Aledade notches another acquisition, adds 450 practices to growing network as the primary care market heats up

As investment in value-based primary care heats up, Aledade picked up value-based care analytics company Curia to build out its tech capabilities.

Aledade did not disclose financial details of the transaction.

It marks the company's second M&A deal after its tuck-in acquisition of Iris Healthcare a year ago.

Aledade uses data analytics software to help independent doctors’ offices transition to value-based models and works with more than 1,500 independent primary care practices and health centers. The company's technology helps practices identify and better manage their most at-risk patients.

Before the acquisition, Aledade piloted Curia's technology, which uses artificial intelligence to find risk gaps and predict the likelihood of adverse health outcomes in patients like preventable hospitalizations. Aledade used the Curia pilot program to target comprehensive advance care planning (CACP) services for patients.

Using the predictive algorithm developed by Curia, Aledade was able to identify more than 8,000 patients facing the highest risk for mortality in the next two years and work with primary care practices in its national network to enroll these patients in a CACP facilitation. Aledade is exploring even more use cases that will bring targeted care interventions directly to the patients who need them, according to executives.

The acquisition will enhance Aledade’s ability to extract insights from disparate data sources, provide more accurate predictions using past data and optimize primary care workflows through AI algorithms, according to executives.

The acquisition also builds on the integration of Iris Healthcare's technology. Aledade bought the Austin, Texas-based company to add its advance care planning technology solutions to its platform. Iris was folded into its new health services unit, called Aledade Care Solutions.

Iris partners with at-risk healthcare organizations including health plans, ACOs, managed care organizations, integrated delivery networks and large provider networks to deliver value-added advance care planning services aimed at reducing unnecessary care utilization for the seriously ill population, lowering cost of care and improving care quality, according to the company.

Curia's technology enables Aledade's practices to more effectively target patients for advance care planning services, according to Farzad Mostashari, M.D., CEO and co-founder of Aledade.

"If you have 1,000 patients at a practice, who are the 10 people who need this very specific intervention? We used to do in quality improvement was to say, 'Everyone gets the same thing.' But if you sit on the phone for five hours talking to every person about their end-of-life wishes, you'd be wasting people's time for the 90% of people who are not really close to facing that decision. But if you can target the people who are likely to be faced with that decision in the next 16 or 18 months, then that's worth the time, effort and costs," Mostashari said in an interview.

As the company makes strategic moves to expand its services, it also benefited from significant growth in 2022. The company has added more than 450 primary care practices, including nearly 60 health centers, to its nationwide network for 2023.

Aledade now boasts it is the largest network of independent primary care in the country, with more than 2 million patients covered by more than 150 value-based contracts across Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and commercial payers.

Aledade works with more than 1,500 independent primary care practices and health centers—up from more than 1,000 practices in 2022—including more than 5,000 physicians and 15,000 clinicians across 45 states and the District of Columbia.

The company's products and technology enable it to reproduce at scale the outcomes it has delivered for practices and their patients, according to Mostashari.

Major healthcare players are ramping up investments in value-based care offerings as a strategic play to control more of the healthcare dollar. Earlier this month, CVS Health announced plans to buy Medicare-focused Oak Street Health in an all-cash deal valued at $10.6 billion. Analysts say the deal will allow Aetna—CVS’ insurance arm—to design novel value-based care Medicare Advantage products in partnership with the primary care clinic operator.

Amazon also recently closed its $3.9 billion deal to buy primary care operator One Medical. That company owns Iora Health, which delivers value-based care for older adults enrolled in Medicare Advantage and alternative payment models.

"I think it's about time people really understood the value that primary care has when you're not talking fee-for-service," Mostashari said. "When you're talking about value-based care where the focus is to keep people healthy and out of the hospital. And that's the job of primary care, if you give them the resources and the tools and the right incentives. So I think it's super positive and it's a hypothesis that we have been working for more than a decade. It's nice to see it finally get the recognition that it deserves."