Discover what's on our minds

We like to research, think about and discuss what's going on in health care and find new ways to keep transforming it. Join the conversation!

Scam Alert: Keep your Information Safe when Applying for Jobs

Last month, the FBI started warning the public about scammers in the job market. Fake jobs are posted by individuals who impersonate companies, including Iora Health, in order to steal personal information and/or money from candidates. We want to make sure that all interested applicants stay safe when applying for jobs at Iora Health. Here are tips to keep you and your personal information safe: 

  • All Iora Health job openings that appear on job boards (i.e. Glassdoor or Indeed) are also listed on If you see an Iora Health position posted on a job board, but not on our website, it is not a legitimate position.
  • Iora Health employee email addresses use the domains and/or If you receive an email from someone claiming to be an Iora Health employee, please ensure that their email address uses one of these domains. (Hint: If the email is or – these are not from us!)
  • To be offered a position at Iora Health, our candidates go through multiple rounds of interviews. If you are offered a position without going through a rigorous process, please know that the job offer is illegitimate. 
  • Iora Health will never request passport details, financial information (i.e. credit card, bank account, etc.) or money from job candidates. If this information is requested from you before a thorough interview process, it is a scam.

We have a team investigating these fraudulent activities and know that other companies are doing the same. Our goal is to shut them down to keep you safe. 

If you believe that you have been a victim of a fraudulent recruiting scam, please contact the Internet Crimes Complaint Center at The IC3 is an FBI entity that gathers and analyzes internet fraud in order to prosecute scammers.

The Argument for More Unicorns: Lessons From Covid-19 in Primary Care

Last week my entire company paused. We shared a video conference call and heard from our leadership that we were doing a great job, that we were doing the right job, and that whatever the post-C-19 future might hold, our c-suite was committed to the health and safety of not only our patients, but our team members.  

As a primary care doctor at Iora Primary Care, I see exclusively Medicare patients. By definition, because they are eligible for Medicare (either by age or disease status), all of my patients are high risk for getting very sick from COVID-19 if they are infected, and I feel lucky to work for an organization that has been swift to adapt to the needs and safety of my patients and my team. 

Most healthcare professionals these days have similar worries: How do I keep myself, my patients, and team safe? Do we have enough personal protective equipment (PPE)? Where should I send patients who have symptoms concerning COVID-19? Should I isolate myself from my family after seeing patients? As a primary care doc, I was also worried about still caring for my patients with chronic diseases like diabetes, heart failure, depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders if we were asking people to stay home. 

I was thrilled to realize that unlike most outpatient clinics, Iora was already well-positioned to meet the ongoing primary care needs of our patients in non-traditional ways. Many aspects of my practice that are considered unique to primary care have become essential during this time. Now that COVID-19 is forcing outpatient care to become more virtual, some practices are scrambling to acquire the technology and educate their workforce to do things that are part of the standard care we provide at Iora already. 

A few of the resources that set us apart: 

  • Providers on call 24/7 – we have a call service that routes after-hours inquiries to a physician. 
  • Virtual care – we have an electronic medical record (EMR) that allows us to designate whether our care will be by phone, video, or in-person. We have technology and partnerships that allow us to contact patients in non-traditional but HIPAA-compliant ways.
  • Population-based care – we have a robust process to identify high risk acutely or chronically ill patients, and regularly scheduled time for the team to discuss them and address their needs.
  • Completely paperless practice – even our faxes and phone service are web-based, so the shift to virtual care (and, if needed, remote work) is much easier than practices that still rely on paper faxes, forms, notes, or “brick-and-mortar” communication.

The main reason most of this is possible, though, is the biggest thing that sets us apart from most primary care practices: value-based payment. Most of our patients are reimbursed through partnerships with Medicare insurance plans that pay flat rates (adjusted for severity of illness) for us to take care of our patients. As a result, “taking care of our patients” can look pleasantly different than a typical doctor’s visit. 

Although Iora has been using this type of model for almost ten years, more and more practices are moving away from the traditional fee-for-service economy of modern U.S. healthcare. Even the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has recognized the value of letting healthcare teams decide how we take care of our patients and announced the expansion of their risk-sharing payment models through things like Direct Contracting and Primary Care First initiatives. More recently, emergency measures have been passed to allow even fee-for-service clinics to practice more like mine—with virtual care and relaxed requirements on documentation for billing.

