Dr. Julian Harris is a polymath in the health care space — a physician, a C-suite level executive, and an investor that also spent time working for the government.
Currently, there are two key organizations benefiting from Harris’ experience and expertise.
The first is ConcertoCare, a value-based care provider operating in New York that offers an array of home-based care services, where he serves as CEO.
Then, in addition to his role at ConcertoCare, Harris is an operating partner at New York-based investment firm Deerfield Management.
Home Health Care News recently caught up with Harris to learn more about trends he is seeing in the investment space, his goals for ConcertoCare and his predictions for the future of home-based care delivery.
HHCN: Can you talk a little bit about your personal background, how you came into your current role?
Harris: I’m a primary care physician — I did the med school, business school combo. I spent some time doing consulting. I had a couple of chapters in government at the state and federal levels. I ran the Medicaid program in Massachusetts and also led the health care team in the White House Office of Management and Budget. So, I oversaw most of the federal health agencies, including CMS.
I went to the health plan side and spent four years at Cigna (NYSE: CI) in a couple of different roles. The last one was leading a family of health care services companies focused on value-based care and care in the home.
Then I went to Deerfield — which is a New York based investment firm — and did a lot of work to build out their digital health and value-based care portfolio.
About two and a half years ago, I transitioned into an operating partner role on the Deerfield side and became CEO of Concerto.
In 2021, ConcertoHealth merged with Perfect Health — an in-home primary care company that focuses on delivering care to high-cost and rising-risk patient populations. In the years since the merger was finalized, what has becoming one organization allowed you to do that wasn’t possible before?
It expanded our geographic footprint, and it also brought a lot of great talent into the company. We’ve made a lot of progress, as a combined company, in terms of building out our footprint nationally and expanding our product offering capabilities.
We’ve expanded our CarePartners program, where we work with leading Medicare Advantage and duals plans to care for seniors and adults with complex health conditions and unmet social needs in their homes, in partnership with the health plans’ network primary care providers.
Last year, Concerto launched its first in-person PACE center. What are some of the care delivery advantages of the PACE model?
It provides a really interesting approach to addressing patients’ care needs, both in the home and then providing in-person center-based support and services while adding the ability to engage socially with other seniors in the physical space. It also allows seniors to get other services like on-site therapy or access to hot meals.
I think it’s a really exciting model, even though it’s a much smaller part of what we do.
What do you expect the PACE sector to look like in five years?
I think that there’s a lot of enthusiasm around PACE, so the program will continue to grow.
You’re seeing a lot more PACE-focused companies looking to scale and grow as well. Wearing my investor hat — we made an investment in a company called Intus Care. They’re the leading provider of value-based care technology and services to PACE programs in the country. It’s been interesting, just to watch through that investor lens, how they’ve been able to support many of the leading PACE programs’ needs for advanced analytics technology, as well as support in managing the cost and quality of care.
Value-based care is a major part of your company’s ethos. In your view, what role does home-based care play in the larger shift to value-based care?
Care in the home is really a sort of theme in itself. A lot of people, as they age, are looking to receive more care in the home. It highlights the role the traditional home care side will play, the role home health will play, and the role hospice will play.
Our model is different. We provide very intensive comprehensive care in the home to patients across their medical, behavioral and social needs. We partner with the patient’s full spectrum of providers, whether that’s other providers working in the home or specialists. We take a holistic approach to caring for complex populations with a home-centric model, leveraging interdisciplinary teams, proprietary technology and advanced analytics.
As a physician, are there other care delivery models that you believe home-based care providers should be embracing — care delivery models that you believe can have profound impact when it comes to positive outcomes?
I think we’ll also continue to see an expansion of dedicated hospital-at-home models. We’re also seeing some specialized versions focused on oncology and complex cardiology.
As we talked about at the beginning of the conversation, you’re also in the investor space. Are there any trends you’ve noticed when it comes to home-based care investments?
At the macro scale, we’ve seen a lot of interest in home health and hospice from large diversified services companies like Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH).
We’ve also seen a lot of shifts in the regulatory environment, in both home health and personal care, in ways that will shape the trajectory of those industries and probably lead to greater consolidation of those industries at a micro level.
I think more of the smaller mom-and-pop home health and personal care agencies are likely to come together on their own, or be acquired, as the regulatory payment landscape shifts and makes it more sustainable for those programs that have more scale.
Looking ahead, what are your goals for ConcertoCare for the rest of the year?
We’re really focused on continuing to establish partnerships with health plans and value-based care providers.
We’re also focused on executing against the partnerships that we already have in delivering exceptional care. We’re always focused on trying to recruit really incredible members to our team, who bring a depth of expertise to the work that we do, but also who have a personal passion for this work.
What’s one thing that you believe could change home-based care delivery in the next five to ten years?
I think that there will be continued expansion of the way that telehealth and virtual health is delivered in the home. I think remote patient monitoring will become more common. I also think that voice-based tools that leverage artificial intelligence will enable patient engagement in the home in a different kind of way.