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It’s been said that all politics is local. At the community-health platform Cityblock Health, they believe that health, too, is local.
The company, founded in 2017 and based in Brooklyn, N.Y., has raised $65 million in Series B financing led by Redpoint Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on investing in seed-, early- and growth-stage companies. New investors were 8VC, Echo Health Ventures and Startup Health and existing ones, Sidewalk Labs, Thrive Capital, Maverick Ventures and Town Hall Ventures. The announcement came through a blog post on Medium on April 11.
In addition to the funding, Redpoint’s managing director and partner Elliot Geidt will join Cityblock’s board.
Cityblock also raised a $20.8 million Series A round of funding in January 2018.
“It’s helpful for companies like these to have access to the capital markets, so they can scale,” Geidt told Karma Network on April 12. Some of this work can be done through government grants, he said, but if they lose their funding, the health program can cease to exist.
Cityblock’s members are typically the poorest and sickest patients in a dense geographic area. The company operates clinics and manages a patient’s care by seeing them in the clinic or at their homes. The Cityblock employee, who functions as a caseworker, may also set up appointments with specialists for their patients and even transportation to the doctor’s office.
Cityblock now has clinics in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, N.Y., and Waterbury, Conn. It will use the latest investment to open more clinics on the East Coast, including in North Carolina, and to develop its core platform, Commons, which Cityblock workers use to collaborate and keep current on patients, including with real-time hospital admissions alerts and mechanisms to monitor progress.
Cityblock works with community-based groups to help manage the cases of patients with complicated health and social needs in lower-income neighborhoods—including those who access Medicaid or are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare, Cityblock spokeswoman Amanda D’Ambra told Karma Network on April 12.
Cityblock also works with health insurers, like EmblemHealth, which is a partner. The health insurer will turn over the care of some of its patients to Cityblock to manage for a fee paid to Cityblock. If the patient’s health improves, Cityblock is paid again by the insurer.
Geidt added that this arrangement potentially has many positive results. Not only can the patient’s health improve, but it can mean the difference between a $500 healthcare bill and a $3,000 one, for example. Typical of this population, he said, is that some don’t see a doctor unless they’re in a crisis and need hospitalization.
The company employs a range of healthcare professionals in primary care, behavioral healthcare and social services as well as outreach professionals, engineers and support staff. It has also partnered with health insurers ConnectiCare and Blue Cross North Carolina.
“Cityblock is a very cool company,” said Geidt. “I don’t get to say this about a lot of my investments. They [Cityblock is] are going to ‘re-resave’ lives.”
Michelle Lodge is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared in Time, Fortune, Barron's, the Miami Herald, the British Medical Journal as well as on CNBC.com.