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The percentage of Americans who use Medicaid, the state and federal program that provides health coverage to low income individuals, increased to 17.8 percent in 20202, after four consecutive years decreases. It is now at the highest level since 2013.
While programs like Medicaid are supposed to help close the disparities in healthcare, they are, in some ways, worse than ever, thanks in large part to the pandemic. These are not just driven by economics, but also by race and sexual orientation, as well as access to healthy food and transportation. Currently, the wealthiest Americans outlive the poorest Americans by 10 to 15 years.
Waymark, is a new company that wants to close that gap by improving healthcare access and outcomes among Medicaid beneficiaries. Co-founded by CEO Rajaie Batniji, who previously co-founder of employer health benefits solution Collective Health, the company trains and deploys community-based teams to work with patients and primary care providers in order to give them access to better care.
On Monday, the company announced a $45 million Series A round of funding co-led by Andreessen Horowitz and New Enterprise Associates, with participation from Lux Capital and angel investors.
Founded in 2021, Waymark is a Public Benefit Corporation that uses technology to service communities and individuals that it says have "been historically excluded, because of language, race, ethnicity, poverty, substance use, immigration status, gender or sexual identity."
The company partners with primary care providers, giving them both a community-based team that can provide outreach, as well as a coordinator in their practice to facilitate communicate between the clinic and the community. This helps the physician reduce paperwork and no-show visit rates, as well as time spent coordinating social services, behavioral healthcare, and referrals.
Waymark also partners with health plans to deliver care to Medicaid patients that are it says frequently unavailable to them.
"Additional creativity and capital must be directed to Medicaid to avoid further entrenching disparities that are already so visible," said Batniji in the release. "Waymark will increase the capacity of our healthcare delivery system and align the payment incentives to enable whole-person care."
In addition to Batniji, Waymark's team also includes Dr. Sanjay Basu, formerly Director of Research at the Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care; Michael Ceballos, formerly Head of New Markets & Implementation with Cityblock Health; Afia Asamoah, former Head of Legal at Google Health; and Christina Fellows, former VP of Medicaid Finance at UnitedHealthcare.
Along with the funding, Waymark also added two new board members: Vineeta Agarwala, General Partner ay a16z, and Mohamad Makhzoumi, Managing General Partner and Head of the Global Healthcare Investing Practice at NEA
"Waymark is a perfect fit for our core thesis that provider enablement -- empowering physicians already practicing in their communities with technology and resources -- is the most scalable path to fixing our healthcare system," Agarwala said in a statement.
"Given unacceptable health disparities in the $600B+ Medicaid market, the need as well as opportunity to drive more efficient care here is massive. We are excited for Waymark to help implement value-based and evidence-based care pathways for Medicaid patients."
(Image source: waymarkcare.com)
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