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HomeZaya Care Bets The US Can Improve Maternal Care. They’re Right!

Zaya Care Bets The US Can Improve Maternal Care. They’re Right!

The founder of a women’s health network sees the European maternal care model as being beneficial if introduced and adopted in the United States. Leoni Runge, the CEO of Zaya Care, was raised in Germany where her sister is an OB/GYN. Runge got a first-hand look at how the medical system in that part of the world wraps around the entire pregnancy experience from conception to postpartum care. Because European maternal outcomes are greater than those recorded in the US, Runge believes that a shift in focus in the States will improve those figures.

The Issues For Today’s New Mother

Probably the biggest issue facing expectant and new mothers in the United States, according to Runge, is that care from the gynecologist typically comes to an end once the mother has given birth and leaves the hospital to care for their baby at home. Considering that most of the care at this point should come from other specialists during the postpartum period, it would require the cooperation of various specialists. This could include acupuncturists, pelvic floor therapists, postpartum mental healthcare providers, and many more. However, there is a major hurdle.

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As great an idea as it is to have a team of specialists that can assist with postpartum care, many of them are not covered by insurance providers. This created a hurdle. Plus, those that are covered are in short supply with a demand that stretches resources to dangerous limits. On the other side of the coin is the high cost of those specialists that are not covered by insurance providers. It makes sense that many specialists have their own small practice in operation, but working with insurance providers creates a costly administrative burden that is not always sufficiently covered by the reimbursement amounts. Thus, becoming less attractive to participate.

What Zaya Is Trying To Do

Zaya is currently working directly with many specialists and has been in negoiation on their behalf with insurance providers. The hope is that by taking on the administrative side of the equation, Zaya may get the service providers involved in better reimbursements making it more attractive to join insurance programs. This would therefore lighten the financial burden on patients faced with postpartum care by providing access to more insured specialists. Zaya is achieving this through the implementation of its free healthcare platform.

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The Zaya platform has bridged the gap between specialists and new mothers requiring postpartum care. According to Runge, “Today, specialists who provide wraparound care and support for the maternity journey are hard to find, typically cannot accept insurance, or are not big enough to support additional clients. With Zaya, we will make it simpler for both the practitioners and parents to find one another, and bring to life our vision of a holistic maternity journey.” She adds, “By creating a link between parents and these practitioners, we are allowing for convenient access to specialized services, beyond OB-GYN care, and are incredibly proud of what we’ve built.”

Zaya is currently partnered with Aetna, Emblem Health, and United Healthcare and is working to attract several more insurance providers onto the platform. There are fifty providers visible and accessible to patients on the Zaya platform. There are over 500 more on a waiting list. The providers don’t just apply and automatically get added as they accept the partnered insurance providers. Practitioners must be vetted first by Zaya before they are accepted and added to the platform. The criteria used are unknown at this time but show that the process is specific and carefully executed.

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What’s Next

Zaya is currently only available in New York. However, expansion plans are in place. The goal for 2022 is to quadruple the network of specialist providers and expand into additional markets. Those new markets are not publicly known but chances are that this platform will eventually blanket the United States.

At this point, Zaya Care provides clients with the means to locate an in-network maternal health specialist. The platform allows for easy appointment requests. The best thing about the program is that it meets parents where they are joining them together with practitioners that offer home visits, video visits, and office visits covered by major insurers.

About Zaya

Zaya was founded in 2020 with the primary goal of providing care from preconception to postpartum. The company raised an undisclosed amount of capital through institutional and private investors who believe in the project. The list of investors includes several notable healthcare veterans such as Andrew Adams, the founder of Headway, and Toyin Ajayi, founder of Cityblock Health.

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Final Thoughts

Can a small company that has developed a platform with limited reach change maternal healthcare in the United States? Well, if you look at what Zaya Care is using as their model, it makes sense that sooner or later, a successful concept from elsewhere on the planet would be a good fit in the US. In this case, that model is the wraparound services found in Europe for expectant and new mothers. Essentially, care for new mothers ends as soon as they leave the hospital. With the European model, a network of specialists is available, supported by various insurance provided, to offer care to postpartum. It’s not a hard concept to understand.

Will it work in the US? So far, the system is in place and operational in New York. The response has been so positive that Zaya is looking to expand the number of specialists accessible on their network and the markets where the service is available. For a startup that was just launched two years ago, that is a very good sign. It won’t be long before expectant and new mothers receive the support they need without fear of not being able to afford the services of uninsured practitioners. Zaya has taken a successful program from Europe and applied it to the United States to great success. This is no small miracle, just like the miracle of childbirth.

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