- Rural healthcare startup Homeward Health has appointed Brent Layton, Centene’s former president and chief operating officer, to its board of directors. The longtime Centene executive, who currently serves as a senior adviser to the CEO, plans to retire from the payer later this year.
- Layton’s experience scaling Centene’s business could help Homeward as it looks to grow and transform its rural healthcare services, which incorporate in-home visits, community-based care and technology-enabled clinical services. During Layton’s time with Centene, the company grew from serving approximately 300,000 Medicaid members to more than 28 million people as the nation’s largest Medicaid managed care company, according to a press release.
- In addition to bringing expertise in Medicare, Medicaid and the health insurance marketplace, Layton has over three decades of experience working in healthcare and public policy.
Homeward focuses on solving rural healthcare access issues and currently delivers care to Medicare-eligible beneficiaries, including through partnerships with Medicaid Advantage plans, to residents in Michigan and Minnesota.
Rural healthcare access has been strained by the closure of hospital and brick-and-mortar healthcare facilities. To increase healthcare access, Homeward sends care providers to rural homes and deploys mobile clinician units. Last year, the company announced a partnership with Rite Aid in Michigan allowing Homeward to park its mobile clinician units at the retail pharmacy chain’s rural locations.
“I believe that healthcare access in rural America is one of the nation’s most prominent challenges today, and it’s clear that we cannot solve the problem using traditional care models or simply by building more brick-and-mortar clinics within rural communities,” Jennifer Schneider, co-founder and CEO of Homeward, said in a statement.
Layton’s board appointment and experience in managed care should help Homeward as it looks to scale its business, according to Schneider.
The Centene executive played a role in scaling Centene’s Medicaid and marketplace business, including through subsidiaries Ambetter and WellCare.
Homeward recently announced a new value-based collaboration with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota to provide coverage in 24 Minnesota counties, with plans to expand to additional counties.
The company scored $50 million in Series B funding in August last year. Its investors include General Catalyst, ARCH Venture Partners and Human Capital.
Last year HHS announced it would invest $60 million through the Health Resources and Services Administration to boost healthcare workforces in rural communities. The initiative entailed job development, training and placement programs for roles such as dental hygienists, medical assistants and doulas.