Health IT, Startups

Medicaid data cruncher Nuna launches with $90M in funding

The data platform eventually will contain eligibility, claims and clinical data for all 74.5 million Medicaid enrollees nationwide.

Expedition 48 Launch

A startup working to build a nationwide analytics platform for Medicaid data has emerged from stealth mode with a boatload of cash and an impressive pedigree.

Nuna launched Thursday by announcing that it has raised more than $90 million. Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and billionaire John Doerr — the chairman of Kleiner Perkins — led the investment, according to San Francisco-based Nuna.

The company, founded in 2010, is a subcontractor in the project to create a standardized data platform for Medicaid as part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ “data liberación effort championed by ex-White House CTO Todd Park. The platform eventually will contain eligibility, claims and clinical data for all 74.5 million Medicaid enrollees nationwide.

Nuna also works with self-insured employers to help manage the health of their employees and rein in healthcare costs. It also counts several health plans, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

The Nuna platform runs on the Amazon Web Services cloud, aggregating and analyzing massive amounts of healthcare data in significantly less time than the startup could do with its own servers.

The company is run by Jini Kim, a former Google Health project manager — for whatever that’s worth — and member of the team that helped rescue healthcare.gov after the failed rollout of that national health insurance exchange in 2013. Kim named Nuna after the Korean word for big sister; she has been helping her autistic brother Kimong and their immigrant parents navigate the U.S. healthcare system since she was 9.

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“Every row of data is a life whose stories deserve to be told with dignity,” Kim said in a press release. A publicist said she was not immediately available for interviews.

“Unifying data from 50 states and the District of Columbia into a new national data platform for Medicaid would not have been possible without the incredible partnership with CMS,” Kim added. “For the first time since the inception of Medicaid, questions can be answered that were never before possible.”

Another member of the healthcare.gov recovery team was Andy Slavitt, then an executive with UnitedHealth Group’s Optum subsidiary and, until Thursday, acting Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator. (Most Obama administration political appointees stepped down the day before Friday’s inauguration of Donald Trump.)

“Building the first Medicaid data warehouse is an important national priority, but it is fraught with complexity. It takes good partners like the Nuna team to make the progress we’ve made,” Slavitt said in the Nuna release.

“The Medicaid system and Silicon Valley have the opportunity to innovate together. Over time, the insights and analysis that can be brought to Medicaid have the potential to shed significant light on the healthcare experience for millions of low-income working Americans,” Slavitt continued.

Photo: Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images