Primary Care at Medicare Rates: One Startup’s Recipe for Expansion

Primary Care at Medicare Rates: One Startup’s Recipe for Expansion. Carbon Health logo on a building.Carbon Health, a San Francisco-based startup founded in 2015, has a simple but audacious goal: to become the largest provider of primary care services in the U.S. Whether it ever approaches that goal, there’s no question that the omnichannel provider is attracting investors’ attention with its unusual model.

With a valuation of more than $3.3 billion, Carbon Health recently closed a $350 million investment round led by Blackstone’s Horizon platform. The company says it will use the money to buy new technology to differentiate and expand its services.

Deploying an iPad-based, streamlined electronic health record (EHR) and offering in-person care through 80 clinics in 12 states and virtual care in 23 states, Carbon Health charges Medicare rates to all payers. Part of its approach is an intuitive EHR built in concert with physicians and patients that the company says requires minimal training. Its platform also uses machine learning to identify most likely diagnoses, provides in-app messaging to get second opinions and integrates with electronic prescribing and labs.

In the past year, Carbon Health has treated more than 1 million patients, a 129% increase (excluding patients seen for COVID-19 testing or vaccinations). During the pandemic, the company’s staff doubled from 800 to 1,600 full-time employees. Its future plans call for operating 1,500 clinics by 2025.

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