With one in 54 children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in the U.S., the issue of how to treat patients diagnosed with the condition has become almost as acute as the prevalence of the condition itself.
That’s one reason why Jia Jia Ye and the team at the healthcare startup studio Redesign Health were able to raise $18 million in a recent round of funding for the new startup, Springtide Child Development.*
A longtime executive in the healthcare industry with previous stints at OneMedical and Oscar, Ye and Redesign Health’s team began talking two years ago about potential business ideas. The group settled on autism care because of what they saw as the clear need in the market, Ye said.
“Why this immediately clicked is that the supply and demand imbalance was super clear,” Ye said.
Simply put, Springtide combines the concierge medical business model with early childcare and education businesses like Sylvan Learning to offer autism care through specialists and a team of registered behavioral technicians.
To ensure that as many people as possible can use Springtide’s services the company takes both private insurance and Medicaid.
So far, the company has one clinic set up in Connecticut providing both remote and in-person services, and it plans to launch several sites throughout the Northeast on the back of its $15.6 million in financing.
Joining Ye in designing the company’s facilities and treatment services is Dr. Tiva Pierce, who previously worked at Constellation Health Services, which provides behavioral and physical healthcare through schools.
Like many companies that had an in-person services model, Springtide had to pivot to delivering remote care as soon as the pandemic lockdowns hit the Northeast.
The company charges Medicaid $46 per hour and commercial payers will be charged between $50 and $60 per hour, but the company’s services will only cost families their typical co-pay and deductible.
Taking Medicaid was a priority, Ye said, to increase access for more people who need it.
Already, families in the U.S. spend about $17 billion on ABA therapy, according to Ye. And the overall spending on autism-related issues is $68 billion, she said.
The financing, which came from Deerfield Management and Optum Ventures, will be used to expand the company’s footprint and staff, which currently numbers roughly 30 employees.
“The rapidly growing autism care market is highly fragmented and uncoordinated, which creates significant challenges for children and their families who deserve to have access to care that is consistently of exceptional quality,” said Julian Harris, MD, partner at Deerfield. “Springtide offers an interdisciplinary, in-center care experience with a tech-enabled wrap-around for families who want their children to get all of their care in one setting. With an emphasis on outcomes measurement, we hope that Springtide can serve as a platform for care and research, ultimately establishing the gold standard in this field.”
*This story was updated to indicate that Springtide had closed on $18 million not the $15.6 million originally reported in information provided by the company.