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CareFirst, Headway partner to improve access to mental healthcare

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield introduced a collaboration this week with Headway, a tech firm that goals to simplify the method for accessing psychological well being care.  

By the partnership, New York Metropolis-based Headway is offering its software program platform to psychological well being suppliers on CareFirst’s community, which providers individuals in Maryland, Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia, mentioned Brian Wheeler, CareFirst vice chairman of supplier collaboration and community transformation.

CareFirst presently has 1000’s of impartial psychological well being practitioners that members have entry to. With Headway, which was based in 2019 and likewise works with Aetna, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare, these practitioners have the chance to hitch the corporate’s software program platform for free of charge. By the platform, members can search based mostly on the care they want, and Headway will present all of the suppliers in CareFirst’s community that joined the platform and meet members’ preferences.

A big behavioral well being observe usually has a web site, on-line scheduling, receptionists and different options that simplify accessing care. Solo practitioners don’t all the time have that, Wheeler mentioned.

“It’s a problem for our solo practitioners as a result of they’re attempting to run their enterprise as a solo practitioner and help their shoppers, their sufferers, however they don’t have the infrastructure and it’s laborious for our members,” Wheeler mentioned. “As a result of in the event that they had been going to try to discover entry to a type of social employees, for instance, or psychologists, they could must make a dozen cellphone calls and depart voicemail messages to have an appointment that may go well with their wants.”

Members of CareFirst can entry Headway by going by means of the well being plan’s supplier listing. They’ll then go to Headway’s web site by way of laptop or cellphone and discover a supplier that may be a match for them. Members can choose sure preferences — together with race, language, geography, in-person/digital — and Headway’s platform will give them an inventory of choices in CareFirst’s community. If members discover a practitioner they’re involved in, they will guide straight from Headway’s platform. By including insurance coverage particulars, members can see the price of care upfront and are billed after the session by means of the software program.

Beneath the partnership, CareFirst pays Headway for its providers. Headway engages in value-based contracts with its payers, which means it will get paid based mostly on efficiency, CEO Andrew Adams mentioned. CareFirst is keen to entrance the prices so its impartial practitioners can develop their care, Wheeler mentioned.

CareFirst started trying to find a associate to assist impartial behavioral well being suppliers by means of know-how in Fall 2021 and finally chosen Headway as a result of it provided the easiest-to-use know-how, Wheeler mentioned. He declined to share what different firms CareFirst evaluated. Different psychological well being startups embrace Ginger and Trendy Well being, however most contract with employers on to cowl digital remedy providers as a profit, whereas Headway focuses on the executive course of, MedCity beforehand reported. 

“Headway had the know-how suite that was essentially the most user-friendly,” Wheeler mentioned. “We had been trying to create a win-win for each our supplier companions and our members and Headway introduced all of it collectively in essentially the most progressive manner.”

Inside a yr, the hope is to have a number of hundred to 1,000 practitioners signed up on Headway’s platform, Wheeler mentioned. It additionally hopes so as to add practitioners to its community by working with Headway.

“There are a variety of impartial practitioners within the behavioral well being area that don’t take part with insurance coverage firms simply due to the executive work … Maybe we will get some of us who haven’t participated with insurance coverage networks to return into the community by means of Headway as a result of it’s simpler that manner,” Wheeler mentioned.

Along with rising its community, CareFirst’s final objective by working with Headway is to make entry to behavioral healthcare simpler for its members and enhance well being outcomes, Wheeler mentioned.

“If we will do this and actually develop the variety of impartial practitioners which can be organized below the umbrella of Headway over the subsequent 12 months, it should have been an awesome success.”

Photograph: Pornpak Khunatorn/Getty Photos

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