Nice Healthcare’s model is not a traditional one, but it does rely heavily on at-home care. It also just landed $30 million in Series A funding.
The home-based primary care company sells itself directly to businesses. Those businesses pay a fixed fee on behalf of their employees, and then those employees can access Nice Healthcare’s services however much they please.
Its co-founder and CEO, Thompson Aderinkomi, is demonstrably passionate about the company’s model and perhaps more passionate about how other U.S. models have failed patients.
He hates the term “value-based care.” He loves that more companies are adopting primary care at home. His Linkedin bio reads “the problem with health care is the price.”
“When it comes to primary care, … money shouldn’t be a deciding factor of whether you invest in it, at all,” Aderinkomi told Home Health Care News. “Imagine if instead of a gym membership, you had to pay every time you went to the gym. Or imagine you had to pay for each machine. Or, if you had to pay for every rep on each machine. That’s basically what the health care industry is doing with primary care.”
The Minneapolis-based Nice Healthcare delivers primary care, physical therapy and mental health services both virtually and within patients’ homes. It currently operates in 12 states, and the $30 million funding round – which brings its funding total to $42 million since it launched in 2017 – will help it expand further. More than 400 businesses currently partner with the company.
The funding round was led by the Brazilian venture capital firm DNA Capital, with the Brown Venture Group also participating.
“It’s completely illogical and just bonkers, in my opinion, to create this financial barrier for people in front of something you want them to do, but they’re penalized for doing,” he said. “So just like a gym membership, you pay the membership and then use this thing as much as you want to optimize your health.”
In the end, that model actually bodes well for the patient and for the overall health care system, he argued. Patients utilize the services as much as they please, and meanwhile, adding more touch points keeps them from having more adverse, costly health outcomes.
“This is where the current health care system has woefully failed people of this country, and Nice Healthcare is stepping up to pick up the pieces,” Aderinkomi said.
What that allows Nice Healthcare to do is “project out” its services for its patients because there is stability in the model, he said. For instance, in the early stages of COVID-19, though Americans were still having health issues, many weren’t receiving necessary health care services.
That led to some clinics running out of money or closing shop altogether. A survey conducted in 2020 by the Physicians Foundation estimated that around 16,000 physician practices had closed under the stress of the pandemic.
But because Nice Healthcare’s clients were already paying that fixed rate, the model proved financially viable throughout, and its services were still available to patients.
The term that would come to mind for many people in the health care industry when hearing about the company is “value-based care.” After all, it focuses more on outcomes than visit numbers. But Aderinkomi finds that saying to be “ridiculous.”
Again, he evoked an analogy to explain his position.
“I mean, when you go to the grocery store, do you get value-based groceries? It’s just ridiculous to say these things,” he said. “People in the industry puff their chests and say, ‘We’re doing value-based care.’ In fact, they’re not. They’re still doing fee for service. Only 5% of care is being delivered through value-based care. But also, the premise of value-based care is completely at odds with everything else that we do in our lives. So, we’re just doing good business. We’re just putting the patient first.”
Aderinkomi himself comes from the home care world. He worked for nearly a decade at CareMate Home Healthcare.
But Nice Healthcare does not partner with home-based care organizations. Instead, it hires nurse practitioners, registered nurses, physician assistants and medical assistants on its own to provide that type of care when needed, all of whom tend to be full-time workers.
Having now raised over $40 million, the company’s next objective is to take its model and scale it across the country. It has particular areas in mind and wants to quadruple its membership in the next year.
“We’re going to use this funding to help more people save money and save time in geographies and locations that are typically overlooked – in flyover country and smaller cities,” Aderinkomi said. “These are places where they don’t always have options. They don’t have the attention that other cities get – San Francisco, L.A., Chicago, New York – every company that raises money is going to those cities, but we’re not interested in those cities, we’re interested in the cities where people need our help.”