The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
For more than four decades, NEA has had the privilege of investing in ground-breaking companies, technologies, and business models that have the power to change the trajectory of an industry. Sprinkled among our hundreds of investments are the rare opportunities to not only partner with companies but help form them—Curana Health is one of these stories.
Curana’s mission is to improve the health, happiness, and dignity of senior living residents by supporting and driving the growth of value-based healthcare models in senior living communities throughout the United States. Curana’s foundation is built from three leading healthcare organizations that provide healthcare services to senior living communities—Elite Patient Care, Provider Health Services, and AllyAlign Health. Throughout the past year, we’ve worked closely with CEO Mark Price to unite these three entities to form Curana, which consists of a leading medical group (Curana Health Medical Group), an operator of Medicare Advantage Health Plans (AllyAlign Health) and an Accountable Care Organization (Curana Health ACO). Today, we are thrilled to announce the whole of this new union, which is poised to transform care delivery for patients living in senior housing communities.
Similar to previous NEA company formations such as Radiology Partners and Strive Health, NEA developed an early thesis around senior housing in 2019, prior to the onset of the pandemic. About 2.8 million people in the United States live in senior housing facilities (skilled nursing, continuing care retirement community (CCRC), assisted living, memory care, independent living, etc.), most of whom are older adults, and the nation's population continues to age. We were introduced to Mark, who had been President of Intermountain Healthcare Nevada through our relationship with Joe Mello (COO DaVita). Mark immediately recognized this great unmet need, and together, we set out to reimagine care delivery for senior living. Residents of senior living facilities deserve better care, and we wanted to work hand-in-hand with facility operators to deliver an improved experience to residents in a value-based environment.
These key macro trends, which we identified early in the company formation, fueled our thesis:
- The growth of the 75+ age demographic. An estimated 27M more people are aging into the cohort through 2050, resulting in rising age and higher health acuity levels of residents moving into senior living.
- Need for integration of healthcare into senior housing. Significant opportunities exist as facility operators look for partners in clinical service offerings to manage residents’ health.
- Government and social policy changes. Recent legislation addresses quality and cost reforms in post-acute care payment and delivery systems.
During the early company build, we spoke to more than 40 key opinion leaders, senior housing operators, and clinicians to better understand the status quo and areas for improvement. We heard anecdotes including the reliance on emergency services (versus onsite treatment), understaffed facilities, and burnout of existing personnel. For anyone with loved ones living in retirement facilities, access to quality healthcare is paramount. What we did not anticipate was that a global pandemic would upend the world we live in, especially devastating to the long-term care sector. The following became more important than ever:
- Senior housing was hard-hit by COVID-19 with high mortality, staff turnover, and reduced occupancy. The traditional fee-for-service world came under pressure due to its focus on volume over quality.
- Status quo of sending sick residents to hospital emergency rooms was no longer viable. There is nothing more expensive for the healthcare system than an avoidable hospitalization. Not only is an admission expensive for seniors, most residents and their families do not want to be in the hospital.
- Safer to bring care onsite than send residents offsite. Onsite and virtual care offerings seen as necessity post pandemic.
These events have created a need to partner closely with facilities on design and delivery of new clinical and health plan services, while creating a value-based model that aligns incentives to service complex patient populations. Today, the combined Curana Health organization serves more than 1,000 senior living community partners in 26 states. The medical group is comprised of more than 400 physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants providing outstanding primary, post-acute care and other clinical services onsite in senior living communities, including skilled nursing facilities, life plan communities, assisted living facilities, and memory care facilities. The pandemic also ushered in rapid adoption of telehealth and advancements in remote monitoring capabilities such as fall detection. The Curana team plans to be the one-stop shop partner for senior living communities, incorporating services and technology tailored for our partners.
Curana is driven by an incredible management team led by CEO Mark Price, and including Anne Rote, Chris Dawe, Darryl Landahl, Julianne Hug, Tina Shenouda, Tony Gamboa, and others who bring deep value-based care and health plan experience from companies such as Intermountain Health, ChenMed, and DaVita, Evolent, Humana, Molina, etc. We are honored to partner with such a talented team as they work to transform care by delivering a powerful whole to seniors in housing facilities throughout the country.