The most dramatic changes mandated by the Affordable Care Act, aka "Obamacare," kick in by 2014. These companies are poised for big growth as they work with hospitals, insurance providers and others scrambling to hit deadlines.
Cutting hospital readmissions
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Health Recovery Solutions Headquarters: New York City Founders: Jarrett Bauer, Rohan Udeshi, Daniel Priece, Sandeep Pulim Launched: November 2012
For too many patients, hospitals have a revolving door: They leave, get sick again, and are quickly readmitted.
The Affordable Care Act aims to curb preventable return visits with heavy financial penalties: If 25% or more of the Medicare patients a hospital treats for pneumonia, heart failure or a heart attack are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, the hospital gets whacked with a 1% reduction in its Medicare reimbursements for every single patient it treats.
The penalties kicked in late last year, and those little 1% slices add up fast. "If a hospital gets $300 million a year in Medicare payments, that's $3 million," says Sandeep Pulim, a co-founder and chief medical officer of Health Recovery Solutions, a startup that aims to help hospitals cut their readmissions.
Through HRS, hospitals give patients with the highest risk of readmission a tablet preloaded with educational videos and information about what they need to do to stay out of the hospital. At the end of each video there's a short quiz; the answers allow the hospital staff to determine that patient's educational needs. Once the patient goes home, they use the tablet to record -- and transmit to their care team -- the medication they take, their weight, their activities and any side effects they experience.
"Our goal was to get to five hospitals by the end of next year," Pulim says. Seven have already requested the company's services. HRS expects to close a $600,000 round of funding in March.
It's still early days for the company, but right now 14 (soon to be a study group of 25) U.S. hospitals patients have been sent home with an HRS tablet; none have been readmitted. In March HRS signed its first client, Hackensack Alliance ACO, an organization that focuses on Medicare patients.