How The Continuum Wins With Home-Based Primary Care

By breaking down barriers between patients and at-home primary care, the whole continuum wins.

Case in point, Patina Health has a specific strategy when it comes to delivering at-home primary care. Targeting and taking care of adults 65 and older is at the core of Patina Health’s mission as they try to take advantage of the opportunities in the post-acute space as traditional health care systems struggle to meet the needs of this population.

“To be blunt, health care is not age-friendly,” Patina Health Chief Health Officer Dr. Neil Patel told Home Health Care News. “Health care is built for all ages. Society is not age-friendly. We forget about how needs are different. We forget about the values and preferences that people earn after eight decades of life, and how those values and preferences actually make for very different decisions than what the textbook might suggest.”


Patina Health is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based home-focused primary care medical practice.

Patel reiterated the approach his company takes by catering to what he says is best and most convenient for the patient — care in the home.

“Older patients will get better care when they lead their own care, when they’re seen and heard for their own wisdom and preferences,” Patel said. “The place where they’re most likely to produce that data, for me, is in the home. At home, patients are better leaders of their own care plan.”


This “pivotal moment” for primary care coincides with a paradigm shift towards home-based care. Traditionally esteemed for its value, primary care’s practical application has faced economic challenges, leading to its decline, Patel said.

However, in tandem with evolving medical trends like value-based care and heightened patient-centricity, the importance of primary care — particularly in the home setting — is being rediscovered.

“On one hand you have this universally-lauded thing that the best of us have been able to do for a long time,” Patel said. “And it’s old fashioned. The idea of a house call was the only way medicine was done. At the same time, there’s this trend that Patina is a part of where we’re realizing that model was never meant to go away. We can do it and we can do it better, and we can do it differently.”

A main driver of Patina Health’s success in recent years are the partnerships it has cultivated — from United Healthcare and Cigna (NYSE: CI) to Aetna and Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia.

At-home primary care patients need things from different sources, Patel said, and building a strong throughline from health system to patient has been a key focus over the last few years as more care moves to the home.

“Primary care, to me, is your partner in understanding your own health and well-being,” Patel said. “Where you want it to go and how to get it there. I can do a lot for you. I can prescribe your antibiotic, I can do your refills, but I can also curate your referral when you need something. I can refer you to a specialist in medicine or to a marriage counselor, or I can connect you with a transportation benefit. We see ourselves as being that curator to the patient to help them connect with all the partnerships they need — both internally and externally.”

Building the trust of payers is another crucial aspect of increasing access to care for patients. While negotiating with payers, Patina Health has also found success in eliminating financial barriers to access like copays, particularly in Medicare Advantage plans, as a way to be more accommodating to patients.

By partnering with payers, Patel ensures that financial considerations do not hinder patient access to care, leading to happier and healthier patients, he indicated.

Patel also argues that accessible primary care enables providers like Patina Health to engage in ongoing conversations with patients, adjust treatment plans as needed and deepen trust, ultimately leading to better outcomes.

Trust is the currency Patel and his team negotiate with, he told HHCN.

“It turns out that one of the biggest gatekeepers to access is the payer,” Patina said. “When I have a successful relationship with a payer, that gives patients access to me and it allows me to practice my craft. Money is a part of that. There’s no access if you can’t afford it. The resistance to get rid of the copay for primary care has melted away over the last 15 years so I think the world has caught up and realized that primary care is just so valuable. It certainly pays for itself.”

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