Despite our ability to continue to care for our patients in creative and non-traditional ways, it’s taken some fancy footwork to support team members who need to be home for illness or childcare, and to explain these new options for care to our patients. This has been understandably stressful for teams and leaders on the ground like me. Our national and local leadership has shone through here, too, embracing transparency and being proactive with efforts to protect patients and teams.

Throughout all of it, the entire company has been incredibly flexible—from the c-suite to the frontlines. And that’s rare in healthcare, too. On our company-wide video call, our president, Alexander Packard said, “Our culture is built for moments like this.” Iora fosters “a culture of ‘we’ – supporting each other so we can support our patients.” 

The bottom line is that the version of primary care that I get to practice is still a unicorn in the traditional healthcare / insurance model, but recent challenges have helped highlight the many benefits of value-based payment primary care. I’m grateful to work at Iora and hopeful that if the COVID-19 pandemic can be compared to the Biblical flood, this time the unicorn might make it onto the ark because it’s time the horses of primary care learned how to fly.

Finding Joy in Practice Again

In 2018, after 14 years with Kaiser Permanente, I joined Iora Primary Care. Already, this change is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. My wife and two daughters regularly comment on how I’m happier, less grouchy, and don’t get gloomy on Sunday nights anymore. I’ve always enjoyed going home from work, most recently to our little hobby farm on the river in Lyons CO, where we raise sheep, goats, chickens, bees and a new little pig. But now, surprisingly, I also look forward to going to work on a daily basis.

I came to Iora because of its mission to restore humanity to health care. I have been following Iora in the national press ever since the 2011 New Yorker “Hot Spotters” article (read it if you haven’t!).

I’ve long been a student of health systems and policy, working for a Master of Public Health and an MBA in health administration. I served on the Board of Directors for the Permanente Medical Group and as Chief of a large primary care practice and a cluster of primary care practices serving over 100,000 patients. I’ve worked as the Medical Director of Prevention, responsible for the wellness of over 600,000 patients. I never thought I would leave my previous career…until Iora arrived in Colorado.

When the Arvada clinic had an opening for Practice Medical Director, I applied. I was immediately impressed by the man who would become my boss, Doug Golding, a very bright and thoughtful leader. More importantly, I was sold on working with the team of Health Coaches, Operations Assistants, Nurses, Nurse Practitioners and Behavioral Health Specialists that interviewed me. They asked insightful questions that made it clear that culture and mission were valued at Iora. They were bright, kind and passionate about taking care of patients. It was clear that this was an opportunity to work with a team where each member contributed as much as they could to the care of patients. In past roles, decisions had to be funneled through doctors who become a bottleneck for care.

Over the past month, I’ve found that this team truly lives by the Iora values; courageously and passionately caring for our patients, treating them with empathy. The team works to improve every day, acting with the humility to ask tough questions and challenge each other to improve. They continue to inspire me and challenge me to be better, making sure that we always address the issues most important to our patients. The team helps me to be truly present in interactions with patients. They support me in my learning and they allow me to support and teach them. We learn from each other.

The culture is collaborative rather than competitive, supportive rather than critical. This is unlike anything I’ve experienced in health care before. I recently attended a meet and greet with some of our current patients. I asked many of them, “What do you think about Iora?” About half of them became tearful as they described how they were treated with kindness and respect in a way that made them feel important. There was not a single complaint about the team, but they did ask that I would consider staying for a long time. That won’t be a problem.

– Eric Harker, MD, MPH, MBA

A Culture of Respect

In a recent Washington Post article, reporter DeNeen Brown wrote about how Aretha Franklin’s classic song Respect took “a man’s demand for respect from a woman when he got home from work and flipped it.“

Everyone deserves respect. And yet, as we go through life, it’s easy to see that some groups need to fight more for it than other groups. Aretha sang, as a black woman, demanding respect, a message she belted out with gusto.

In my time working with older adults at Iora Health, it’s been very clear that older adults are another group that too often have to fight for respect. While some belt it out, many have resigned themselves to a life where they don’t feel respected and give up trying to get what they deserve.

At Iora, I’ve had the honor of speaking with countless older adults – patients and otherwise – to understand what’s important to them and learn how Iora and our care teams can help them live better lives. It’s surprising to me that more often than not, one of the most common answers I get when asking folks what’s important to them from their doctor is time. They want less time waiting for an appointment, less time in the waiting room and more time with their doctor and care team. A lot of doctors say they give their patients more than the average 7-15 minute appointment, but patients still aren’t satisfied. So are the patients not getting the time,  or is there something else going on?

