House Calls Startup Raises $27 Million from Investors

A California-based startup specializing in on-demand physician house calls is looking to expand its health care services beyond the Golden State—with its sights set primarily on the millions of American seniors aging in place, the founder and CEO tells Home Health Care News.

Los Angeles-based Heal, which recently raised $26.9 million in funding in a Series A round, allows patients to use a smartphone app to schedule an in-home doctor’s visit in advance, or request a doctor’s appointment on-demand within a two-hour window.

Currently, adult patients in Los Angeles, San Diego, Silicon Valley, San Francisco and Orange County can use Heal’s app to request licensed pediatricians for their children, internal medicine and general practice physicians for themselves, and family practice doctors for their whole families, according to Heal’s website.

Patients can summon the physicians to their homes seven days a week, 365 days a year, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., according to HIT Consultant.

Though seniors can benefit from Heal’s services, Heal does not consider itself a home health company. Instead, Heal is “a great complement to home health care agencies,” and it works with many of them, Desai explained to HHCN.

“Most home health care agencies focus on supporting those unable to live on their own with nurses, assistance with bathing and other services,” Desai said. “Heal supplements that by actually delivering high quality preventive, primary, urgent, chronic disease and palliative care to those patients who need it most.”

At present, Heal accepts insurance from UnitedHealthcare, Blue Shield of California, Anthem Blue Cross of California, Aetna and Cigna Healthcare. Patients are charged the price of a co-pay, or a flat fee of $99, for each house call, TechCrunch reported.

Heal expects to begin accepting Medicare payments this November, impacting the company’s ability to provide on-demand health care to aging American seniors, Desai told HHCN.

“Serving seniors is our most important priority,” he said. “While house calls are revolutionary for all Americans, they are particularly valuable to seniors.  Between 4 million and 8 million seniors have conditions that prevent them from making it to a doctor’s office in the first place. This means they either receive inadequate care or overuse the ER. Neither is good.”

All in all, a home-based physician can enable a senior to receive timely, first-rate medical care, as well as reconcile medications, “without the sometimes-insurmountable pain of getting to a doctor’s office,” Desai said.

The company is hoping to expand to a slew of markets, Desai says.

“We want to serve all 40 major US metros over the next 18 months or so,” Desai told HHCN. “But, in 2017, we will launch six to 10 strategically selected markets throughout the U.S.”

The Tull Investment Group led Heal’s recent Series A financing, with participation from Hashtag One, Breyer Capital and Slow Ventures. Skydance Media CEO David Ellison and Qualcomm Executive Chairman Paul Jacobs also took part in the round, TechCrunch reported.

Heal has some big plans for the funding.

“With this new money, our goal is to expand our offerings to include a broader range of services such as specialists, physical therapy and other vertical integrations; to expand our coverage area into new markets outside of California, and to ramp up our user acquisition,” Desai told HHCN.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson