Tia expanding its women's health clinics into Bay Area with major UCSF Health partnership

Tia, a startup building what it calls a "modern medical home for women," inked its second major partnership with a U.S. hospital system to expand access to women's health.

The startup on Monday opened its flagship San Francisco clinic, the first in the Bay Area, at the historic 1500 Mission building.

Tia and UCSF Health plan to develop a new network of clinically integrated clinics together, forming a cornerstone of a Bay Area women’s healthcare network that increases access to high-quality care with an exceptional experience, Carolyn Witte, co-founder and CEO of Tia told Fierce Healthcare.

By connecting Tia’s retail-style clinics with UCSF Health’s specialty and inpatient facilities, the two organizations aim to fill a critical gap in primary care with connected, whole-person care that integrates physical, mental and reproductive health for women and their families. 
Tia’s model includes virtual and in-person services, fusing primary care, mental health, and gynecological care with wellness services like acupuncture and pelvic floor physical therapy in one integrated experience. The new brick-and-mortar clinic represents the first of 10 sites that Tia plans to open in the Bay Area that will serve 40,000 women.


A year ago, the company signed its first major partnership with a national health system to co-launch more locations nationally. Tia is now partnering with CommonSpirit Health, which operates 137 hospitals and more than 1,000 clinics, to launch Tia-branded women's health clinics that will provide blended virtual and in-person care. The first brick-and-mortar clinic opened in October in Phoenix with planned expansions in Arizona and other CommonSpirit markets over the next few years. 

The company, founded in 2017, has raised $132 million to date and is growing rapidly. Tia is on a path to serving 100,000 women nationwide by the end of 2023. 

Tia is now in four markets—New York City, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Francisco. "We built a care model that women love and trust. We're now at this inflection point where we are rapidly scaling to serve more women who want our care across these markets. And, the way we do that is to team up with premier health system partners in those markets," Witte said.

Women’s healthcare is fragmented and 50% of women don’t have a primary care provider, Witte said. The current "one-size-fits-most" approach doesn't meet most women's healthcare needs, which deprives many women of essential, preventive care and forces them to instead bounce from specialist to specialist searching for answers, which drives up costs and worsens outcomes.

In the Bay Area, more than 40% of women have delayed preventive health services during the pandemic, according to a recent survey of 500 women. The study, which was commissioned by Tia, also found that 80% of women in the Bay Area say that worry or stress about the pandemic has impacted their mental health.

Tia functions not just as a "front door" to healthcare but the model was built to provide a "primary care-plus" model, Witte said, with the aim of creating a medical home where women can manage their core healthcare needs in one place.

There's also fragmentation in the system in the transition between primary care and specialty care. These breakdowns at critical points in a woman’s care journey can have devastating effects, most notably in maternity care. 

"The misuse of specialty care is exacerbating that fragmentation; there are baton drops instead of passes and that exacerbates all the issues," she said. "With our partnership with UCSF, when women need access to specialty care for services like gynecological surgery or menopause or endocrine or complex psychiatry, we make a seamless baton pass. We are deeply connecting primary and specialty care; this is not just a referral or a door to another door."

When looking at the potential to "win" the Bay Area market through collaboration, UCSF Health stood out as a clear leader in the market, Witte said.

"We saw a health system that could help fill that last piece of the puzzle and we could have alignment around true clinical excellence and health equity access," she said.

The two organizations plan to create a "women-centered healthcare system" that spans outpatient to inpatient with an anchoring on prevention.

"The UCSF Health team are not only champions and trailblazers of clinically excellent care, but inclusive and equitable healthcare designed to affirm women’s choices. We are honored to collaborate with a health system whose values are uniquely aligned with our own," Witte said.
The collaboration will not just be a partnership on paper, as the two organizations plan to create a closely integrated program with shared clinical protocols and care coordination, executives said.

There will be shared clinical leadership between UCSF Health and Tia, with UCSF Health medical directors and high-quality specialists working hand-in-hand with Tia medical directors and providers at all clinical locations;

The organizations also will coordinate on measuring and improving critical quality metrics that enable UCSF and Tia to work together to improve patient outcomes and women's healthcare standards across UCSF and Tia locations. And, the partnership will enable deep technical integration that enables shared clinical notes, medical records, care coordination and quality data reporting to drive better outcomes and experience for both patients and providers, executives said.
“Women nationwide struggle to find primary care that fully integrates their health care needs throughout their lives,” said Amy Murtha, M.D., professor and chair of the UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences. “UCSF Health is a leader in women’s health and renowned for its integrated specialty care, but we can’t reach every woman in the Bay Area. This collaboration aims to help address that fragmentation by increasing women’s access to primary care services, with seamless access to UCSF’s specialty care when they need it.”

Tia designs its women's health clinics to provide care that understands sex-specific difference and provides culturally tailored and trauma-informed care.
Tia, which focuses on prevention and engages women early on, will provide UCSF Health with new outpatient access points that reach more women for its high-quality network of specialty providers and inpatient services, including the medical center's pregnancy, labor and delivery program.