Ochsner, Novant partner on primary care clinics in Southeast

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Ochsner Health and Novant Health plan to to build clinics throughout the Southeast that will offer primary care, wellness programs and social services to older adults.

The partnership between the two nonprofit health systems, branded as 65 Plus, will also offer social events, fitness centers and health coaching to encourage older adults to live more active lives as they age. The venture is the latest effort by providers and payers to capture the lucrative healthcare market of aging adults, including the large baby boomer generation.

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Novant Health CEO Carl Armato said the collaboration will help the two health systems improve care for older patients with more complex conditions as the providers transition to value-based care.

“We hear about how long it sometimes takes for some of these patients with complex illnesses to receive treatment,” Armato said. “We are able to create a bold, new model for our patients and our communities and through possible collaborations with other health systems.”

The partnership expands an initiative New Orleans-based Ochsner Health started in May 2022 to build and operate 65 Plus clinics in Louisiana and Florida. It operates three clinics in Covington, Louisiana, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Pensacola, Florida. The Pensacola clinic will become the first location to be co-branded.

Locations for other clinics have not been identified. Ochsner and Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Novant will split the costs to build them, but did not release financial details of the joint venture. 65 Plus will operate separately from the hospital systems.

Morningstar healthcare analyst Julie Utterback said the 65 Plus business model should play well to Medicare Advantage plans that encourage patients to access preventive health services as well as primary care services.

Approximately 56 million Americans are 65 and older, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data. Those numbers are expected to grow to approximately 80 million by 2040. As a result, a number of healthcare businesses focusing on older adults have started in recent years.

Oak Street Health launched in 2012 and provides value-based primary care to Medicare beneficiaries at approximately 170 locations in 21 states. CVS Health completed its $10.6 billion acquisition of the Chicago-based company in May.

Humana operates 250 value-based primary care clinics for older adults in a dozen states under the CenterWell brand it started in 2020. The company announced late last year it will open between 30 and 50 clinics a year through 2025 under a $1.2 billion joint venture with private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe.

Tech-enabled startup Homeward Health launched in March 2022 with a $22 million investment from private equity firm General Catalyst. Homeward Health partners with private insurers to offer primary care in the home and through mobile clinics to rural Medicare beneficiaries in Michigan and Minnesota.

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