New York City-based startup Diana Health announced a $34 million Series B funding round on Thursday. The company, founded in 2020, partners with hospitals to operate a network of maternity practices in local communities.
The Series B round, which was led by Norwest Venture Partners, brings Diana’s total funding to date to $46 million.
The startup is named after Diana, the Roman goddess of childbirth who symbolizes female strength and power, as well as serves as the protector of all women. Women giving birth in the U.S. sorely need the protection, declared Diana CEO Kate Condliffe in an interview.
“Women’s health broadly — and maternity care in particular — has really reached a crisis point in this country. It’s not serving women or their families — you can see that in a range of outcome stats,” she said.
For instance, women giving birth in the U.S. are two to three times more likely to die during childbirth than they are in any other developed country. Additionally, a recent CDC report showed that 20% of women felt mistreated by their maternity care provider, and nearly half held themselves back from asking questions or sharing concerns during their maternity care.
Condliffe noted that hospitals typically take a loss on their labor and delivery department — more than 400 hospitals shut down their labor and delivery businesses from 2016 to 2020. She also pointed out that the country’s shortage of obstetricians and gynecologists is expected to reach 22,000 by 2050.
“We’re at a crisis point that is set up to get worse. Our fundamental belief is that the reason for this is that the current delivery model makes it really difficult to deliver the kind of evidence-based care that we all know works — which is individualized, comprehensive care,” Condliffe stated.
Diana partners directly with hospitals to assist them in delivering this type of care by restructuring their existing staffing models and creating new clinical programming. In other words, the startup takes over a hospital’s existing labor and delivery division and gives it a makeover so that it can deliver a much fuller scope of care, Condliffe explained.
The company currently operates three women’s health practices in Tennessee — one in partnership with HCA TriStar StoneCrest Medical Center, one with HCA TriStar NorthCrest Medical Center and one with Cookeville Regional Medical Center.
With each practice it builds, Diana is creating a network of personalized care-driven maternity practices that operate within the traditional healthcare system, Condliffe said. When receiving care at these practices, patients pay with their insurance the same way they would at a hospital. Diana’s business model is two-pronged — the startup receives money from payers for the care it delivers, and it is also paid by hospitals for the labor and services it provides to them.
The collaborative care teams at Diana’s practices include people employed by both the startup and the hospital. Typically, the hospital provides OB/GYNs and advanced nurse practitioners, and Diana provides the rest of the care team — which includes certified nurse midwives, mental health providers and dieticians, Condliffe explained. Patients can be seen at a Diana practice or via telehealth.
“We provide health education classes and counseling as part of our core clinical program. We’re really trying to show women that this isn’t a clinical event — it’s a transformative time in their life,” she declared.
With its new funds, Diana will expand into new communities within Tennessee, as well as open three new sites in Florida in the next six months. The startup is also planning to open practices in another state, but Condliffe declined to say where.
Diana is certainly not the only startup working to improve women’s health. For instance, Tia is also building a network of women’s health practices, and Iron Health also partners with obstetricians and gynecologists to connect their patients with mental health providers and specialists.
“There are some companies that are building their own clinical practices, there are a set of companies that are offering digital services, and there are a set of companies that are serving the intrapartum part only and doing hospitalist work. We work at the intersection of all of those, and we are working directly with hospitals so that we can reach a communitywide impact at scale and help them address some of the core staffing and financial challenges that make it difficult for hospitals to grow and sustain programs,” Condliffe said.
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