Meet the Local Company Aiming to Improve Primary Health Care for Folks 65 and Older

Headquartered in Bala Cynwyd, Patina Health serves patients living across the Philadelphia region with both in-home and virtual doctor visits.

Patina Health, a Bala Cynwyd-based healthcare company, offers on-demand virtual and in-home primary care for patients 65 and older. / Photograph courtesy of Getty Images.

Every day in the United States, more than 10,000 people turn 65 years old. Research has shown, though, that with that number often comes high out-of-pocket costs and other barriers to care, as well as worse health outcomes compared to older adults in other developed countries.

These are some of the reasons that led longtime healthcare maven Jack Stoddard to form Patina Health. The Bala Cynwyd-based company aims to reinvent primary care and how it’s delivered to older adults through a model that is personalized, convenient and accommodating, as opposed to the current model that can often be “frustrating, fragmented, and reactive” for this particular community, according to Stoddard, who serves as the company’s CEO.

How is Patina Health doing it? Each patient is supported by their own care team, made up of a primary care doctor and a Patina “health champion” who gets to know the patient’s unique physical and behavioral health needs, helps overcome barriers to care that might exist, and coordinates visits with specialists. Additionally, with the patient’s permission, caregivers and trusted others are brought into the care model in order to strengthen the network of support.

Also at the core of the company’s mission is making primary care as accessible as possible. “When you’re not feeling well, the idea of having to leave your house, get in your car, drive to the doctor, park, and wait in a waiting room before even being seen seems to me like a Blockbuster store experience of the 1990s,” Stoddard told me during a phone interview. “With technology and the ability to leverage a smartphone app and video, Patina Health can see patients immediately. We recognize that sometimes, people need eyes-on, hands-on care, so we also send clinicians to patients’ homes, allowing us to create a highly available experience that is much more similar to current customer services like on-demand television, food delivery, and mobile banking.”

In a way, Patina Health is reverting to how primary care was originally delivered — via black-bag-carrying physicians who made house calls — just with the 24/7 virtual option, too. The hybrid model not only puts patients at the center, Stoddard says, but helps enhance the care being delivered because the physician and health champion can see and contextualize the patient’s lived environment in real time: “The care team is able to get the full picture of the patient — like knowing if the patient is food secure or what their physical living situation is like — which allows for our clinicians and health champions to better tailor the patient’s care plan and anticipate unique health needs.”

Patina Health launched as a startup in July of 2020, and raised funds and gathered community feedback to refine its care model for a year and a half. Patina Health then secured a partnership with Independence Blue Cross in February of this year, making the local company part of Independence Blue Cross’s provider network. This means Independence Medicare Advantage members participating in Independence Keystone 65 HMO or Personal Choice 65 PPO plans will have Patina Health’s services available to them.

Currently, Patina Health serves all five of the southeastern Pennsylvania counties (Philadelphia, Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery and Chester), and is working toward national reach in the near future.