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Why Luna Wants to Be the ‘DoorDash for Physical Therapy’

This article originally appeared in Home Health Care News on March 15, 2021.

Luna, an on-demand physical therapy company, recently secured partnerships with two separate health systems. Under the agreements, patients at Emory Healthcare and Scripps Health will have access to Luna’s physical therapist network.

Founded in 2018, Rocklin, California-based Luna provides outpatient physical therapy in the home setting. Through the company’s platform, patients are matched with a physical therapist at the time and location of their choosing.

The partnerships with Scripps Health and Emory Healthcare are Luna’s first two deals with health systems.

As a company, Luna’s value lies in its ability to help these organizations identify which patients would benefit from receiving care in the home. Once it does that, it leverages its platform to make the care happen at a lower cost, according to Palak Shah, head of clinical services at Luna.

“We are working with Emory and Scripps to … target these opportunities and generate awareness amongst our patients, allowing them to know this option exists for them to receive the care that they need,” Shah told Home Health Care News.

In some ways, Luna’s timing as a company couldn’t have been more opportune. The company launched a few years before the implementation of the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM).

In the lead-up to PDGM, many home health providers considered cutting the number of therapy visits their agencies offered, as volume no longer automatically drove payment. Others opted to leverage contract therapy more than their in-house capabilities.

In this environment, Luna was able to position itself as a key provider of at-home physical therapy.

“There was a great opportunity where there was nothing that existed before,” Shah said. “Even without PDGM, … there were limitations within home health in terms of the number of visits a patient can receive. However, the regulations just made it harder [for home health] to receive reimbursements.”

Shah noted that roughly 70% of the patients who need outpatient physical therapy don’t end up receiving care. Additionally, 87% of patients receiving outpatient physical therapy could be served at home, while ensuring the same quality and outcomes.

On a larger scale, on-demand services have become ubiquitous in all industries. Over the years, providers of home-based care services have carved out space in this market as this method of care delivery continued to grow in popularity.

In general, Luna falls in line with the broader trends. “Some people call us the DoorDash or Uber of physical therapy,” Shah said. The COVID-19 emergency has also played a role in accelerating Luna’s business.

“It has absolutely escalated the need for services that can be delivered outside the clinic location,” Shah said. “We’ve definitely seen a great adoption because patients absolutely need care.”

In this regard, Luna has seen a 40% increase month-over-month in the number of patients it has been able to serve during the public health emergency. Looking ahead, Luna is taking an “aggressive” approach to growth.

“We are at about 800 therapists. We want to get to 2,000,” Shah said. “We are in 25 different markets across the nation. By the end of 2021, we plan to be in 45 different markets.”

The company is also on the lookout for more partnership opportunities similar to the ones it has with both Emory Healthcare and Scripps Health.

“When we did a recent survey, 63% of people reported they would prefer to get care at home, if an alternative was only visiting a clinic,” Shah said. “I think that [knowledge] is going to help us achieve our goals. We are at this edge of revolution, and in the next few years, I believe we’re going to see the at-home care market explode.”