DocGo president Anthony Capone talks about electric ambulances and changing healthcare

The mobile healthcare company introduced the first electric ambulance this year. Capone told the Chief Healthcare Executive that DocGo is a technology company that does healthcare.

This ambulance may look like other models, with sirens and white color, but it’s a little different.

DocGo partnered with Lightning eMotors, a company that makes zero-emission vehicles for commercial fleets, to build America’s first electric ambulance. On its first trip in April, the ambulance transported a patient from Jefferson Abington Hospital in the Philadelphia suburbs to a nursing home.

Since then, the ambulance has been used on other transports for Jefferson Health, said Anthony Capone, president of DocGo.

“It sparked a lot of interesting discussions,” Capone said.

DocGo has garnered attention with its electric ambulance, but that’s just one facet of the company’s efforts to make a name for itself in the healthcare space. DocGo provides mobile healthcare services to a variety of customers, including healthcare systems and insurance providers. The company also provides medical care at events including the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.

The company is touting its “last mile mobile care services” to bridge the gap between in-person treatment and virtual care.

Capone spoke up Chief Physician in Health Care recently to talk about the company and its goal to transform healthcare. He described DocGo as a technology company at its core.

“The foundation of who we are is built on technology,” Capone said. “We really are a technology company. We are a technology company operating in the healthcare industry.”

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The ambulance

Hospitals and healthcare systems are under increasing pressure to reduce emissions and mitigate their impact on the environment. So electric vehicles, including electric ambulances, could have some appeal.

“They’re almost always on,” he said. “You rarely turn off your ambulance. Their ambulances and mobile healthcare vehicles are almost always on duty 12 or 14 hours a day. If you are a gas-powered vehicle, you are constantly producing exhaust fumes.”

The electric ambulance has better city mileage because braking recharges the battery, and there are more starts and stops in city traffic, Capone said. The ambulance can travel about 135 miles in the city and about 110 miles on the highway on a full charge.

DocGo intends to use more electric ambulances in healthcare systems in the near future. The company will initially target city hospitals and healthcare systems.

The price of electric ambulances must come down for them to be more widespread, he acknowledged.

A typical ambulance costs about $100,000, but an electric ambulance costs nearly $200,000, Capone said. If the price could get closer to $150,000, it would be much more viable for healthcare systems to make the investment because the savings in gas and maintenance would offset the higher sticker price, Capone said. He noted that electric cars are reaching a price point where they are more attractive to consumers.

DocGo intends to use more electric ambulances in healthcare systems in the near future.

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“The electric ambulance is another example of how DocGo, a technology-driven company, is solving its problems with technology,” Capone said.

In addition, DocGo is aiming to go electric with its entire fleet of several hundred vehicles, including buses, SUVs and other vehicles.

“We have committed that our entire fleet will be electric by 2032,” Capone said.

Given the unpredictability of gasoline prices, which have soared to $6 or $7 a gallon in some parts of the country over the summer, Capone hopes there’s a tipping point where electric vehicles will gain larger market shares in the next few years. He sees it happening because he said the electric vehicle “really is the future.”

“The pressure on the production of electric vehicles will increase significantly,” said Capone.

With the goal to grow

Capone speaks enthusiastically about his optimism for the growth of DocGo, once known as Ambulnx.

“DocGo’s prospects are very, very optimistic,” Capone said.

In early August, DocGo contracted to offer mobile healthcare services to members of Horizon Healthcare Services in New Jersey. The partnership includes Braven Health, a joint venture of Horizon and New Jersey’s largest health systems — Hackensack Meridian Health and RWJBarnabas Health — that offers Medicare Advantage plans to patients in the Garden State.

DocGo said the agreement with Horizon allows the company to offer its mobile health services to up to 3.8 million people.

James Dell’Arena, senior director of enterprise network contracting at Horizon, said in a statement that the agreement will make it easier for members to “get the care and services they need.”

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“DocGo offers Horizon and Braven members virtual and in-home options to receive a wide range of services, from annual wellness assessments and vaccines to diagnostic testing and disease assessments,” he said in the statement.

Capone hailed the deal as another step in the company’s growth. “This agreement allows us to offer our mobile healthcare services to a significant number of new patients in New Jersey, increasing our impact in the eastern region of the country,” he said in a statement last month.

On the West Coast, DocGo recently signed an agreement with LA Care Health Plan to provide mobile healthcare services to the Medicare and Medicaid population of Los Angeles.

Last month, DocGo announced that its revenue for the second quarter of 2022 grew to $109.5 million, compared to $62.2 million for the same quarter of 2021, an increase of 76%.

The company plans to create more than 600 clinical and operational positions in the second half of 2022.

Capone said earlier this summer Chief Physician in Health Care that doctors are brought to patients to make healthcare more efficient.

“DocGo’s childbirth care model brings care to you, whether in your home, in a group home, or in an emergency shelter…. Our ability to provide them with this care allows us to avoid extremely expensive care in a hospital,” said Capone.

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