VBC enabler Valendo Health launches for endocrinologists to provide 'across the board' diabetes care

A new value-based care enabler focused on endocrinology has launched with a mission to shape the future of diabetes care.

Valendo Health uses a phased approach to offer expertise, technology and data-rich tools to help independent physicians enhance clinical capacity, streamline operations and transition to value-based care. 

The company was built at New York City-based startup creator Redesign Health in 2023 and has raised $4 million in seed funding. Valendo gets its name from “value” and “endocrinology,” and also means “worth” in Portuguese.

The startup has announced two initial provider partners: Cecelia Health, a virtual provider for chronic care management, and Advanced Metabolic Care + Research (AMCR), an endocrinology center in Southern California. 

“Diabetes is one of the biggest healthcare challenges in the country,” Valendo co-founder and CEO Dave Terry told Fierce Healthcare. “It’s just not managed nearly as well as it could be.” 

Millions of Americans live with diabetes, a condition that is growing in prevalence and costs. It also disproportionately affects people of color. A data analysis conducted by Valendo found that people with diabetes experience improved quality of life, fewer complications and lower utilization of ER visits and hospitalizations when they’re cared for by an endocrinologist.

Yet less than 10% of the 12 million Medicare beneficiaries living with diabetes were able to get access to an endocrinologist last year, per Valendo. “That’s a travesty, and it’s really due to capacity issues,” Terry said.

Endocrinologists earn much less compared to other specialties. One estimate projects a shortage of adult endocrinologists of 2,700 by next year. When an endocrinologist cares for a Medicare beneficiary with diabetes, that patient costs notably less than when cared for by other providers—yet each patient only generates about $500 annually for the provider, according to Terry. A value-based contract is a way for these practices to see more revenue.

Valendo’s offerings are designed to enhance clinical capacity and cultural competency to help bridge the gap. Through its partnership with Cecelia, Valendo can offer practices like AMCR access to multilingual diabetes educators, nutritionists, nurses and other clinicians “to make sure we can provide care across the board in every community across the country,” Terry said.

The goal is to enable specialized expertise, telehealth and remote patient monitoring technology to improve care, reduce complications and lower the cost of care for people with diabetes. 

“We will be able to communicate with patients more effectively between visits, providing timely education and telemedicine that will enable our patients to be even more successful with their diabetes care,” Tim Bailey, M.D., senior partner at AMCR, said in a press release. “Valendo Health’s data and risk management expertise will also help us thrive in a value-based care environment.” 

Of all the virtual care providers specializing in chronic care management that Valendo considered for a partnership, Cecelia had the most experience caring for the diabetes population, Terry said. To date, Cecelia has contracted with large payers, health system and pharma companies—not smaller practices like ACMR. Valendo is now helping it to do so and to learn about the risk-taking business should it decide to pursue value-based arrangements in the future.

Valendo’s offerings are delivered in phases: 

  • Phase 1: Work with practices to increase clinical capacity and enhance patient services through the delivery of telehealth and remote patient monitoring services. 
  • Phase 2: Smooth practice operations, reduce overhead costs and enhance practice profitability. Valendo does this by working to centralize administrative and clinical services and aggregating clinical and administrative data. 
  • Phase 3: Develop and manage value-based specialty care contracts with payers and at-risk provider groups. These contracts are designed to reward specialists for improving care and reducing costs for their populations.

Right now, the startup’s primary delivery modes for care are in-office and virtual. While it doesn’t have plans to go into the homes of patients yet, Terry can see a scenario where the startup partners with a home care provider, he said.

Value-based care has had a “bumpy up and down ride” in the U.S., Terry said. He is hopeful that expanding data availability on provider performance and patient symptoms points to a continuing shift toward value. The former enables payers to reimburse for value, while the latter helps enable risk stratification and personalization of care for patients.

“I do think there's an opportunity for folks to pick significant clinical areas and become great at it, and then partner with folks who are taking global risk to really move the needle,” Terry said.