Independence Blue Cross collaborates with Strive Health on late-stage kidney disease program

Kidney care
Kidney disease is a chronic condition that requires a fresh, holistic approach to treatment, according to Chris Riopelle, CEO of Strive Health. (Getty/Trish233)

Independence Blue Cross is working with startup Strive Health to improve care for members living with late-stage chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

The goal of the program, which will launch Jan. 1, is to slow disease progression and improve quality of life for these members by assisting with disease and care management and reducing unnecessary hospital stays, the organizations said.

The program will offer specialized care delivery and coordination to Independence Medicare Advantage members living with chronic kidney disease, stages 4 and 5, and ESRD.

Members in the program receive care from Strive Health’s local team of nurse practitioners, registered nurse care managers, social workers, dietitians, pharmacists and care coordinators. The care includes disease management, wound care, medication management, acute care management and other services.

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Strive Health works with patients' primary care physicians and nephrologists to manage their care while providing access to predictive analytics, telehealth services and education on home dialysis options.

“At Independence, we are always looking for new, innovative approaches to improve our members well-being,” said Heidi Syropoulos, M.D., medical director for government markets at Independence Blue Cross.

"This is especially important for our Medicare Advantage members who are living with chronic health conditions. That is why we are so proud to be working with Strive Health, an organization that we believe will deliver the preventive, personalized healthcare our members with chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease need and deserve," she said.

Strive Health leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to offer patients direct and virtual clinical services, home dialysis education and training, and advanced care planning. The company also provides support with addressing social determinants of health issues such as food and housing.

"Kidney disease is a chronic condition that requires a fresh, holistic approach to treatment,” said Chris Riopelle, CEO of Strive Health. “We are excited to be working with Independence Blue Cross to deliver comprehensive and compassionate kidney care. Together, we are hoping to drive better outcomes, more access to care, and lower costs.”

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Strive Health was founded in 2018 and is among a crop of tech-enabled companies looking to disrupt kidney care. Based in Denver, Strive Health is backed by New Enterprise Associates and Town Hall Ventures and raised $77.5 million in capital since its founding.

The company has scored partnerships with large payers and health systems. It joined forces with Humana to offer coordinated kidney care in Kentucky and Indiana. It also struck a partnership with SSM Health, a 23-hospital health system serving the Midwest.

The company is focused on creating a new standard of kidney care to cut inpatient utilization, increase the adoption of home dialysis and significantly improve patient outcomes and experience.

Strive Health claims that by leveraging comparative and predictive data and analytics to identify patients at risk, the company's interventions reduce the rate of emergent dialysis crash by 75% through pre-ESRD care and education.