Strive Health, Oak Street Health Strike Kidney Care Partnership

Value-based kidney care is gaining momentum in the healthcare industry. Just in the last month, Humana contracted with Interwell Health for kidney care and Signify Health released a new chronic kidney disease evaluation. A new partnership further highlights the rising importance of kidney care at a time when chronic kidney disease largely goes unnoticed.

Kidney care company Strive Health announced last week that it is collaborating with primary care company Oak Street Health to serve Medicare members with stage 4 chronic kidney disease and end-stage kidney disease. Denver-based Strive Health offers in-home and virtual support for chronic kidney disease, end-stage kidney disease, dialysis and kidney transplant. It works with over 600 nephrology providers and connects patients with a care team, including a nurse practitioner, registered nurse, case manager and care coordinator. Chicago-based Oak Street Health is a network of 160 primary care centers for people on Medicare. The company was recently acquired by CVS Health for $10.6 billion. CVS Health also participated in Strive Health’s $166 million Series C funding round. 

The partnership will serve patients across the 21 states Oak Street Health has a footprint in. If an Oak Street Health patient has stage 4 chronic kidney disease or end-stage kidney disease, they’ll be referred to Strive Health for its services. Strive Health can also do direct outreach to Oak Street Health’s patients with kidney disease. The kidney care provider will support these patients in their homes and virtually.

“[Oak Street Health] has a big population of patients, but only a portion have chronic kidney disease and end-stage kidney disease,” said Will Stokes, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Strive Health, in an interview. “This is a very specialized population for them and really any primary care provider. It’s a small prevalence relatively, but really high cost and high complexity. So we’re brought in as a specialty care model for people with chronic kidney disease stage 4 and beyond.”

The two organizations are also able to collaborate on patients’ care by sharing notes on patients and making adjustments to their care plans, Stokes added.

“We’re not replacing primary care, we’re not duplicating what Oak Street does,” he said. “We’re sort of plugging in, integrating with their practices and adding extra touch points and extra layers of support for these specific patients.”

The companies are engaged in a value-based care contract, in which Strive Health takes on the risk of Oak Street’s kidney disease patients. Strive gets paid by Oak Street based on the savings it creates for that population, such as from reducing hospitalizations.

Oak Street Health selected Strive Health after undergoing an extensive search process, though the company did not say whether it evaluated Monogram and Somatus.

“Strive is the right fit as we look to provide this additional comprehensive care to our late-stage [chronic kidney disease] and [end-stage kidney disease] patients that we serve at our centers,” said Drew Crenshaw, chief population health officer at Oak Street Health, in a statement. “We went through a robust search process and were impressed with Strive’s care model. The strong alignment with their clinical approach, as well as our geographic overlap made it a natural choice.”

Photo:, Getty Images