Heyday Health raises $12.5M to scale house calls combined with telehealth for Medicare patients

Heyday Health launched three years ago to provide primary care to seniors by blending traditional house calls with 21st-century innovation via telehealth visits.

The combination of in-home primary care services and virtual options enables the startup to strike the right balance between the personal touch of an in-home visit and 24/7 digital access to providers, according to Heyday Health CEO Bobby Shady.

"We combine the insights and relationships that you get in patients' homes. We, collectively as an industry, acknowledge that 80% of health outcomes are determined outside of the walls of a healthcare setting. So, we go where those outcomes are really determined," Shady said in an interview with Fierce Healthcare. "We pair that with 24/7 access through virtual care to the same care team that you have met, got to know and trust from the comfort of your own home. That's a great way to bridge those insights and relationships with access and engagement. Our patients know us. We know them. We understand their lived experience, but also they have access to us 24/7, so they don't need to wait until the next time a care team can get out to them to get what they need."

Heyday Health bills itself as a "virtual-forward, value-based care provider" designed to meet complex patients where they are, providing care in the comfort of their homes and eliminating the need to travel to a doctor's office and sit in a waiting room, according to the company. Patients are matched with a personal care team that consists of a physician, a nurse practitioner and a "health ally" to provide support, from scheduling prescription deliveries to setting up video calls.

Heyday's care model is designed for seniors on Medicare and who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. The startup initially launched in Youngstown, Ohio and surrounding counties in the northeast part of the state and has expanded its services to western and south central Kentucky. Heyday has been caring for patients in Ohio since 2021 and Kentucky since 2023. 

To help fuel its growth, the startup has raised $12.5 million in total funding from investors including Gradient Ventures, Google's early stage fund, Lionbird, Great Oaks Capital and Kate Ryder, the CEO of Maven.

Heyday Health also inked a partnership with a large national payer to expand its geographic reach into the Cincinnati/Dayton area in Southwest Ohio and the Louisville area in Kentucky, Shady said. That health plan partner also joined the funding round.

"We're excited to deploy the capital to serve those markets well and at scale. We want to take a lot of the learnings we've had over the last few years and deploy them in this partnership at scale," Shady said in an exclusive interview about the funding round.

Heyday has cared for "thousands" of patients and will soon triple its patient population, Shady noted.

The company focused on markets like Youngstown, Ohio that could offer a model for the rest of the nation. "We also enjoy payer partnerships that were particularly deep in those markets, which I think help grease the skids, if you will, to get some degree of traction in those markets," he added.

Shady, who has a background in management consulting and public health before jumping into the startup world, founded Heyday along with Nupur Mehta, M.D., Heyday's chief medical officer, and Sarafina Midzik, chief of staff.

The startup's aim is to "democratize access" to the type of high-quality care that Shady, Mehta and Midzik want for their own families, the founders said.

"We all have close family members who are Medicare eligible, and we see, frankly, fragmented, disjointed, often confusing care experiences they get. Every patient with Heyday gets a three-person care team and that includes a healthy ally whose entire job is to basically hold our patients' hands, figuratively, and help them navigate the health system. I think we've probably all served as that health ally for our own family members and loved ones. I think there's a personal person there to focus on Medicare and dual-eligible patients," Shady said.

The Heyday Health founders also saw an opportunity to align incentives around a value-based care model by focusing on Medicare and Medicare Advantage patients. "With Medicare, the payers are willing to invest in doing all the upstream, preventative primary care that patients need, and that's the kind of care that we're able to provide. We're hopeful that we can expand our impact even beyond just Medicare and dual eligibles but we think it was the right place to start," Shady noted.

Heyday’s virtual-forward model starts with a comprehensive physical, behavioral and social assessment conducted in patients’ homes, or wherever they call home. Every patient enjoys 24/7 access to their personalized care team who work with them to design and manage care plans.

Heyday’s care team also includes behavioral health and clinical pharmacy providers who help manage behavioral health conditions and complex medication regimens.

Purpose-built technology powers Heyday’s care model, enabling frictionless access to video visits for patients and streamlined market operations for its in-home and virtual care teams, according to the company.

"I think there was a lot of skepticism when we went into this around, could seniors really do technology? We have been able to get the majority of our patient population, who are tech fluent but not tech savvy, to adopt virtual care in a meaningful way," Shady said, noting that Heyday has unlocked a new population for payers.

Mehta, an internal medicine physician, serves as the chief medical officer and lead physician at Heyday Health. He has spent his career focused on value-based care delivery and recognized the opportunities to expand access to high-quality medical care by providing services to patients in their homes.

"We're able to provide the same services that you might get in a typical doctor's office, and then some, I think in many ways, unfortunately, medicine has gone the way of clinic-based, even provider-focused care. Heyday has done the opposite, which is trying to bring care to patients," Mehta said. "We feel like we get unique insights into what's really going on with patients by being able to be in the home. When patients see you in the office, you sort of get the best version of them. When you see them in the home, you get the real version of them."

During an office-based visit, patients might say they are taking their medications or eating healthy food. But, during a house call, physicians can get first-hand insights into the patient's day-to-day living.

"You can find new ways that you might be able to help the patient in terms of education or helping them to access resources," Mehta said. "By having the in-home service coupled with telehealth, we really feel like we have the best of both worlds; great access to your team, the team that knows you and that can help you with the sort of insights and relationship building that you get in the home."

As one example, canned food is often high in sodium so patients may need to be educated about rinsing their canned food products. "There could be a rug in the house that presents a fall risk or it's about looking at the shower and making sure that the grab bars have been properly installed," Midzik noted. "What is the information that you're able to actually see about that patient's lived experience?"

Heyday's care model has delivered excellent quality results with 4+ Star ratings performance, executives noted, and the company has an NPS score of 85. The company's focus on in-home primary care combined with telehealth also lowers healthcare costs by reducing inpatient admissions and ER visits, according to the company.

Heyday Health sits at the intersection of several growing trends in healthcare—the shift to value-based care, home health and virtual care.

Providers are trained on the company's protocols for providing care in the home as well as the company's clinical approach under a value-based care model.

"We need to often 'untrain' providers from having practiced in a fee-for-service environment," Mehta noted. "Value-based care is much more about, how do you proactively manage your population to address the greatest needs up front? And then, there's the added piece of we're actually sending people into uncertain situations. A provider knows what an exam room looks like. Every home is different and so there's also that component as well. There's a lot of complexity, but our team, particularly Sarafina from the compliance, legal and risk perspective, have trained our care teams flawlessly on all those fronts."

Providing house calls also can be a better work experience for physicians, Mehta noted. "Providers love practicing in this model because, in many ways, it's going back to the reason why they went into medicine in the first place. You get to sit down with people. You get to spend time in their environment. You get to know them, not only as sort of patients or in the medical sense but also as real human beings in their lived experience," Mehta said.

Editor's note: This story has been edited to accurately report that Heyday Health has raised $12.5 million in total funding.