Medicare Advantage organization SCAN Group has invested an undisclosed dollar amount in tech-enabled hospice startup Guaranteed.
The move comes nearly a year after California-based Guaranteed launched in August 2022, when founder and CEO Jessica McGlory began her own provider company two years after her father passed away.
SCAN Group, parent company of SCAN Health Plan, is the latest investor in the hospice company. Guaranteed gained traction last year after the company secured a $6.5 million infusion of capital in a seed round led by the investment firm BrandProject. Precursor Ventures, Springbank Ventures, Lakehouse Ventures and Cake Ventures also participated in the round.
The decision to join forces with SCAN Group marks a strategic step forward in Guaranteed’s goals of expanding end-of-life care delivery among vulnerable underserved aging adults, according to McGlory.
“As a Black female solo founder, I have been thoughtful and intentional in choosing strategic partners for Guaranteed,” McGlory said in an announcement. “We are thrilled to count SCAN as a partner that is aligned with our goal of providing the best possible care to all older adults, including those who are vulnerable or who have traditionally been left of the care system.”
Guaranteed currently serves Medicare and Medicaid patients across five counties in southern California, including the Los Angeles region. The hospice provider has plans on the horizon to extend its geographic reach in the state as well as in Pennsylvania.
Guaranteed’s technology platform connects patients and family members to palliative and hospice nurses, social workers, spiritual coordinators and other interdisciplinary staff. The platform also connects patients to in-person end-of-life care services.
The company is taking a more modern approach to meeting the evolving needs of serious and terminally ill patients and families. Value-based care has been among the growth levers of this approach, according to McGlory.
“As we expand, we look to see what the additional sorts of services [are] that we can be able to provide,” McGlory told Hospice News at the ELEVATE conference in Chicago. “Our focus as we get bigger and bigger, and as we take on more value-based opportunities, is to really say we’re happy to take on that different risk, because we believe we’ll be able to evaluate many different patients, family members or staffing opportunities that could come in with our technology as it learns over time. It hasn’t really been done much in this space, so we can be the guinea pigs for everyone. Let’s build the best hospice path that is specific to the patient as possible.”
Guaranteed’s care delivery approach and aims towards improving more inclusive and personalized experiences was a main pull that attracted SCAN Group’s investment, according to Deepa Sheth, the organization’s chief corporate development officer.
“We are committed to supporting Guaranteed’s work to provide an inclusive and personalized end-of-life experience for all,” Sheth said in the announcement. “When a loved one comes to the end of their life and enters hospice, the emotion, grief and responsibilities can be very overwhelming. Guaranteed provides individuals, their families, and caregivers the dignified support and hospice services they need in a way that is tailored for them.”
The investment in the Guaranteed is part of the California-based nonprofit organization’s strategic plans to identify and address unmet needs among aging adults through service diversification, Dr. Sachin Jain, president and CEO of SCAN Group and SCAN Health Plan, previously told Hospice News.
SCAN Group has made a handful other strategic investments to support minority-owned, mission-aligned health care organizations. These have included health care logistics and service platform provider MedArrive, kidney care management company Monogram Health, AI-enabled fall management technology SafelyYou and non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) broker SafeRide Health, among others.
Its Medicare Advantage plan, SCAN Health Plan, is among the largest payers in the space, serving more than 285,000 beneficiaries in Arizona, California, Nevada and Texas.
Investing in Guaranteed is “just the beginning” of SCAN Group’s expanding journey into hospice, Kevin Kappel, vice president of corporate development, told Hospice News.
The organization took its first steps into the value-based insurance design (VBID) demonstration in January of this year, and it is now looking for ways to expand through the hospice component of the model, Kappel said.
The strategic partnership with Guaranteed will allow SCAN Group to better reach and support underserved patients and families in need while also helping with seamless care transitions to end-of-life and serious illness care services further upstream, including palliative and hospice, he stated.
“In the end-of-life care space, we’re constantly looking at opportunities to strengthen that ecosystem and add additional components to it,” Kappel told Hospice News. “I would expect that end-of-life continues to be a hot topic for us moving forward. [With Guaranteed], the vision that they have in particular of creating this tech platform that engages the family. Hospice and palliative medicines are disciplines where the patient and family are a unit of care. And that’s really what the tech enablement is focused on, is enabling those that are by the bedside of the patient to have a better experience. That vision was really attractive to us.”