Startup Heyday Health Looks to Improve Health Care for Seniors

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – For Bobby Shady, the focus is on the patients. The California native has parents in their 70s and spent years as a consultant advising public and private health-care leaders, knowing there has to be a better way to care for our aging population.

On Wednesday, his startup Heyday Health was introduced at the Youngstown Business Incubator. The company offers telehealth services and in-home visits, with care aimed at older adults.

A three-person medical team of Dr. Nupur Mehta, nurse practitioner Rachel Lester and health ally and Youngstown native Madison Olesh works 24/7 to take care of older adults.

Shady felt there was a need in northeastern Ohio, especially in Youngstown with its innovative base with the Voltage Valley effort and other technology companies, while retaining deep, community roots.

“I think that’s something that really enables our model to thrive,” he says.

Olesh remembers when her grandmother was struggling to find a doctor who would take her new insurance after her grandfather passed away, taking about six months to find a provider. That experience fueled her passion around caring for the older population of the Mahoning Valley.

“I love Youngstown. I love this community,” she says. “I want it to make it something that people want to stay here as they get older. … I think health care needs to be more accessible and that’s a huge reason why people go to Cleveland or branch out from here. If we can make it accessible here in Youngstown, I think that that’ll make a huge difference.”

In the United States, most people see the doctor when they’re sick — rarely when they are well for preventative maintenance. That’s what Heyday Health wants to change as American healthcare is seen as a fee-for-service-based system.

“Our model at Heyday is actually created to keep people healthy, keep people in their homes, and keep people active,” Mehta says. “We’re really hopefully creating health care, not sick care.”

Lester viewed many patients shuffled in and out of a doctor’s office, seeing almost 23 a day. Taking time to get to know their patients as a health-care unit is what attracted her to this health startup company.

“Thirty minutes that I’m in there talking with them can prevent a hospital stay,” she says.

This business has preventative and sick visits, along with the normal procedures a doctor would recommend such as screening for cancers, immunizations, laboratory testing, radiology testing, referrals to specialists.

If a patient needs blood work or other in-person testing, Heyday Health can set up transportation. Shady says most people have non-emergency medical transportation in their current healthcare plan.

“I think there’s just so many barriers to accessing the benefits that do exist for people that because the healthcare system is so complicated to navigate they can’t figure that out for themselves,” he says.

Heyday Health works with most insurances, just like most co-pays, Shady says. Currently five out of seven older adults on Medicare in Youngstown should be able to access the company, but he adds they are working on obtaining the other two.

About 80% of the healthcare outcomes are determined outside of a clinic, but in this model the team can assess what is happening with the patient inside the home, even what needs to go out of their medicine cabinet.

“I think that the beauty of having this whole care team is the full scope of all we’re able to do in terms of determining and helping the whole person,” Shady says. 

Heyday’s arrival in Youngstown was facilitated in part by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, who reached out to YBI CEO Barb Ewing, asking if she had heard anything about Shady. The two finally connected and Ewing says Heyday came to YBI “fully baked or at least ready to be put in the oven.”

Heyday Health comes to the Youngstown area with financial backing, but Shady did not want to divulge his investors.

“We feel fortunate that we have some good backing and some runway here, so we don’t have to specifically focus on our finances early,” he says. “We have earned the right to spend the time to get the model to work because people know it takes some time.”

Pictured: Heyday Health was introduced Wednesday at the Youngstown Business Incubator. From right, Rachel Lester, nurse practitioner; Madison Olesh, health ally; Dr. Nupur Mehta, chief medical officer; Bobby Shady, founder and CEO; and Barb Ewing, CEO of the YBI.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.