Strive Health Doubles Its Footprint in Innovative Medicare Payment Model, Surpasses $2.5 Billion of Medical Spend Under Management

The United States currently spends $420 billion annually on patients with kidney disease, and 24% of Medicare spending is on patients with kidney disease

Strive Health, the national leader in value-based kidney care, doubled its footprint year over year in Medicare’s innovative payment model for people with kidney disease. Growth in Medicare’s Comprehensive Kidney Care Contracting (CKCC) model led to Strive’s management of over 73,000 chronic kidney disease patients to date through partnerships with nephrologists and direct care arrangements — and management of over $2.5 billion of medical spend.

“CKCC places nephrologists in the center of the care model and incentivizes providers to delay the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure,” said Chris Riopelle, CEO and co-founder of Strive Health. “Strive is partnered with over 500 nephrology providers across 10 states to participate in the model.”

CKCC, which launched in 2022, is a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) payment model that is designed to reduce Medicare expenditures while preserving or enhancing the quality of care provided to beneficiaries with late-stage chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage kidney disease (ESKD). CKCC rewards nephrologists for improving long-term outcomes and reducing the cost of care.

The United States currently spends $420 billion annually on patients with kidney disease, and 24% of Medicare spending is on patients with kidney disease. CKCC equips nephrologists with incentives to holistically manage patient care, with a particularly meaningful impact felt for patients in vulnerable communities.

To participate in the CKCC model, Strive Health, and its nephrology partners formed Kidney Contracting Entities (KCEs), which take responsibility for the total cost and quality of care for their patients and, in exchange, receive a portion of the Medicare savings they achieve. Strive manages the entities and provides nephrologists with a unique set of resources designed to help ensure their success in the model.

Strive spent several years developing capabilities that were then customized for each partnering nephrology practice during an in-depth, six-month implementation process. Participating nephrologists continue to lead clinical decision-making while Strive provides access to data and technology resources, administrative support, management expertise, and an interdisciplinary clinical care team that includes care coordinators, nurse practitioners, dietitians, and licensed clinical social workers. The team serves as an extension of the nephrologist’s office and helps manage comorbidities that can impact a patient’s overall health.

These providers — known as Kidney Heroes — use Strive’s proprietary technology platform, which gathers data from a multitude of sources to gain a holistic view of the patient’s data profile. That information can help paint a picture about the risk of hospitalization or progression of disease, helping nephrologists direct data-driven workflows that better manage care to each individual’s needs. For patients, this is a seamless part of their nephrology care experience.

“We evaluated several potential partners and selected Strive because we think its model is the most patient- and provider-centric, led by a team of highly professional and experienced individuals,” said Dr. Tony Samaha, a nephrologist and managing partner with The Kidney Hypertension Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, which includes 32 nephrologists. “Strive’s technology and care extender teams enable our practice to carry out more timely and more targeted care for our patients, which improves outcomes and enhances the patient experience.”

Strive’s innovative approach to value-based kidney care has yielded strong results, with a 20% reduction in the total cost of care, 42% reduction in hospital admits, 86% improvement in optimal starts of renal replacement therapy, and greater than 90% patient satisfaction.

“We believe that nephrologist-led programs greatly outperform others when it comes to value-based kidney care models,” said Ben Kuhn, Senior Vice President of Provider Partnerships and Growth at Strive Health. “We applaud Medicare for putting nephrologists in the driver’s seat. Kidney care delivery is evolving — we are already seeing Medicare Advantage plans pay close attention to CKCC and launch similarly structured payment models.”

Strive operates KCEs in Texas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. The company is also working with nephrologists to manage risk through Medicare Advantage payors and actively launching new kidney care arrangements with commercial payers, health systems, and medical groups.

Strive recently announced exclusive, 10-year partnerships with Orange County’s largest nephrology group, Southern California Kidney Consultants, and the nation’s largest nephrology group, Nephrology Associates of Northern Illinois and Indiana. In January, Strive also announced a partnership with Trinity Health, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit Catholic health systems.