Fresh off a successful Series A funding round, a telehealth company that built its platform around serving rural skilled nursing facilities sees growth ahead in urban markets — as well in serving other post-acute providers along the continuum.
TapestryCare last week announced the completion of a funding round led by the New York City-based Sopris Capital, with plans to expand its current skilled nursing footprint from 90 buildings to nearly 200 by the end of next year.
“This infusion of capital and Tapestry’s plans for expansion into new verticals and geographic markets, supported by Sopris’s experience in the health care field, auger well for a long and successful partnership,” Sopris partner and new TapestryCare board member Abinav Sankar said in a statement.
The terms of the funding round were not disclosed.
Initially focused on providing remote clinical visits to nursing home residents in rural areas underserved by doctors and other advance-practice medical professionals, TapestryCare has grown its offerings to include support from in-person clinicians, chief operating officer Mordy Eisenberg told SNN — a model that he believes can scale outside of the nursing home.
“We have a big plan to push into home care and into the home environment, managed care environment, where we can manage chronically ill populations the same way as we do when they live in the nursing home,” Eisenberg said.
Various senior-focused telehealth solutions have hit the market in recent years as the federal government — along with private insurers — has ramped up the pressure on providers to reduce spending while improving outcomes. Because hospitalizations generally account for an individual patient’s largest episodic expense, reducing admissions and readmissions has been a primary target of these companies, with various mechanisms for achieving that goal.
Some, like the Maryland-based Real Time Medical Systems, offer a steady stream of remote patient data, which nurses and physicians can then use to potentially treat residents for a variety of conditions in place, thus preventing the need for a hospital readmission. Others, including Tapestry, work by bringing doctors directly to patients’ bedsides through video link — facilitated by a specialized “telemedicine cart” with a variety of equipment — and supplemented with in-person visits.
Tapestry has tried to differentiate its offerings within the market by emphasizing the continuity that having a regular team of doctors can bring to a facility; unlike a tech-only platform, which may offer a rotating cast of doctors making virtual rounds across multiple geographies, Tapestry has migrated to model of overnight telehealth coverage balanced with on-site care during the day.
The company has also seen a rise in demand from operators in urban markets, Eisenberg said, as clients with skilled nursing portfolios that span both rural areas and cities saw the early returns on the model.
But that hybrid tech and in-person approach complicated its attempts to raise money from venture capital firms, Eisenberg said.
“Most of the VCs that we’ve spoken to, they’re very interested in the very sexy tech companies, and once they realize we’re not a tech company per se … they weren’t so interested,” he said.
Tapestry eventually found a willing partner in Sopris, which Eisenberg said has a keen interest in exploring the nexus of tech and traditional medicine.
“For us, it’s very exciting to be able to go from doing what we’ve been doing to having the resources and support to grow,” he said.
As Tapestry plots its expansion, managed care companies and accountable care organizations (ACOs) serve as the next logical step.
“For us, that’s the next frontier,” he said. “With this funding, we hope to build out the SNF piece and also focus heavily on the home and the managed care piece.”
Unlike with skilled nursing facilities, the company may have to take a more roundabout path into the home health space. Individual operators in the sector, Eisenberg said, may be too far away from the risk-reward equation to jump directly into a new tech solution.
“It’s about following the money — who cares the most? Who has first-dollar risk on the patient? If it’s a home care agency, they may not care enough,” Eisenberg said. “They may have some metrics, some star ratings to worry about, but it’s not worth enough usually for them to make it work.”
But Eisenberg believes Medicare Advantage plans and ACOs will see the benefits.
“If it’s going to cost them a few hundred dollars a month for us to see the patient at home, versus the $15,000 hospital visit, it’s obviously a no-brainer,” he said.