I’m betting on both. At Iora, our teams spend more time with our patients than a typical doctor’s office – as much time as each patient needs. The extra time is key. But the real magic is what happens during that time. During the time our teams spend with patients, they are able to build meaningful relationships that engender trust and openness. Our patient relationships are built on this trust and, perhaps, more importantly respect.

One woman in one of our Arizona practices explained to me what she is looking for in a doctor’s office:

”I want them to listen to me. And not treat me like I’m… ‘she’s an old lady, she doesn’t know anything…because a lot of people I know have gone to the doctor and the doctor just blew them off…I want you to listen and be nice and don’t act bored. And if I’m wrong, explain to me why I’m wrong. And if I’m right, tell me I’m right. And I realize that not everybody is willing to listen ….”

I’ve encountered this theme over and over and over again in my conversations with older adults. While most people, no matter their age, would say that they want more time with their doctors, it turns out that isn’t enough. Most people under 65 don’t have to say that they are looking for someone to be nice, not act bored and explain things. People 65 and older shouldn’t have to either. Everyone deserves to be listened to and respected. I came to work at Iora – and stay here – because this is exactly what we do for all of our patients.

Values in Action: Addressing Needs in Venezuela

At Iora Health, our mission is to restore humanity to health care. Each day, our teams lead the way by showing courage, creativity, empathy, humility and passion.

We see these values embodied in large and small ways every day. A compassionate encounter with a patient, an empathetic ear for a colleague, or recently, through a passion project by an Iora employee.

Gabrielena (Gaby) Alcala, director of Medicare Risk Operations, saw the decline in quality of life in Venezuela with her own eyes. Her father was ill and she saw the struggle to get his basic medical supplies. Unfortunately, his situation was not unique in Venezuela. Once-controlled diseases like diphtheria and measles have returned due to insufficient vaccines and antibiotics and Venezuelans suffering from chronic illnesses like cancer or diabetes must often forgo treatment for lack of supplies.

Motivated by the struggles of Venezuelans to access basic healthcare, Gaby reached out to her fellow Iorans for aid. The response she received was overwhelming.

In an email to Iorans, she described how Venezuela is experiencing one of the biggest humanitarian crises in the world. She shared that Venezuela is facing an 85 percent shortage of medicine, an economic crisis, severe hyperinflation and food scarcity. She contrasted this with the United States, where two out of three dispensed medications go unused and are discarded. National projected costs range from $2.4 billion to $5.4 billion in wasted prescriptions.

Gaby had a simple ask, “Do you have unused prescriptions or medical supplies you can donate?”

Here are some of the responses:

“I have a box of things that I’d like to go to a good cause!”

“Thank you for finding this opportunity for us, we really appreciate the honor to be able to do this.”

“I would much rather send to places that need things than throw things away.”

“Definitely!! Thanks for reaching out to the practices. Perfect timing too for our Earth Day efforts…love it!”

“This should be something that happens every six months so that things don’t go to waste.”

Gaby coordinated the supply donation to the Programa de Ayuda Humanitaria para Venezuela, which has strong ties with health providers and hospitals in Venezuela. With the program’s aid, the items were sent to where they were needed most. Now, Iora Primary Care practices are aware of the donation opportunities for unused medical supplies and can continue to support places in need on a regular basis.

There is a tradition at Iora Health that on your company anniversary you can reflect on your time at Iora. In Gaby’s reflection she said, “I have learned many things during my tenure at Iora, but the most important one is that I work with the kindest people I have ever met.”

Everyone rallying together in support of Venezuela demonstrated Iora Health’s mission and the passion that Iorans bring to their work every day.

 Thank you to Gaby and the local care team members for their efforts! It’s inspiring to work with you!

Ellsworth-Team-Venezuela-DonationsEllsworth-Team-Venezuela-Donations (3)
Interested in joining a team that is committed to making a difference? Check out our current job openings and apply!

