- Mission Nicely, a startup taking a dietary strategy to continual illness, raised $2 million.
- The startup plans to focus on the booming Medicare Benefit market.
- It really works with meals distributors and dietitians to get sufferers to eat more healthy and handle circumstances.
- See extra tales on Insider’s enterprise web page.
All through her profession, Lauren Driscoll has made caring for older adults a precedence.
After school, she went to work at a highschool in Japan, a rustic the place older persons are given larger social standing. Her grandmother additionally served as inspiration for her work, which started when Driscoll pursued a grasp’s in public well being at Columbia College within the 1990s.
Driscoll is a veteran of the 1993 Clinton Well being Care Activity Power, the place she helped craft healthcare reform. Throughout her time at Oxford Well being Plans (now owned by UnitedHealth Group) and Leavitt Companions, Driscoll has saved an eye fixed on how Medicare, the medical health insurance for adults 65 and older, has reworked over the previous three a long time.
“Older adults do not essentially get the respect and empathy they deserve in our nation,” she mentioned.
Now, Driscoll has launched Mission Nicely, a startup that helps present meals for seniors as a option to complement the medical care they’re receiving. Mission Nicely mentioned it raised $2 million in funding in late February in a spherical led by agricultural tech agency S2G Ventures and senior-healthcare-focused Primetime Companions.
Based in 2019, the startup plans to make use of a regulatory tweak in Medicare Benefit, the personal arm of the federal Medicare program that gives insurance coverage for folks 65 and older that permits for members to get supplemental advantages together with meals, produce, and longer-term provision of totally ready meals.
Within the course of, Mission Nicely intends to fight meals insecurity, or the shortage of handy entry to nutritious meals. In line with the US Division of Agriculture’s analysis service, 11% of American households had been meals insecure.
Working with native and nationwide meals distributors, in addition to registered dietitians, Mission Nicely connects Medicare Benefit plan members to insurance-covered diet plans that deal with healthcare cost-intensive sicknesses that may be improved by modifications in food regimen. Members pay no further prices for the meals or groceries delivered to their properties.
“Our meals answer is customized to work for an individual’s life,” Driscoll mentioned. For now, Mission Nicely is paid on a participant per 30 days foundation, however will cost extra on over time to insurers as they show their work is efficient.
How Mission Nicely works
Mission Nicely is presently working with two well being insurers throughout the Midwest.
That features a partnership with Blue Cross Blue Defend of Minnesota to present nutritious meals to pregnant BIPOC girls amongst its membership and a pilot program with the second insurer that Driscoll declined to remark extra on.
Mission Nicely’s program works like this: A affected person recovering from being hospitalized for congestive
may obtain ready meals through supply. One other with earlier-stage heart problems would begin with ready meal kits and progress to wholesome meals packing containers with recipes. Mission Nicely’s dietitians additionally take a person’s cultural preferences and life circumstances under consideration as nicely.
The startup works with corporations like Philadelphia-based Efficiency Kitchen and San Francisco-based Sunbasket to offer the meals and meal kits.
“We’re shifting the person alongside a continuum of taking duty for a more healthy food regimen,” Driscoll mentioned. Finally, Mission Nicely intends for sufferers to take full management of their lifestyle-based illness intervention over the six to 12 months their program lasts.
A shift towards paying for the way nicely sufferers are cared for is driving curiosity in diet
Driscoll mentioned that what Mission Nicely is doing is peripheral to what insurance coverage corporations have sometimes executed: pay for medical care primarily based on how a lot care is delivered Though main insurers may provide members nutritious plans like Humana’s Nicely Dine program, she mentioned nutrition-based way of life intervention is basically outdoors the wheelhouse of main insurers.
The industrywide shift towards paying for the way nicely sufferers are cared for, and insurers’ common unfamiliarity with tips on how to implement it’s why she believes Mission Nicely is well-prepared to implement a “meals is drugs” strategy to continual illness.
“The price of meals can be only a fraction of the hospital stays and emergency division visits that we’re avoiding,” Driscoll mentioned. A 2018 Well being Affairs research confirmed that tailor-made meals can scale back emergency room visits by 70% and hospital admissions by 52%. Primetime Companions investor Abby Levy cited these statistics as rationale for backing Mission Nicely.
Trying again on her Clinton-era coverage work and tenure at Oxford Well being Plans, now part of UnitedHealth Group, Driscoll mentioned she’s happy the healthcare trade has lastly began to incentivize packages concentrating on diet, meals insecurity, and transportation.
“I did not assume it might take so long as it is taken, however the practice has clearly left the station,” she mentioned.