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Homeward sets out to change health care in rural areas, including senior citizens with Medicare/Medi

Including senior citizens with Medicare/Medicaid in Berrien & Van Buren counties

Long gone are the days were someone can be seen by their primary care provider on the same day they call into the office. There is just simply not enough supply for the demand. Then add things like distance, and cost, it is no wonder that the statistics state that people living in rural communities experience a 40% higher preventable hospitalization rate and suffer a mortality rate 23% higher than those in urban communities due to the lack of access to quality care.

This is why former Livongo executive Jennifer Schneider, M.D., launched a new concept to healthcare at the ViVE 2022 digital health conference last March and it has made its way to Michigan, and more importantly, to the Tri-City Area.

Homeward Healthcare

Homeward states on its website that they are a technology-enabled healthcare provider delivering care to those who don’t have it.

HEALTHCARE THAT COMES TO YOU... Homeward, a mobile healthcare provider designed to bring healthcare directly to your home, made a recent stop in Watervliet in their signature purple RV. Homeward plans to service the Tri-City Area at the Hartford Rite Aid in the future. (TCR photo by Josh Coffin)

Currently, it serves 23 counties in Michigan, including those senior citizens who have Medicare and Medicare Advantage coverage, who live in Berrien and Van Buren counties.

Homeward plans to deliver a hybrid model of telehealth technology and face-to-face services that will immediately increase access to primary care and specialty services to those in rural communities.

Homeward employs a multidisciplinary care team, available both virtually and on the ground through mobile care units, with in-home remote monitoring that keeps patients connected to their care team. These teams conduct physical exams, perform diagnostic tests and integrate with regional health systems, local physicians, and specialists to provide care coordination, referring members to local in-person services as needed, Homeward executives said.

INSIDE THE UNIT... Amy Loshbough (left) and Angela Widdis from the Record staff are given a tour of the RV by Jeff Anderson of Homeward. (TCR photos by Josh Coffin)

Homeward takes accountability for outcomes and cost of care, which allows the company to deliver services and technology in ways that wouldn’t be possible in a traditional fee-for-service setting. This novel approach in rural markets provides patients with an easier way to engage with the health care system on their terms while helping them to better adhere to their care plans and manage their health.

The mission statement of Homeward Inc., says that they are “Rearchitecting the delivery of health and care in partnership with communities everywhere, starting in rural America.”

With full steam, this rural healthcare startup company is securing major partnerships and looking to make a difference.

Partnership with Priority Health

In the fall of 2022 Priority Health, a nationally recognized nonprofit health plan teamed up with Homeward. The company’s partnership with Priority Health and its 30,000 Medicare Advantage members represents a significant step in the company’s strategy to expand its care model to Medicare beneficiaries in rural areas, starting with Michigan.

THE HOMEWARD TEAM... (from the left) Jeff Anderson, James Brown, and Jake Mazanke discuss the goals and values of Homeward.

Through this partnership, Priority Health Medicare Advantage members who choose to receive care from Homeward will have access to their offerings.

“This partnership supports Priority Health’s longstanding commitment to bringing innovative, personalized solutions to our members, while advancing our efforts to shift from the historical fee-for-service model to true value-based care,” stated Carrie Kincaid, senior vice president of market development at Priority Health on their website. “Rather than requiring members to travel far distances to receive care, Homeward’s innovative approach brings care to the member in their home and at convenient locations within the flow of their daily lives.”

With over 30 years in business, Priority Health is the second-largest health plan in Michigan, offering an extensive portfolio of health benefits options for employer groups and individuals, including both Medicare and Medicaid plans. Serving more than one million members each year and offering a broad network of primary care physicians in Michigan, Priority Health continues to be recognized as a leader in quality, customer service, transparency, and product innovation.

Partnership with Rite Aid

Homeward and Rite Aid Pharmacy have partnered up to provide primary care services onsite at over 700 Rite Aid pharmacy locations, including the location in Hartford at 302 West Main Street, at the end of this month.

Homeward will be on site providing in-network clinical services, including primary care and specialty care, using its mobile unit parked in the parking lot at the store. Now seniors can see a physician and get their prescriptions all in one stop.

Through this partnership, Rite Aid pharmacists will be able to introduce customers of Rite Aid who are Medicare-eligible to Homeward’s clinical services, including annual wellness visits, screenings, risk assessments, diagnostic testing, and referrals to specialists for those in need.

“Rite Aid is deeply committed to improving the lives of our customers with expanded pharmacy and healthcare services in underserved rural communities,” said Rite Aid President and CEO Heyward Donigan in a statement. “We are proud to support the innovative work that Homeward is doing to introduce a new, hybrid care model that will play a critical role in our customers’ health journeys.”

In October 2020, Rite Aid unveiled a new strategy and brand relaunch that competes with retail chain stores like CVS and Walmart which are looking to add clinical services to their stores.

About 60 million people, or one in five Americans, live in rural America and telehealth, by itself, has not solved rural healthcare disparities. Homeward and their partners aim to bring quality healthcare to the doorsteps of people who otherwise would not receive it because of their geographical location.



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