Value-based obesity treatment provider Ilant Health launches out of stealth

Ilant Health, a new virtual provider targeting obesity treatment, has launched out of stealth with $3 million in funding. 

Founded on the belief that obesity care will only transform healthcare if it is part of the system, Ilant plans to partner with employers and payers. The startup is led by Elina Onitskansky, who previously served as senior vice president and head of strategy at Molina Healthcare.

Among the startup’s financial backers are executives Matt Klitus, CFO of Lyra Health and former CFO and CSO of MassHealth; Iyah Romm, founding CEO of Cityblock Health; and Brandon Kerns, CFO of CareBridge, Russell Street Ventures and Main Street Health and others.

As someone who has experienced living with obesity, Onitskansky aims to prioritize holistic, integrated, value-based treatment. Ilant will not be offered direct-to-consumer because, in Onitskansky’s view, those solutions often miss populations in need.

“You’re often not accessing the people who need care the most,” Onitskansky told Fierce Healthcare. “We want to work within the system.” 

While on her own weight loss journey, Onitskansky often encountered medical professionals who assumed she had yet to try basic changes like diet or exercise. She wasn’t starting from scratch but was treated as such, and that frustrated Onitskansky. 

Ilant comes from the Hebrew word for trees, which grow from their roots. Similarly, core to Ilant’s identity is respecting where people are coming from. “We don’t assume we know everything about them because we can see a number on a scale,” she said.

Ilant hopes to be the single front door for obesity treatment modalities, helping employers and plans manage the cost, quality and experience of obesity treatment. Combining analytics, clinical expertise and lived experience, Ilant takes a three-step approach to care. 

It starts with identifying those who would most likely see clinical and financial value from treatment through a proprietary engine that analyzes claims data, which takes into account historic undercoding of obesity and poor understanding of treatment impact.

Then, Ilant matches individuals to the treatment most likely to drive outcomes and value best for them through an evidence-based algorithm that accounts for medical, behavioral and social determinants of health factors. It provides treatment guidance across the full obesity treatment spectrum, from intensive behavioral therapy to pharmacotherapy to bariatric surgery. 

Finally, Ilant staff offer an integrated treatment approach that provides ongoing, synchronous access to clinical experts. These include obesity medicine physicians, mental health practitioners and nutritionists, along with peer navigators and educational tools for members.

At launch, Ilant’s capabilities include a 50-state medical practice, W2 clinical staff, specialty board-certified medical doctors, HITRUST and SOC2 compliance, utilization and adherence management and risk-based pricing. Its clinical advisory board includes experts in bariatric quality programs, obesity medicine, research and more.

Ilant has been designed to serve commercial, Medicaid and Medicare populations, enabled by value-based payments. It takes both upside and downside risk with the goal of aligning incentives and showing members “we only do well when they do well,” Onitskansky said. It does not plan to do business in the fee-for-service, pay-per-visit model.

While no specific partnerships have yet been announced, the startup is seeing strong interest in its model, according to Onitskansky. 

“There is no question that obesity drives very high-cost conditions,” she said. “People are looking for a solution that addresses obesity.”