Short takes: Papa Health’s $150M Series D, Hinge Health’s $600M Series E, Teladoc’s revenue up 81% but continues in the red

Senior care provider Papa Health gains a Series D of $150 million, for a total of $240 million. Home care and older person support continues on its hot streak, after the blockbuster Honor-HomeInstead and Humana-Kindred at Home acquisitions plus smaller ones like ModivCare-VRI, Walgreens investment in CareCentrix, and Sharecare-CareLinx. The company’s valuation is now estimated at $1.4 billion. Papa’s technology connects older people with trained Papa ‘Pals’ for companionship and light home work through to Papa ‘Docs’ who serve to coordinate that person’s care. Their business model is to contract with payers such as Aetna and WellCare to offer its service as a benefit. They claim that they have added over 25 health plans as partners in the past seven months. This funding round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 with participation from TCG, Tiger Global Management (which seems to have a bottomless bucket of funding), Canaan, Initialized Capital and Seven Seven Six. Mobihealthnews, Papa release

But Papa should envy Hinge Health, with its $600 million Series E for a total of $1 billion. In January, they had a $300 million Series D [TTA 14 Jan]. Their valuation is now boosted to an eye-blinking $6.2 billion, up from $3 billion. Tech and musculoskeletal seem to be a hot match, with Hinge’s virtual MSK Clinic for back and joint pain care and rehab including access to physical therapists, physicians, health coaches, and wearable sensors to guide exercise therapy. Existing investors Coatue and Tiger Global led the round, with new investors Alkeon and Whale Rock taking a $200 million stake.   FierceHealthcare 

Teladoc’s strong Q3 growth outstripped Wall Street’s forecast, but the competition is ever more fierce–and it continues in the red. Teladoc’s Q3 revenue grew 81%, to $522 million from $289 million prior year, beating a projection of $517 million by Zachs. Organic revenue growth (excluding acquisitions) was 32%. 2021 is now projected to be $2.02 billion, up 85% compared to 2020 revenue, and a 2022 projection of $2.6 billion. However, Teladoc continues to lose money, with an $84.3 million Q3 loss compared to $36 million in last year same quarter. Teladoc stated that it was primarily attributable to increased stock-based compensation and amortization of acquired intangibles, usually the case with acquisitions. Their stock value logically has taken a hit.

As previously reported, Teladoc has entered into the primary care sector with Primary360, now being pitched to health systems as a white-labeled “virtual front door” in addition to existing agreements with Aetna and Centene for 2022 exchange plans in four states. But as FierceHealthcare notes, the competition is equally hot, with care startups such as One Medical, Oak Street Health, Privia Health, and Forward. Accolade, which is a benefits platform, is acquiring PlushCare, and payers are setting up their own virtual-first primary care.

Telehealth’s primary care wars heat up: Teladoc’s Primary360, Babylon 360

The new fronts in the Telehealth Wars continue to expand, with this week Teladoc announcing that their virtual primary care offering, Primary360, is now available for health plans, employers, and other payers. Babylon Health, in its push into the US market and their upcoming SPAC, also announced that their similar program, Babylon 360, is also being offered to health plans.

Both these services connect the patient users with an assigned doctor and primary care team for ongoing care. They emphasize building a relationship with a doctor and team, not just a random selection previously typical of telehealth. Both Teladoc and Babylon are fully virtual in exams and checkups, sending equipment where needed, ordering lab tests and prescriptions, and accepting your prior health records, plus have 24/7 coverage for urgent situations. Babylon’s service also offers a symptom checker and connection to social determinants of health (SDOH) community services.

It’s obvious that the payer-provider walls are coming down in all directions–telehealth is one more. Babylon, as we noted earlier, acquired two California-based practice groups. Payers like lower-cost, more convenient visits, and after a fractious start, have for some time. Many of the insurtechs either have close relationships with providers or have bought practices (Bright Health’s NeueHealth)–copying the Optums which have affiliations with or ownership of practices all over the US. It’s also another pressure on primary care practices around reimbursement. Often the answer is to either sell out or enter into value-based care arrangements.

For the patient/member, there’s the benefit of convenient care, and a relationship with a team, albeit not with an in-person option right now–if these services are consistent in their promise and steady in their physician/clinician groups. Mobihealthnews (Teladoc)