Carbon Health pushes into home disease management with Steady Health acquisition

Carbon Health, a San Francisco-based primary care provider blending brick-and-mortar clinics with telehealth services, announced today that it has acquired virtual diabetes management startup Steady Health.

The purchase represents Carbon’s first push into remote, device-driven management of chronic conditions. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2018, Steady Health offers consumers a virtual diabetes care model consisting of video visits and text conversations with diabetes specialists. At a higher membership tier, the startup supplements its virtual care with personalized insights from continuous glucose monitor (CGM) devices.

In a blog post, Steady Health CEO and founder Henrik Berggren said his company’s brand and existing services will remain in place.

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Steady Health members will still have access to Steady’s clinicians, and the service will stay in-network with all of the plans it currently supports, according to an FAQ. Steady Health also said users will not be required to receive care from other Carbon Health providers to continue using the service.

However, Steady Health’s team will be working to integrate its suite of CGM monitoring tools with Carbon Health’s platform over the next few months, Berggren said.

Steady Health will be “supporting Carbon Health’s home-based care initiatives and further evolving its approach to managing chronic conditions. Over the next few months, we’ll be expanding across the country, as well as launching new products and services,” Berggren wrote in the post.  

These at-home diabetes management capabilities add another wing to Carbon Health’s “omnichannel” primary care delivery strategy—an approach that offers patients consistent care across a wide variety of access points such as clinics, pop-up sites or the company’s app.

Eren Bali, Carbon Health’s CEO and co-founder, said in a statement that his company is also hoping to expand Steady Health’s management platform into additional conditions down the line.

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“From day one, our mission has been to increase the accessibility of high-quality care, which means continuing to increase access points and improve communication between patients and healthcare providers,” Bali said in a statement. “Devices like CGMs create an opportunity to connect a patient with their provider in a way not possible before, to drive better outcomes. Diabetes is one of the most pervasive and expensive health conditions in the U.S., and we are excited to partner with Henrik Berggren and his team at Steady Health to help elevate the management of diabetes.”

Carbon Health has grown extensively over the course of the pandemic. In December, it touted a sixfold increase in patient volume over the course of 2020. It has also expanded to more than 70 clinics across 13 states and launched a COVID-19 workplace safety program for employer customers.

This growth was paired with nearly $130 million in new investments across multiple funding announcements during 2020. Carbon Health said at the time that it would be using the funds to build out evidence-based programs for specialty care such as women’s health and chronic disease management.

That latter area has proven itself to be among the most tantalizing targets for digital and virtual health companies. By throwing its hat into the ring, Carbon Health is now more likely to bump up against digital health players such as Livongo (now part of Teladoc), Onduo, Omada and DarioHealth.

On the other hand, the move could help Carbon Health distinguish its service from other tech-enabled primary care providers that have benefitted from the pandemic. This would include companies like One Medical, which went public last year and highlighted new geographic expansions during a recent investor call.

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Today’s acquisition news also came with the official word on two new hires at Carbon Health.

Myoung Cha, formerly the head of Apple Health, was named as Carbon Health’s chief strategy officer and president of its new home-based care division, which would include device-enabled services like Steady Health’s alongside virtual care and other home diagnostics services.

"The acquisition of Steady Health signals our intent to extend our care model through technology into the home and to vertically integrate our primary care stack with technologies like CGMs and other hardware and diagnostics over time," Cha told Fierce Healthcare in an email statement. "By making these technologies mainstream in our delivery model and integrating seamlessly into our platform, we will invest in care pathways that fully utilize the value that these approaches can bring to keep people healthy and lower costs over time."

Nita Sommers, formerly the president of home-based care company Honor and chief strategy officer at health navigation platform Castlight Health, will also be stepping on board as the company’s chief growth officer.

“Myoung and Nita are two incredible powerhouses with deep, strategic healthcare experience that will enable Carbon to get even closer to our vision of healthcare accessibility,” Bali said in a statement. “As we continue to expand our services and omnichannel care model—with a goal of expanding to 1,500 clinics across the U.S. by the end of 2025—home- and value-based care offerings will be critical components that will enable patients to get everything they need for their health where and when they need it most.”