Cricket Health launching platform targeting Medicare Advantage plans

Startup kidney care provider Cricket Health is launching a new program targeting Medicare Advantage plans.

The program aims to assist MA plans in managing care for patients with end-stage renal disease, who are now eligible to enroll in such plans instead of remaining in traditional Medicare. The value-based offering tailors and individualizes care for patients with these conditions.

Cricket Health initially launched the program to 4,500 Texans with kidney disease, bringing the total number of commercial and MA plan members using its services to 10,000, according to an announcement.

Early results suggest engagement is high, Cricket said, with members connecting with clinicians an average of 10 times per month, or once every two to three days.

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“I think Medicare Advantage plans, in particular, are taking a new, hard look at this patient population,” Robert Sepucha, CEO of Cricket Health, told Fierce Healthcare. “MA plans across the country are realizing we need to go upstream."

MA plans can use Cricket's analytics platform to identify members at high risk for kidney disease, according to the announcement. Identified patients are then assigned a care team that includes a nurse, pharmacist, social worker, dietitian and trained patient peer mentor.

Sepucha said peer coaching has proven to be the central component of the platform, and patients who engage with one another about their kidney care tend to be more engaged in the process overall.

Members can connect with the care team over the phone or virtually, Cricket said, with the goal of slowing the progression of their disease and supporting them in accessing needed services. Home visits are also offered to patients at the highest risk, Sepucha said.

The system is built to reduce referrals, boost the use of home dialysis and cut back on unneeded care, Cricket said.

Cricket's care teams will work in tandem with a member's existing primary care provider, nephrologist and other network clinicians, the company said.

"Fundamentally, we think kidney care is broken," Sepucha said. "What we want to do is go upstream, identify patients early, engage them in their care."