Hazel Health raises $51.5M to scale school-based telehealth

Throughout the U.S., many children live without their health needs being met. In fact, more than half of American children are not connected to any type of team-based healthcare delivery model, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. And research shows that just 39% of schools have a full-time nurse that students can come to.

San Francisco-based Hazel Health has been focused on addressing this problem since it was founded in 2015. It has come a long way in seven years — on Thursday, the company announced it had deployed its telehealth services in more than 3,000 schools. Across the 14 states where Hazel operates, more than 10% of K-12 students now have access to physical and mental healthcare.

The company also announced that it closed a $51.5 million Series C1 funding round with participation from Children’s Memorial Hermann, Tao Capital Partners, Owl Ventures, Firework Ventures and Fiore Ventures. The round brings Hazel’s total funding to date to $112.5 million, according to CEO Josh Golomb.

“We partner with schools to essentially turn them into virtual care delivery sites,” he said in a recent interview.

Once a school partners with Hazel, the company sets up telehealth clinics in their building so students can access primary care visits. Hazel also takes mental health treatment referrals from teachers, school counselors and parents. Once Hazel receives a referral, students have a mental health assessment and can receive therapy from a licensed provider.

Hazel’s target customers are schools that want to improve the health of their students and health plans that want to improve the health of their members, Golomb said. The company’s services are covered by a combination of payer reimbursement, school districts and federal funding to support school-based healthcare. The company has achieved a near 100% Medicaid coverage rate in key markets, according to Golomb.

Some of the school districts that work with Hazel include Denver Public Schools in Colorado, Broward County Public Schools in Florida, and Clark County School District in Nevada.

But Hazel is not the only pediatric care startup raising millions this year. For example, Brightline, a telehealth company for pediatric behavioral health, raised $105 million in April. And former Hims and Hers exec Ellen DaSilva launched pediatric telehealth startup Summer Health in August with $7.5 million in seed funding.

Hazel differentiates itself from other pediatric telehealth companies because of its school-based approach, Golomb claimed.

“Beyond the fact that kids are at school 180 days a year, there’s transportation, there’s trust, there’s adults that kids already know and are connected to. So it’s a great place to bring healthcare to kids,” he said.

The company’s focus on health equity also helps it stand out, according to Golomb. He said that through Hazel’s model, all students can access care regardless of their insurance or lack thereof. He also pointed out that more than 50% of the company’s providers are people of color, and more than 30% fluently speak a language other than English.

Along with the announcement of its Series C1 funding, Hazel also released an impact report sharing data on its model’s ability to improve children’s access to healthcare.

The report found that 8% of Hazel visits lead to a referral to connect students to a primary care physician, dentist, therapist or other provider. It also found that more than 15,000 mental health sessions have been conducted by Hazel therapists. Nearly three-quarters of Hazel parents and guardians said their child’s relationships with family and friends have gotten better since beginning therapy.

Photo: SDI Productions, Getty Images

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