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Senior care company Lifespark is planning to use $20 million from a recent Series B round of funding to build upon its tech platform designed to help the elderly avoid trips to the hospital.

The St. Louis Park-based company announced Wednesday that Minneapolis-based nonprofit health plan UCare is a new investor, creating a partnership both parties say will lead to cost savings for seniors using Medicare and Medicaid health plans.

Lifespark analyzes health record data and seniors' lifestyle patterns and using predictive analytics and machine learning applies that knowledge to create services that decrease hospitalizations, Lifespark founder and CEO Joel Theisen said. The company's intelligence system analyzes challenges for seniors, like food insecurities or lack of transportation, he added.

The fresh capital will go into expanding services and partnerships and investing in Lifespark's intelligence engine, as well as technologies like telehealth, teleconnection and telepresence, Theisen said.

The partnership is a milestone for Lifespark, as it adds one of the region's largest plan providers of Medicare and Medicaid.

"What this partnership, from my perspective, is going to do is really have us be completely aligned from a payer-provider standpoint and think about how to learn to do it better," Theisen said.

The investment is the first of its kind for UCare, which has more than 570,000 members throughout Minnesota and parts of western Wisconsin. Mark Traynor, president and CEO of UCare, said UCare is working toward value-based care, which is essentially paying for outcomes and giving incentives to providers to deliver better care and services.

"Not only are we making an investment, we're saying that we're going to be dedicated to advancing this holistic model of care forward, as well as supporting Lifespark's long-term interest in developing their leading edge-technology and platform and analytics engine," Traynor said.

Preventive services that keep seniors out of the hospital is less expensive, and it helps hold member premiums down, Traynor said. It also decreases out-of-pocket expenses for seniors, Theisen said.

"That gives them the opportunity to use that money in other places," Theisen said.

UCare has an existing relationship with Lifespark, Traynor said. The entities also work with North Memorial Health and Ridgeview Medical Center, and the plan is to deepen and expand those partnerships to reach more seniors, he said.

Lifespark, founded in 2004, has 3,600 employees. In May, Lifespark announced it had acquired Tealwood Senior Living and its 35 senior living and skilled nursing communities inMinnesotaandWisconsin. In April 2020, the company closed on $16.1 million in a Series A funding round led by California-based Virgo Investment Group.

Virgo, alongside UCare, led Lifespark's Series B round.