Lifespark is acquiring in-home health company Livio Health in a move that will both link it to insurer Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and further its value-based care strategy.
With the deal, St. Louis Park, Minnesota-based Lifespark is gaining Livio as a new home health company as well as 1,500 patients and a new connection to Blue Cross of Minnesota, which is the largest non-profit insurer provider in the state.
In turn, Blue Cross’ parent company is investing in Lifespark as a minority owner.
“We want to deliver the best care to people that we can, and have them access it in a way that’s easy for them to use,” Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Chief Medical Officer Mark Steffen told Senior Housing News.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. That transaction is expected to be completed in the coming months.
Lifespark has 37 assisted living buildings in its senior housing portfolio, mostly acquired from Tealwood Senior Living in a 2021 transaction. The company’s senior living model is designed to meet residents where they are while making senior living a less fragmented part of the care continuum and leveraging Medicare Advantage plans and other insurance products.
Lifespark last year raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Minnesota-based Medicare Advantage plan provider UCare and Virgo Investment Group.
Livio Health has been the care delivery arm for Blue Cross of Minnesota since 2016. In the time since, it has grown to include 100 employees – ranging from doctors and nurse practitioners to social workers and support staff – who deliver home-based primary care, urgent care, and palliative care services.
Lifespark Founder Joel Theisen said the acquisition is not only aimed at serving more older adults in Minnesota, but also a “transformational” step in how older adults access care. Through the transaction, both companies are gaining new pieces of the population health puzzle.
“Livio was doing some really meaningful services, including some things that Lifespark wasn’t doing; and then there were a lot of things Lifespark was doing that Livio wasn’t doing,” Theisen told Senior Housing News.
For instance, Livio operated in rural Minnesota, which was a market that Lifespark had wanted to grow in. Also through the deal, Blue Cross members will now have access to Lifespark’s care delivery model, Complete, along with other services.
“It gave us an opportunity to take the experience and the maturity of Livio’s architecture and now … do that not only with the Blue Cross plans, but all the sites we’re serving,” Theisen said.
Theisen added that the acquisition is furthering the company’s overall vision for transforming senior living in the future. With Livio and Blue Cross in tow, he sees the capability to serve many residents in a much more holistic way.
For example, if a resident falls in the community, it is often standard procedure to take them to the emergency room. But many of those visits are ultimately unnecessary, and can lead to bad outcomes and a big hospital bill for residents or their families, Theisen said.
By accessing care through health plans such as the ones Blue Cross offers, Lifespark residents can receive services including guidance, geriatric medical expertise, and life management services.
Lifespark is not the only company interested in that transformation. Across the industry, more operators are more closely integrating with the U.S. health care system while tapping into new payment streams.
“The opportunity for us to deliver all these assets around a community or inside a residential home is real,” Theisen added. “This is really a transformation.”