Amy Veronneau

Why I joined Iora – A Nurse’s story

As a Registered Nurse, I have played many roles in multiple hospital systems throughout my career. When I worked as a Float Pool Nurse, I supported a multitude of nursing floors, chronic conditions and environments. I discovered that although the hospital is intended to be a place for healing, there are many problems: when a patient is in pain, we push pain medication, and when we see a patient with a chronic condition, we put a Band-Aid on them with medications and temporary interventions—without always taking the time to find the underlying cause. The intentions are good, but the execution is poor, especially when nurses are given so many patients that we aren’t allotted the time to provide adequate education, let alone understand the entire patient situation.

After much frustration with a broken hospital system, I found Iora Primary Care. At Iora, our mission is to restore humanity to health care… and this is so much more than just a slogan. Everyone at Iora takes action to make a difference in the lives of our patients. The patients have longer initial visits with us, where team members spend time with the patient to understand the patient’s goals, desires, support system, and comfort with his/her illness, and we then provide education. We share the medical chart with the patient—which is unheard of at other institutions!

I have finally found a place where I can make a difference….not through pushing medications or through the agenda of the institution I work for, but by working with the patients to help them live their fullest and healthiest lives. I couldn’t be happier as a Nurse at Iora Primary Care.

A Second Shot at a Second Career

Medicine is a second career for me. I was previously a chemical engineer, but figured out quickly that I wanted a job that allowed me to develop true relationships with others. When I decided to go to medical school, I knew that I wanted to be a primary care physician so I could care for the whole patient, understanding all of the factors that affect their health.

After I completed my residency, I worked for a large outpatient hospital. Each day I fielded complaints from patients about short visits or the fact that they had to have a different appointment for every concern. I was met with the truth that medicine didn’t actually feel like it was about caring for patients–rather, it was seeing over 20 patients a day, in 10-to-15 minute visits. Only seven years after residency, I was debating leaving it all behind.  

In the process of looking for a new job, I posted my resume on physician recruiter sites. I received multiple calls and emails–none of which I answered. Then one day, on my lunch break while eating a protein bar at my desk, I surprisingly answered a call that I knew was from a recruiter. I listened carefully to the man on the other end of the phone as he spoke about a company that was opening new practices in the Denver area; a company that focused on building relationships; a company that wanted to restore humanity to healthcare. That phone call changed my life–I felt like I was getting a second shot at having the career I’d dreamed of.

I went to Denver to interview with the team and very vividly remember the Denver Medical Director telling me: “This job will be more different than you can even imagine.” I visited one of the clinics and got to experience my first morning “huddle”–a team sitting around a table discussing which patients they were concerned about, who was going to follow up on which items, and the strategy for taking care of all patients coming in that day. I shadowed Health Coach visits with patients (without a doctor present) and saw them talk to people about their health concerns, but also listen to their fears, accomplishments, and goals.

I started working for Iora eight months ago and it is hard to describe how much my life has changed. I am part of an amazing team where every person has an important role in patient care. We have time to build relationships so we can understand patient’s health goals, life goals, and the barriers that keep those goals from being reached. We try to activate the patient to become the owner of their health and I no longer strive to see more patients in a day–I strive to take the best possible care of my patients. I went from wanting to leave the practice of medicine, to wanting to change the practice of medicine. To this day, I am still not sure what possessed me to answer that recruiter’s phone call, but I am grateful each day that I did.   

The Economics of Patient Focused Care

“Inpatient admissions were 5% higher, or favorable, compared to the prior year” reads a quote that appeared in a recent report for a nonprofit hospital. This sums up the fundamental problem with the U.S. healthcare industry; incentives of the system, providers and payers under a fee-for-service construct are not aligned with those of the most important person: the patient. While it’s noble for hospitals to care for someone during their time of need, a higher volume of admissions is not good for actual patients or the economy. The “healthcare” industry has in fact become a “sickness” industry in which medical costs and industry profits have spiraled out of control, while quality and health outcomes have severely lagged.

The challenge is: how do we create a system that aligns the incentives of patients, providers and payers while focusing on optimizing health?

A solution starts by changing the system from the ground up. Instead of operating under a fee-for-service structure, we need to invest in value-based primary care that puts an emphasis on keeping people healthy, rather than simply reacting when they’re sick. There are a few companies that are doing this and making a noticeable difference in this space – Iora Health is leading the charge and that’s what attracted me to join the company three years ago.

