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Over 20.3 million children in the United States, meaning 28% of all children, face barriers to accessing essential health care, according to the Children’s Health Fund. That can be because they're uninsured, or it might mean they don't get routine primary care. It might also mean they do get primary care, but still have unmet needs because they can't access a pediatric subspecialty, such as pediatric cardiology or pediatric endocrinology.
And it's not as if these children don't need this care: an estimated 32 million children in the U.S., or 43%, currently have at least one chronic health condition, while almost 20% have conditions resulting in a special health care need.
Looking to fix this is Brave Care, a platform dedicated to improving primary and urgent care for children, which announced a $25 million funding round on Thursday.
"Pediatric care often lacks both cost effective solutions as well as limited availability, with over 21 million parents a year faced without many options outside of the cost-prohibitive ER," Darius Monsef, the company's co-founder and CEO, told VatorNews.
"Brave Care believes that children deserve the best care, no matter their circumstances or the reason for their visit."
Founded in 2018, the company, which is a graduate of Y Combinator, currently operates three brick-and-mortar clinics in Portland, Oregon and Fayetteville, North Carolina, which are open seven days a week, 12 hours a day, offering everything patients access to everything from urgent medical services to primary care.
In addition, patients can also get access to care 24/7 via the company's digital app, called Brave Care Parent Mobile App, which they can use to book appointments and to receive remote medical care. The average age of a patient on Brave Care is six years old and it has so far registered over 10,000 patient visits.
"Brave Care’s solution is dedicated to a deep understanding of pediatric care, while building a truly unique digital consumer product. We've built every part of our software, clinics, and informational material with parents and our children at the center, creating the experiences to meet them where they are," Monsef explained.
The company accepts most private insurance options, and also takes Medicaid. For those patients who want to pay cash, or don't have insurance, a basic visit fee at Brave Care is around $150, which Monsef says is 1/10th the cost of a trip to the ER, saving them at least $1,000 per visit. The company is also provides 24 hour Triage Nurses who can help parents understand the severity of an issue, thereby reducing the number of unnecessary visits to any kind of in-person care.
Brave Care's latest finding round, which was led by medical group Mednax, brings its total raised to $43 million; previous investors include Y Combinator, City Light Capital, Gaingels, AV8, Interplay, Founder’s Co-op, Refactor, Collaborative Fund, Indicator, Fifty Years, and Greycroft.
Along with the new funding, it was announced that Mednax's Chief Development Officer, Dr. Jim Swift, also has joined the Board of Directors at Brave Care.
"This investment from Mednax has allowed both executive teams become aligned around improving pediatric care, a steadfast dedication for both companies that organically led to Dr. Jim Swift’s promotion to the Brave Care board of directors," Monsef told me.
"With a background in pediatric intensive care, as well as serving as an Executive Vice President at Mednax, Dr. Swift makes a worthy addition to the board."
The company plans to use the new funding to open more clinics; there are already plans to open more clinics in Portland, as well in Austin, Texas, and the goal is to have 100 new clinics in the next couple of years.
"Brave Care’s mission is to provide impactful pediatric care fueled by empathy, research-driven, grounded in trust, and made more personal with the support of modern technology," said Monsef.
"The ultimate goal for Brave Care is to improve healthcare for children in a lasting and permanent way. Success looks like parents across the country having immediate and cost-effective pediatric care for their children, with consistent access to medical care."
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