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Tufts Health Plan and Iora Health team up on new model of primary care

Tufts Health Plan and a local company working on a more personal approach to primary care medicine are teaming up to open two new clinics for seniors in Medford and Hyde Park.

The practices, run by Iora Health of Cambridge, will be available only to seniors who enroll in a Tufts health plan for Medicare patients. The companies plan to enroll 2,000 new patients at each of the two new locations.

For Iora, the partnership will double the company’s presence in Massachusetts. Iora has clinics in Dorchester and Burlington, among about a dozen clinics nationwide.

Iora’s model involves a care team that spends as much as an hour on each appointment and develops a personalized care plan for each patient. Patients get a coach to help manage their health issues. Iora also hosts group meetings, for example, to help patients manage diabetes.


“We can help people make the right decisions and navigate the system,” said Dr. Rushika Fernandopulle, chief executive of Iora Health.

Patty Blake, president of senior products at Watertown-based Tufts Health Plan, said the Iora model is particularly good for seniors, who often need to manage chronic conditions. Tufts currently has 128,000 members on various Medicare plans.

“Very often seniors have multiple needs,” Blake said. “They have complex issues that span medical, social, and behavioral. I think this really is a perfect match.”

Tufts will pay Iora a set fee to care for patients, instead of following the traditional health care payment model that reimburses doctors for every service and procedure.

Iora recently announced a deal to open seven similar practices for Medicare patients in Arizona, Colorado, and Washington in partnership with the national health insurer Humana Inc.

Priyanka Dayal McCluskey can be reached at priyanka.mccluskey@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @priyanka_dayal.