Nov 28, 2023

MedCity News

Season Health Expands Provider Network Through Strategic Asset Acquisition from Wellory

By acquiring clinical assets from Wellory, Season Health will be able to greatly expand its provider network. The company will also gain national contracts with Aetna and Cigna.

Food-as-medicine platform Season Health has closed on its strategic asset acquisition from Wellory, which offers a network of registered dietitians, the companies announced Tuesday.

Austin, Texas-based Season Health offers personalized food recipes, pre-made meals, grocery support, one-on-one meetings with a dietitian and nutrition education. It serves payers and employers. New York City-based Wellory works with payers and connects patients to dietitians for one-on-one virtual nutrition sessions. This network of dietitians provides care for 25 different specialties in 15 languages across all 50 states.

“Food-as-medicine, as far as I can tell, is still excitingly emerging,” said Josh Hix, CEO and co-founder of Season Health, in an interview. “There’s not yet one definition [of food-as-medicine], and in our opinion, it needs to include dietitian services. We see patients all the time where they have, for example, uncontrolled diabetes or poorly controlled diabetes. No one’s ever told this person that it’s large volumes of soda that is causing their diabetes.”

The companies declined to share the terms of the deal.

Through the agreement, Season Health will be able to expand its provider network from dozens of dietitians to hundreds, according Hix. The company will also gain national contracts with Aetna and Cigna, meaning members of these insurers will be able to access Season Health’s services. Season Health already works with UnitedHealthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and Geisinger.

Wellory chose to enter into this agreement with Season Health after seeing patients ask for more support beyond its dietitian services, said Emily Hochman, CEO and co-founder of the company.“For us, an obvious next step is, how do we start to actually integrate food here?” Hochman said in an interview. “The Season Health team has already done so much of that incredible work. For us, it really became a dream [deal] that really aligns with how we see and how we want to build towards the future of nutrition and healthcare and weight management and diabetes healthcare, really with the main focus on food and nutrition services as a huge player in care.”

Looking ahead, Hochman said Wellory is focused on making sure there is a “smooth integration with our dietitian network and our contracts.” Hochman and her co-founder Jeni Fahy will be pursuing other career paths, but Hochman declined to say what those are. Hochman and Fahy will also serve as advisors to Season Health as Wellory’s assets are transitioned over.

The food-as-medicine movement is expanding as the healthcare industry gains a growing understanding that food can be used to prevent, treat and manage health conditions. Nearly 34 million people live in food-insecure households. About half of American adults have at least one preventable chronic disease, and many are related to poor eating habits or a lack of exercise.

Several other companies are in the food-as-medicine space as well. Heali recently launched and offers personalized nutrition plans for more than 200 chronic conditions. FarmboxRx works with payers and delivers produce boxes, cooking kits and pantry items to patients’ doors. Another company is NourishedRx, which offers medically tailored meals, grocery support and diet education.

By acquiring clinical assets from Wellory, Season Health ultimately aims to meet the demand it’s seeing from payers and employers in the food-as-medicine space, Hix said.