Philadelphia-based First Docs is poised for multi-state expansion after securing new investment dollars from the private equity firm Webster Equity Partners.
First Docs is a physician-led internal medicine practice that offers a range of health care services and frequently collaborates with hospice, palliative care, and home health providers, among others. The amount of Webster’s investment was undisclosed.
CEO Dr. Sanjay Bhatia founded First Docs in 2010, introducing its proprietary 360 Community Medicine Care Model. The organization provides primary care, hospital-based services, case management, and surgical co-management, as well as hospice, home health, and palliative care through partnerships.
“The 360 Community Medicine model describes what I believe is a sector of internal medicine that can be practiced in any community in the country, whereby you take all comers regardless of insurance so that we open up channels immediately to the underserved as well,” Bhatia told Hospice News. “The best athletes cross-train, same thing here with doctors. We believe that cross-training our physicians gets you a very robust physician, and staves off any burnout. Patients do better, and the doctors are better.”
In addition to its own physician offices and hospitals, the company provides care in clinics, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities, and long-term care acute hospitals.
The company’s clinicians monitor patients to determine when they become eligible for hospice or palliative care, Bhatia said. First Docs partners with those providers to ensure continuity of care in collaboration with hospice medical directors.
“I’m a big believer in hospice and palliative care. We make sure we are associated with high-quality hospices,” Bhatia said. “We have advance care planning discussions, and the end-of-life discussions and treatment limitations, and we make sure we foster the appropriate treatments that go with it.”
Though the company did not disclose the names of providers they are working with, Bhatia told Hospice News that their hospice partners include some large, nationwide companies as well as smaller, community-based providers.
First Docs also works with home health providers in nearly every county they serve and sees home-based care as a “big growth sector,” according to Bhatia.
“That’s really the importance of where hospice and palliative care come in. It’s also through a telemedicine model and harnessing some of the technology that’s available now,” he said. “There’s a lot of care available in the home, and we’re involved with remote patient monitoring, which is we’re trying to introduce that at the [skilled nursing and assisted living] levels as well. I think that’ll certainly help us in the home setting.”
Prior to the Webster transaction, First Docs predominately operated in eastern Pennsylvania and central New Jersey regions. Now, the company will rapidly expand into new markets, beginning this quarter of the year, according to Bhatia.
Initially, the company will focus on moving into Rhode Island, upstate New York, Connecticut, the Carolinas, and Tennessee. The investment will also support the development of an in-house predictive analytics platform designed to match patients to the right services based on their identified needs, Bhatia told Hospice News.
Webster Equity Partners focuses its investments on the health care space, in the $20 million to $200 million range. The firm’s portfolio companies include Bristol Hospice.
The business research firm Pitchbook placed Webster second on its list of the top private equity investors in the senior and disability care space, tied with Audux Group. Chicago-based Vistria Group, which owns hospice provider Mission Healthcare, took the top spot.
“I’m thrilled about the partnership, which enables us to further expand on a national level,” Bhatia said. “An expanded footprint means we’ll be able to positively impact and serve more patients across the continuum of care, thereby advancing our mission of providing high-quality internal medicine across a variety of health care settings.”