Iora’s high-impact, relationship-based care model is brilliantly and simply built around the patient and is tackling the enormous societal and economic problems of the U.S. healthcare system. By combining people, process and technology, Iora is able to save money, bring joy back to the practice of care, and improve the health of all patients (especially the most vulnerable – older adults).  

The first question people often ask me after learning about what Iora is working to achieve is, “How do you do this?”

It takes starting from scratch in built-for-purpose primary care practices that serve patients under value-based care arrangements with sponsors that share our vision of transforming healthcare. Rather than buying an electronic medical record off the shelf, we support these practices with our proprietary technology platform, called Chirp, that integrates population health workflows and clinical documentation. What you get is a care team and technology that support a care model that is built around people rather than billing codes.

The second question asked of me: “Is it working?”

Results have been amazing so far. Iora’s average Net Promoter Score for patients (a measure of customer satisfaction, with  a range of -100 to 100) is around 90, while the typical primary care doctor’s office hovers around 4. Our care teams love taking care of patients under this model, and hospital admission rates have dropped by 30-40% for patients who have had Iora’s care for a year or more. All of this shows that the Iora model is working by being able to keep patients happy, healthy, and out of the hospital.

This is the solution for the misalignment of incentives in today’s healthcare industry.  By spending more time and building deeper relationships with people, Iora is proving that we can educate and empower others to optimize their own health, while also encouraging health systems to follow suit. At the end of the day, we all want what’s best for people and that means focusing on the one part of the equation that matters most: the patient.

During one of my first interviews for the Community Development Leader role with Iora Health, we primarily discussed creating a movement of healthier and socially connected older adults. I was attracted to this endeavor, but curious as to how a small company would set out to achieve this goal.

I quickly learned that Iora Health doesn’t want to simply provide primary care, but also aims to reach the greater communities which we’re a part of. It’s a funny thought – we don’t get paid to teach and engage with people who aren’t our patients, so why would an entire position be allotted to this work? But as we put it at Iora, we can’t transform healthcare by staying inside our own four walls. Instead, we encourage older adults to think about health in a different way, advocate for their own individual needs, and stand by others to help them work through the trials and tribulations of their healthcare journey.

As a Community Development Leader, I work at the intersection of creating meaningful partnerships between Iora and local community groups (e.g., senior living facilities, senior centers, nonprofits, and food banks). By working closely with our health care teams, we design programs such as Healthy Shopping on a Budget, Food as Medicine, Chronic Disease Self-Management, Stress Reduction, and various fitness programs that we host inside of our practices and out in the community. These programs are free of charge to attendees and help our partners achieve their goal of bringing their members together.

The question I often receive about the impact of my role is: how does this work bring people together to want to live healthier and more socially connected lives? The answer to this is demonstrated through a story about one of our locally hosted nutrition classes in which we met a woman who had recently lost her husband and was looking for tips on how to cook for one rather than two. She had many questions answered during the presentation but came up to us afterwards to ask more. It sparked a new class topic idea focused on shopping for affordable, healthy foods that we brought back to the senior center the next month. This woman attended, but also brought her daughter who helps her with her medical and financial health.

For numerous classes following these, we saw this family turn up. They expressed that prior to these classes they’d spent a lot of time Googling similar issues, but what they were missing from their searches was a personal dialogue around their individual health needs in order to set goals and action plans that were relevant and achievable. Through Iora, they were able to walk away with next steps that they could integrate into their daily lives.

This experience is exactly what we set out to achieve through our community development work: a doctor’s office reaching older adults with the help of our amazing community partners in order to encourage them to take charge of their personal healthcare journeys.

“What I Will Take With Me”

Dartmouth Health Connect, an Iora Health practice serving employees and family members of Dartmouth College, New England Carpenters Union, and King Arthur Flour, recently received a note from a patient who unfortunately was leaving the practice due to a life change. In her note, this patient described what she will be taking with her as a result of being cared for by the team at Dartmouth Health Connect:

“What I Will Take With Me

  1. I am primarily responsible for my own health with the help of a physician/Health Coach, etc. (collaborators)
  2. Mindfulness is key to addressing/mitigating health issues
  3. Sharing challenges to health issues and weight loss is helpful
  4. If you are sick, believe that you can get better and ask for help quickly
  5. Healthcare is a loving endeavor
  6. The Iora Health care model works”

This letter iterates why the Iora Health care model was created in the first place. We aim to meet people where they are so they can become advocates for themselves in their personal health journey.