JPM24: Cityblock inks partnership with Centene plan in Ohio to serve Medicaid patients

Cityblock Health is expanding its services to Medicaid patients in Ohio through a partnership with Centene subsidiary Buckeye Health Plan.

Cityblock will collaborate with the health plan to provide integrated community-based care to approximately 10,000 Medicaid recipients in the Cleveland-Akron-Canton area, the company announced Tuesday at the J. P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. Cityblock is presenting today at the conference.

Buckeye is an Ohio managed care plan that serves more than 428,000 Ohio Medicaid members.

The New York City-based company, which launched in 2017 out of Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs, delivers medical care, behavioral health, and social services to individuals from historically underserved and marginalized communities, in particular those with complex needs. The value-based healthcare provider partners with managed care organizations to help address gaps and opportunities to improve access to care as well as improve quality and outcomes for high-risk and rising-risk populations, particularly Medicaid, dually eligible and lower-income Medicare beneficiaries, according to executives.

Follow the Fierce team's coverage of the 2024 J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference here

The company also partners with community-based organizations to address members' social needs, including food instability and access to safe housing, which disproportionately affect the health outcomes of lower-income communities.

Cityblock currently serves more than 10,000 members across Ohio, including at its two community clinics in Columbus and Cincinnati.

As part of the partnership, Buckeye will connect Cityblock healthcare providers to members who have not engaged with their primary care provider (PCP) in the last 12 months. By working with members to complete their annual well-visit, Cityblock providers can focus on preventive care and care of chronic conditions, according to the companies.

The partnership launches this month and leverages the health plan's local reach and Cityblock's tech-enabled care model.

This partnership aims to reduce preventable emergency room and unnecessary in-patient services while providing proactive care for advancing diseases. In addition, Cityblock will provide 24/7 wrap-around services to extend clinical care and care coordination beyond the doctor's office—allowing members to see their multidisciplinary care team virtually, in their homes, or at local Cityblock clinics.

"It's been exciting to see the growth and innovation in Ohio's Medicaid program over the past year, and we're thrilled to work with Buckeye Health Plan to make high-quality healthcare more equitable and accessible for marginalized and underserved communities," said Dr. Kameron Matthews, Cityblock's chief health office, in a statement.

"We share Buckeye's commitment to improve health outcomes through a value-based approach to whole-person care," Matthews said.

The seven-year-old company, which has raised nearly $900 million to date, laid off 155 employees, or 12% of its workforce, back in June as part of a restructuring plan as it focuses on ramping up payer partnerships and accelerating its path to profitability.

Toyin Ajayi, M.D., CEO and co-founder, told FIerce Healthcare last summer that the workforce reduction was necessary to "right-size" the business as the company enters its next phase of growth. 

While many digital health companies laid off employees in the past two years as global economic headwinds made it more difficult to raise capital or grow revenues, Ajayi made it clear that's not the case for Cityblock, as the startup is in a "place of financial strength."

Over the past three years, Cityblock's revenue has grown 8x, according to Ajayi. The company is reportedly valued at $5.7 billion based on its last funding round.

The startup raised $160 million in December 2020, followed by $192 million in a series C extension in March 2021 and then a reported $400 million late-stage funding round in 2021. SoftBank, Tiger Global, Maverick Ventures, General Catalyst, Thrive Capital and 8VC, among others, have backed the company's funding rounds.

Cityblock now has roughly 1,100 employees and serves about 100,000 members across six markets. Last year, the company expanded its primary care model into Indiana, marking the seventh state where the company operates. Cityblock teamed up with MDwise, the second-largest Medicaid managed care organization in Indiana.

The value-based care provider has set its sights on serving 10 million members by 2030, which means scaling its operations, technology and care services.

The company recently opened its first flagship health hub in Brooklyn. The hub is a 4,279-square-foot space with state-of-the-art clinical facilities and a community room.