Virta Health Wants To Make Insurers an Offer They Can’t Refuse

The disease management company promises to lower the A1C levels of diabetes patients, or health plans won’t have to pay for the program.

Value-based care continues to make inroads, or at least headlines. Stat this morning reports on diabetes management vendor Virta Health’s gamble that its coaching and monitoring system will make patients with type 2 diabetes more engaged in their own care to the extent that their A1C levels will be lower after a year. If the program doesn’t work, then insurers and employers don’t have to pay Virta a dime.

“Literally, we can enroll a patient, and get paid $0, on an individual patient level,” Virta CEO and co-founder Sami Inkinen tells Stat.

Virta’s physicians coach patients via a digital platform. Physicians can also track a patient’s weight, and the levels of glucose and ketone in the blood thanks to a smart bodyweight scale and lancets for blood sampling that the program supplies.

“The company says it will define patient engagement 30 days in by how often users respond to digital messages, send the company data on the levels of glucose and ketone in their blood, and report back on their symptoms, energy level, and hunger,” Stat reports. “In linking payments after a year to patients’ A1C levels, Virta picked a metric commonly used to assess the health of diabetes patients. That’s because the higher patients’ A1C levels, the more likely they are to experience complications.”

Virta counts among its clients Purdue University, Layafette, Ind., and the Oklahoma-based Native American tribe Chickasaw Nation. Patients do not pay anything out of pocket, for the most part.