CityBlock Provides Much-Needed Source Of Optimism Amidst Health Crisis

Brooklyn-based CityBlock provides primary care, behavioral health, and social services to underserved communities across New York City, Connecticut, and later this year, North Carolina. With the knowledge that regular, preventative care can fend off severe health problems down the road, the startup seeks to connect low-income demographics to more affordable and accessible care.

Only about 2 years old, the healthcare company raked in $65 million in Series B funding in April, with an added $53.5 million in a mid-July Series B extension. They plan on using the money to beef up their tech offerings and expand their clinical programs. Currently, their tech includes ways for care workers to remain updated on patients’ health, including being able to track treatment progress and hospital admissions in real-time. At its core, however, their platform is all about getting patients the care they need before they wind up in the hospital.

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“People end up going to the ER when problems are really bad, for conditions that can be managed,” said newly appointed CityBlock board member Elliot Geidt. “There are 75 million people on Medicaid alone and a good portion of these people are living in the inner cities…The big problem with this population is the existing healthcare system doesn’t work for them, it falls short on so many levels.”

Underserved communities, like those existing in inner cities, historically experience a much greater disparity in healthcare. Black women, for instance, are 12 times more likely than white women to die from complications during pregnancy. CityBlock hopes to facilitate access to healthcare not only via virtual appointments, but also with access to support groups, and even help patients with transportation to their clinics – whatever it takes to get people the care they deserve.

CityBlock’s virtual healthcare visits increased by a massive 2,000% between March and June, thanks to mandatory shelter-at-home orders throughout the New York metropolitan area. While this technology is an important part of CityBlock’s services, the startup isn’t limiting itself to telehealth. Following their core mission of bringing healthcare to everyone who needs it, they also have a strong base of paramedics and physicians who can make house calls for those who cannot make it out to the clinic.