SCAN Group is executing a service diversification strategy designed to identify and address unmet needs of the California-based Medicare Advantage Organization’s beneficiaries.
The company, whose holdings include SCAN Health Plan, most recently invested an undisclosed dollar amount in the non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) broker SafeRide Health.
The objective underlying this strategy is to identify and address the “pain points” for seniors with complex health needs, according to the Dr. Sachin Jain, president and CEO of SCAN Group and SCAN Health Plan.
“Our mission is to keep seniors healthy and independent, and the investments we’re making are entities that we think are making leapfrogs in helping to support seniors to live healthy and independent,” Jain told Hospice News. “We think about these as being mission-aligned investments. Our interest is in partnering with and investing in companies where there is a significant opportunity to transform the experience of aging in America.”
SafeRide’s platform gives patients access to hundreds of NEMT providers, including Uber (NYSE: UBER) and Lyft. The product is designed to identify higher acuity patients and offers real-time reporting, live-ride triage and monitoring, and aggregated customizable program insights.
SafeRide marks the company’s fifth investment as it executes its service diversification strategy.
The US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as of 2020 allows Medicare Advantage plans to cover supplemental non-medical benefits, including transportation and food services and some home modifications, among others.
While offering these benefits is optional for MA plans, a rising number are embracing them. As of 2021, 67% of individual plans offered support related to meals, as well as 69% of special needs plans, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. About 38% of individual plans covered transportation benefits. Among special needs plans the proportion was 87%.
Transportation is a key social determinant of health. Many patients delay or cancel health care appointments because of difficulties getting to and from appointments, due to distance, frailty, affordability, and other factors.
“For anyone who is frail or vulnerable, [addressing NEMT needs] is reducing one barrier to actually accessing care. Many older adults you know, cite transportation as a major reason why they failed to access medical care,” Jain said. “Medicare Advantage plans around the country actually have non-emergency medical transportation benefits. I think it is one of the most challenging benefits to administer, because of the complexity of delivering rides to a variety of different types of people who have a number of different functional limitations.”
SCAN’s other recent investments include the health care logistics and services platform MedArrive, kidney care company Monogram Health, the medication management firm Arine, and SafelyYou, a platform that offers artificial intelligence-enabled fall management technology for patients with cognitive impairment.
SCAN began partnering with MedArrive in late 2021 as a preferred provider of home-based services, including a joint effort to vaccinate homebound patients for COVID-19. The MA company decided to invest a confidential amount in MedArrive following that collaboration.
MedArrive leverages physician-led telehealth to reach patients in addition to in-person care. The company’s services include chronic condition management, transitional care, readmission prevention, urgent care, and palliative care, among others.
When it comes to making investments like these, one of SCAN’s goals is to simplify the health care experience for its members, Jain told Hospice News.
“Everybody says the same words in this space, but the question is whether they really believe it. Things will be wrong, inevitably, in a complicated business like logistics and transportation,” Jain said. “The thing we care about is how much you care when those things go wrong and how hard are you going to work to make it better?”