Humana Partners With Mercy To Advance Virtual Healthcare 

Health insurance firm Humana is teaming with the Mercy healthcare system to expand virtual medical services to Humana’s Medicare Advantage members.

“This agreement unites two organizations striving to offer care that is more accessible, personalized and coordinated — a commitment that is more important than ever right now,” Jeremy Gaskill, Humana’s regional Medicare president, said in a press release on Friday (Feb. 26). He added that the partnership will help the company’s mission to “improve the health and well-being of people in the communities we serve, and that that Mercy “shares our dedication to innovation in healthcare.”

The collaboration offers Humana’s Medicare Advantage members access to Mercy Virtual,  the healthcare system’s “hospital without beds,” according to the release. Mercy Virtual has more than 300 clinicians and offers round-the-clock care, including virtual primary care.

The new service will be available to any Humana Medicare Advantage member who has in-network use of one of Mercy’s 4,000 primary and specialty care clinicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

As part of the partnership, Mercy is also entering into a value-based care arrangement with Humana. The new service expands on the existing network contract between both companies, which continues to provide in-network access at all Mercy hospitals, outpatient facilities and physician practices.

“Mercy is committed to working with our communities to improve healthcare while also reducing the total cost of care,” said Shannon Sock, Mercy executive vice president, chief strategist and chief financial officer. “Strong payor relationships, like this one with Humana, will help in our long-term journey to provide more seamless care for our patients. Together we can make a real difference for patients, which is especially critical during this pandemic.”

Humana’s total Medicare Advantage membership reached more than 4.8 million members in January, the release said.

Humana recently backed the Los Angeles digital health startup Heal with a $100 million investment. Heal said it made 200,000 home visits over the past five years