Health group Advantia acquires telehealth company Pacify

Advantia Health, a women’s health group with locations in the mid-Atlantic and Midwest, has acquired Pacify, a telehealth company that focuses on virtual perinatal care for new and expectant moms and parents.

The deal combines Advantia’s physical physician practices with Pacify’s virtual capabilities with the aim of providing on-demand 24/7 virtual care for new mothers through the Pacify platform, company executives said in an exclusive interview with FierceHealthcare.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Both companies are headquartered in the Washington, D.C., area.

Advantia Health founder and CEO Sean Glass said the combination of online and offline care models “redefines the health care experience for women.” Advantia plans to integrate Pacify’s services, and the health group’s customers will have access to the mobile application before the end of this year, Glass said.

“What is unique about this merger and this opportunity is that it blends two different models—Pacify brings the best of what telehealth can offer, which is instantaneous access to care at the moment when it’s needed and Advantia offers a high-quality network of OB-GYNs,” Ben Lundin, co-founder and CEO of Pacify, told FierceHealthcare. “This is a blended model that will be both relationship-driven and technologically-advanced.”

Lundin added, “The care model of the future is blended—in-person and virtual—and we’re excited to deliver that.”

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Pacify launched in 2014 as a mobile platform for new and expecting parents, and the company works with more than 30 health plans nationwide, employers and public health agencies, including Medicaid managed care organizations and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) programs, according to Lundin.

Pacify’s virtual services connect new and expectant parents with international board-certified lactation consultants and registered nurses to complement in-person visits with OB-GYNs, pediatricians and other physicians, Lundin said.

“When it’s 2 a.m., you’re a new mom, and your baby has a fever or you aren’t sure if she’s getting enough to eat, you want instantaneous access to quality care. Pacify provides that,” Lisa Shah, M.D., Advantia’s chief medical officer, told FierceHealthcare. “And health plans know that those moments present a real opportunity to improve outcomes and reduce costs.”

Glass said his company evaluated several potential partners in the digital health space and was attracted to Pacify’s commitment to quality and its demonstrated return on investment.

With its virtual perinatal services, Pacify has realized greater than 3:1 ROI in savings per birth, according to an independent claims analysis, and has decreased emergency room visits by 26%. The telehealth company also has contributed to a 10% increase in reported cases of exclusive breastfeeding among women in a statewide WIC program, according to the company.

In February, Advantia Health expanded its business with the acquisition of Heartland Women’s Healthcare, an OB-GYN practice with 25 locations across Missouri and southern Illinois. According to the Washington Business Journal, that deal nearly doubled Advantia’s size as it looks to raise up to $100 million in a rapid growth push.

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Advantia’s practices, called Women’s Health Hubs, integrate OB-GYN services, mental health and wellness and lightweight primary care with 200 providers serving about 430,000 patients.

Glass said he sees promising opportunities for the company with the unique delivery channels Pacify brings to the table, specifically its established relationships with health plans, employers and government entities. These delivery channels will enable Advantia to deliver care beyond physician offices as the company continues to expand across the country, he said.

The combined company also aligns well with value-based care models bring a unique value proposition to insurance companies and employers, Glass said.

“We think the ultimate objective is to be in value-based contracts with plans and employers directly for the full perinatal episode for the mom, and then for the child as well and extending that into early childhood development and pediatrics,” he said.