- Concierge primary care startup Tia is partnering with nonprofit health system CommonSpirit to build a series of women’s health clinics connecting inpatient and outpatient care.
- The Tia-branded clinics will provide multiple services with the goal of creating a one-stop shop for women’s health, including primary and gynecological care. Four-year-old Tia will provide the care model, staffing and tech infrastructure while CommonSpirit will connect the clinics to patients, health plans and hospital and specialty care access.
- The initial pilot will launch virtual-first in the spring, followed by the first brick-and-mortar clinic in Phoenix this October, with planned expansions in Arizona and other CommonSpirit markets over the next few years. Financial terms of the deal — Tia’s first major partnership with a national hospital chain — were not disclosed.
CommonSpirit is the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S., with 139 hospitals and more than 1,000 care sites across 21 states. The system’s size made it an ideal partner in expanding Tia’s care model more broadly in the U.S., Tia CEO and co-founder Carolyn Witte said in a Monday statement on the partnership.
Tia was founded in 2017 as a text-based tool for women to chat about health and get advice on sex and wellness, track data on their period and birth control and more. Now, the New York City-based startup offers a full-service women’s health platform, including launching telehealth services in March to capitalize on pandemic demand for digitally delivered care.
Tia offers regular primary care checkups and annual gynecological exams, along with mental health services, nutrition counseling and acupuncture. It has an integrated care coordination platform to track members’ health, and that care continuity will extend to hospital and specialty care through the new partnership with CommonSpirit, the two companies said.
Despite the fact that women control more than 80% of healthcare decision-making, women’s health has been chronically underfunded in the U.S. That changed in recent years, as investor interest in the previously niche area has picked up, resulting in the market expanding to offer a wider range of products and services.
Like its peers, Tia has benefited from growing interest. Tia closed a $23.4 million funding round in May, which it plans to use to open more clinics beyond its current locations in New York City and Los Angeles and expand its services into pregnancy care and obstetrics.
Tia has a similar business model as other primary care startups like One Medical. The company takes insurance for specific services, but charges a $150 annual membership fee for access to same-day appointments and a care coordinator, among other perks.
Major hospital systems have been turning to tech-savvy partners in a bid to retain patients as consumers increasingly look to receive care outside of the expensive inpatient setting.
But linking with CommonSpirit is an interesting choice for Tia, as the Catholic health system abides by certain religious rules that could put up guardrails on future services the women’s health startup might want to offer.
As a Catholic-affiliated system, CommonSpirit, formed in February 2019 by the merger of Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health, follows a series of “ethical and religious” directives restricting access to services, counseling and referrals — including for procedures such as elective abortions, surgical contraception, in vitro fertilization, gender confirmation surgery or end-of-life care such as physician-assisted suicide.
The directives have caused trouble for CommonSpirit in the past. In 2019, University of California San Francisco ended its pursuit of an expanded affiliation with Dignity Health, citing community and staff pushback against a closer relationship with a system that has restricted women’s reproductive options and care for LGBT people.
Tia doesn’t currently provide abortion or fertility services. A representative told Healthcare Dive the partnership wouldn’t restrict access to Tia’s current or future services in any way.
“Tia is always committed to choice, and Tia providers will discuss all referral options with patients — inclusive of clinical expertise and religious affiliation — giving them the ability to make an informed choice about the right specialist or hospital that meets their needs and preferences in line with their legal rights,” the spokesperson said.