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Privia Health Group soars in first day of trading

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Shawn Morris, Privia Health Group CEO, joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the company’s public debut and its outlook for telehealth.

Video Transcript

SIBILE MARCELLUS: Now the pandemic has really put the plight of physicians in the spotlight, as they struggle to save as many lives as possible. But now physicians could use our help too. And Privia Health Group is stepping up in a big way with their debut on the NASDAQ today. Joining us now is Shawn Morris, Privia Health Group's CEO. Shawn, first off, congrats on going public. And tell us more about how Privia is helping physicians.

SHAWN MORRIS: Thank you for having me today. At Privia, we're a physician enablement company. We're using technology, we're using our ability to kind of organize physicians in large medical groups across large geographic areas. And then be bringing the tools and the technology needed to move those physicians into value based care. And as you stated, the pandemic showed us that the physicians in the country were one of the most important resources we have, and that patient-physician relationship is critical. And we're out there solving the challenges they face. And really the pandemic, we had one of our best years ever last year.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Shawn, Anjalee here, it's good to speak with you again. I know that in general, we've seen that increase of the need for health, telehealth as well as technology in the health care space. And there's a lot going on behind that. Can you talk about how you're viewing this in terms of reimbursement and sort of the future outlook for how payers will start to accept these changes?

SHAWN MORRIS: Oh, Anjalee, it's great to hear you again. Obviously, again, during the pandemic we all saw the exceptional steps made by physicians. And at Privia Health, for example, we went down to telehealth journey over three years ago. And really building those capabilities, integrating it into our platform really with thinking that one day consumers would really desire to be met where they needed to be met, to see their physician, not another physician, but their own. And to be able to do that in a convenient manner to take better care of themselves.

And you mentioned the reimbursement. We saw that the federal government stepped up and really kind of is paying physicians at parity throughout that. Those things that are work. We three years ago went to all the national payers that we do business with and really talked about the ability to do telehealth and what it would mean to their consumers and our doctors' patients,--

--And were able to do some of those same things around parity. And we think it's really critically important. And as you saw, and we think that the health of the country and telehealth is really just getting started. And we think it's going to be a big part of health care going forward.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: And with that also comes the idea of a lot more competition. We know that obviously, a lot more people have picked up on this idea. And it's supposed to play a role in health equity as well. What do you see as sort of differentiators that can help in that space? And are you feeling that competition yet?

SHAWN MORRIS: There's a lot of telehealth companies out there. But like I said, we started this journey three years ago. We firmly believe if you've got to bring the tools to the physician, and telehealth is just a tool that they can engage with their patients, help them stay healthier, and actually at the same time, how can you relieve some of that administrative burden off the doctor.

And then in turn, really we're proud at Privia where we really focus on the well-being of the physician. And how can we continue to kind of remove burden, help them kind of in their life be like I said, improve that well-being, whether that be emotionally, physically or financially. But it's just one of the, again, it's just a tool.

And we actually help physicians in a lot of different ways. With the end of the day for them to move to value-based care, and we've all experienced the, I guess the effectiveness of telehealth over COVID. And a lot of our physicians did too. And I think the rest of the country did. But again, we really believe it has to be embedded in the physician's workflow, along with many other tools to actually allow them to take better care of their patient and have that patient engage with their doctor.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Shawn I want to talk a little bit about the financials here. You're having a very successful IPO, so congratulations. You priced 22.4 million shares at $23. That was at the top range, and already we're seeing your stock trade above $30 a share. In today's sale, you raised about $516 million. I know that you already have about 2,700 providers across a handful of states, but how are you going to use that money that you raise today?

SHAWN MORRIS: First, I want to thank you. There's of course, lots of advisors, big team. I want to thank our physicians. We wouldn't be successful without them. And it's I think the financial world, we were out there telling our story for a few weeks, and I think it resonated and they see the need to support physicians and do that in a value-based way.

And I think kind of to your question about how we'll use the proceeds, we've been profitable, the company, for three years. And we don't need the money to operate the company. We really are focused on how can we reach more physicians, expand our model into more states and build additional capabilities. There's a million physicians out there in the US.

That's a large addressable market for us. I think that resonated with investors. And we really want to kind of help them engage their patients in a way that improves their health, and at the same time, like I said a while ago, improves the well-being of the doctor. And we're going to use that to grow and expand into other markets.

SIBILE MARCELLUS: And Shawn, what's the future of primary care in the US? I know that you were talking about telehealth before. Do you think that's going to continue or more in-person visits?

SHAWN MORRIS: Yeah, it's, primary care, is the, we all know it's the lowest cost level within health care. I'm a huge primary care advocate. 65% of our physicians are primary care. And the rest, the bulk of those, the rest are comprehensive doctors taking care of the patients with chronic illnesses. And it's just, we believe if you build these low cost networks and these large, and within these larger groups, we can move value-based care at scale.

So I think regardless of the administration, I think the payers have noticed this, that primary care and kind of the move to value is critical. And if we're going to I think save health care in our country, we need to do that at low cost, high quality. And at the same time, provide a significant better experience for the patient. And I think that's why the physicians are resonating with Privia, the model.

And let's face it, physicians love, they want to be independent. They want to have autonomy. But we've learned they want to have a partner that allows them to kind of maintain the four walls of their practice, but at the same time, be part of something larger and help solve the crisis of health care in the US.

SIBILE MARCELLUS: Low cost, high quality, we're definitely in agreement there. Shawn Morris, thanks so much.