Signify Health CEO chats acquisition by CVS Health, next partnerships

Signify Health CEO chats acquisition by CVS Health, next partnerships

In March, CVS Health completed its $8 billion acquisition of the home health provider Signify Health. Signify Health CEO Kyle Armbrester joins Modern Healthcare to discuss the deal, what’s changed since then and how the organization plans to partner with other companies in the future.

In 2022, Amazon, UnitedHealth Group and Option Care Health were reportedly interested in buying Signify before CVS Health announced plans to acquire it in September. What did this signal to you about the future of home-based care?

We had a lot of interest, and the message is clear: For too long, we’ve trapped ourselves in a facility-centric mindset with how we deliver healthcare. Facilities have a critical role in healthcare delivery, but the home was ignored. 

Back in the 1950s, doctors used to go to homes all the time. We kind of forgot about that as consolidation happened and the industry changed. We’re reinvigorating that model by doing that with a backpack, an iPad and other devices. 

A big part of what I want to do is spread our home-based service to as many people as possible. If we can leverage CVS’ brand and tie this together, we’ll improve more people’s lives.

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What has changed for Signify Health since CVS Health completed its acquisition in March?

I would say that CEO Karen Lynch and the whole management team at CVS have been hyper-focused on keeping us as an independent business and making sure that we take a multi-payer mindset. While Aetna is a nice testbed for us to do things, we still operate at arm’s length from them. CVS also gave us a seat at the table.

How does Signify Health aim to work with Chicago-based primary care provider Oak Street Health, which CVS Health acquired in May?

We’ve been a partner of Oak Street for years, so there are a lot of natural synergies with us and them. We’ve done in-home visits for Oak Street members, and we’ll continue that.

One of our biggest issues when we go into a home is many of these individuals don’t know who their primary care doctor is, or they don’t have a primary care doctor. We want to get that individual put into Oak Street or another primary care group to make sure that they’re getting routine care from a primary care physician.

What has Signify Health brought to CVS Health in the transaction?

It was a platform acquisition. We’re giving them access to almost 3 million homes that we’re in today.

We are one of the largest accountable care organization enablement companies in the country, via our Caravan Health acquisition. We have about 750,000 lives that we’re in full-risk contracts for. It’s not per-member per-month. It’s a shared savings model. That gives CVS another touch point to start to build out management services organization-like capabilities.

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We are a technology-oriented company at our core, so we’re bringing technology, scale, automation, data science and additional resources on that front, which is already a big investment area for CVS.

Does Signify Health have plans to expand its operations or partner with other healthcare organizations going forward?

Absolutely. We’re looking with the CVS team at merger and acquisition targets. There’s nothing imminent, but we’re always looking for other ways to expand our strategy and platform. 

We also have a big partnership hub, and we work with a lot of device companies to bring diagnostics into the home. We’re looking at other organizations that can better connect us with our members or that can help bring

members to Signify.

Finally, we’re spending a lot of time sitting down with our customers — the health plans and health systems — and listening to their needs. They’re asking us to get into more homes and to see more members or patients in the ACO program, and they’re wanting us to expand our services too. We’re not going to be able to build all that ourselves.

Where do you hope to take Signify Health from here?

We want to get into more folks’ homes, and I want to do more inside those homes, such as more diagnostic testing, linking seniors to a primary care physician, and getting them to reengage with a specialist if needed.

I also want to continue to expand our ACO services. We want to sell into more hospitals and health systems. We want to do more for those folks, which could mean getting into hospice and palliative care or thinking about advanced directives, so other things that are going to help drive better patient engagement and outcomes.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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