Hospice News Editor Jim Parker also contributed to this story.
Philadelphia-based First Docs — a physician-led internal medicine practice — is poised for multi-state expansion after securing private equity backing from Webster Equity Partners.
The investment is particularly notable given the type of healthcare providers First Docs currently works with, including hospices, palliative care, and home health care. Financial terms of Webster’s investment were not disclosed.
The organization, founded in 2010 by CEO Dr. Sanjay Bhatia alone also provides primary care, hospital-based services, case management and surgical co-management through its proprietary 360 Community Medicine Care Model.
“The 360 Community Medicine model, I think, describes a sector of internal medicine that can be practiced in any community in the country, where you take all comers regardless of insurance, so we also open channels to the underserved immediately,” Bhatia said Sister site of Home Health Care News Hospice News. “The best athletes do cross training, same here with doctors. We believe that our doctors’ cross-training will make you a very resilient doctor and prevent burnout. Patients are better and doctors are better.”
In addition to its own medical practices and hospitals, the company offers care in clinics, facilities for assisted living and specialist care as well as in acute hospitals for long-term care.
The company’s clinicians monitor patients to determine when they are eligible for home nursing, hospice or palliative care, Bhatia said. First Docs works with these providers to ensure continuity of care in collaboration with medical directors.
“There are a number of home health care facilities in every community,” Bhatia said. “So, of course, the choice of the patient comes first. We respect patient choice and local partnerships as long as it is a home care facility that communicates directly with us. That’s why we have a 24-hour answering service where you can speak to a doctor at any time. We make sure they are agencies that are comfortable with this type of oversight.”
Although the company didn’t reveal the names of the providers it works with, Bhatia told Hospice News that its partners include some large, nationwide companies as well as smaller, community-based providers.
First Docs sees home health care as a “huge growth sector,” Bhatia said.
“There’s a lot of home care and we’re involved in remote monitoring of patients, so that means we’re trying to roll that out as part of the hospital [skilled nursing and assisted living] levels too,” he said. “I think that will certainly help us in the home environment.”
Prior to the Webster transaction, First Docs operated primarily in the eastern Pennsylvania and central New Jersey regions. Now, according to Bhatia, the company will rapidly expand into new markets starting this quarter of the year.
Initially, the company is focused on moving to Rhode Island, upstate New York, Connecticut, the Carolinas and Tennessee. The investment will also support the development of an internal predictive analytics platform designed to match patients to the right services based on their identified needs, Bhatia said.
Webster Equity Partners focuses its investments in healthcare in the $20 million to $200 million range. The Company’s portfolio companies include Bristol Hospice and home care company Comfort Keepers.
Economic research firm Pitchbook ranked Webster second on its list of top private equity investors in elder and disability care, tied with Audux Group. Chicago-based Vistria Group, which owns a variety of home care organizations, took first place.
“I am excited about the partnership which will allow us to continue to expand nationally,” said Bhatia. “An expanded footprint means we will be able to positively impact and serve more patients across the continuum of care, advancing our mission to provide quality internal medicine in a variety of healthcare settings.”