. We invested in Healthify’s seed round and, earlier this year, Blue Cross Blue Shield Venture Partners led the company’s Series A to accelerate their mission to build a truly integrated network of care. Today, Healthify is working with more than 15,000 care managers to serve more than 5 million patients.

Our other investments are getting at the heart of some of the other social determinants of health, such as accessible healthy food and affordable quality child care. Everytable is a network of restaurants offering nutritious meals at prices competitive with unhealthy fast food. A third of adults earning less than $15,000 a year are obese, yet low-income Americans don’t have access to affordable healthy foods in their communities. Everytable believes that by increasing access its model can change the culture of food in the communities they serve. MyVyllage provides affordable, high-quality child care based in neighborhood family homes. The first five years of life are critical to the well-being of a child, yet the average cost of early childhood education is nearly $10,000 a year. MyVyllage’s innovative model enables local independent providers to reduce costs and improve the quality of care.

Our partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a founding partner of Acumen America, has been instrumental in helping us shape our strategy for our investments focused on the social determinants of health, providing our team with critical insight in our due diligence and valuable support post-investment. With our growing portfolio of innovative healthcare providers, connectors, and social services, our hope is to reimagine the way America’s healthcare system works.

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