Alignment Healthcare partners with house call app Heal to offer in-home primary care

Doctor house call app Heal is partnering with health plan Alignment Healthcare to enable some California plan members to have in-home primary care.

Alignment Healthcare is an Orange County-based insurance company that serves Medicare Advantage members. Through the partnership with Heal, plan members in select cities throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties will be able to select a Heal doctor to be their primary care provider, with doctor house calls being covered in-network.

More flexible Medicare Advantage (MA) policies have helped open up the market for on-demand service providers like Heal. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it was broadening the range of supplemental benefits MA plans can offer in 2020 to cover any benefits that “have a reasonable expectation of improving or maintaining the health or overall function” of beneficiaries with chronic conditions.

That rule change allows house calls to be delivered to all of America’s approximately 50 million Medicare patients rather than just those that are medically homebound.

RELATED: Blue Shield of California targets patients with complex needs in house call program

Wanting to get into the Medicare market, Heal recently expanded its services into the New York City market with the acquisition of Doctors on Call. The Los Angeles-based house call app is now looking to expand to the Medicare population in its home market as well.

"This partnership is truly first-of-its-kind and we're proud to work with Alignment Healthcare to create, what we believe to be, the gold standard of Medicare Advantage partnership programs," Nick Desai, Heal co-founder and CEO, said in a statement.  

The partnership between Heal and Alignment Healthcare enables the two companies to offer coordinated, proactive end-to-end care to Medicare Advantage patients, especially those who struggle to find convenient options for primary care, Desai said.

RELATED: California house call app Heal acquires Doctors on Call, expands to NYC market

Alignment Healthcare and Heal see "eye-to-eye" on how technology can make healthcare better for seniors, while lowering costs, offering more services, creating ease of use, and bettering care coordination, Desai said.

Dawn Maroney, consumer president at Alignment Healthcare, said the partnership expands the health plan's in-home physician care options so more of its members can experience the convenience of receiving primary care in the comfort of their own home.

"With Heal in our network, more of the seniors we serve have immediate and easy access to in-home primary care for their wide-ranging needs, providing peace of mind, simplicity and a greater overall health care experience," Maroney said.

Members of Alignment Health Plan in Los Angeles and Orange counties can use the Heal app to choose a primary care provider, book regular appointments with a Heal doctor within a two-hour window, and use the Heal Hub for remote monitoring.

RELATED: UnitedHealth's HouseCalls program hits 5M visits with a focus on preventative care

Heal primary care doctors will provide primary, preventive, sick care and urgent care from a patient's home. While in the home, Heal doctors have the opportunity to assess the patient's home environment and social determinants of health, review medications and evaluate the patient's physical health, according to Heal.

Founded in 2013, Alignment's health plan benefits its ACCESS On-Demand Concierge and black card programs, which give members a dedicated concierge team and a debit card that can be used for qualified items, such as groceries, transportation to appointments, and companion care. 

Heal launched five years ago with the aim of reinventing primary care by taking an old model and giving it a modern twist. With the acquisition of Doctors on Call in September, Heal's services are now available to more than 75 million Americans throughout Atlanta, California, New York, northern Virginia, and D.C., according to the company.

Heal is on track to perform more than 100,000 house calls this year, representing 310% growth over the last 12 months. Heal estimates its house call services have helped reduce unnecessary emergency room and urgent care visits by up to 71% and also reduced hospitalizations by 28%, averaging healthcare cost savings of an estimated $53.7 million per year.