IBC invests in firm to get members more mental health care

In another sign that investments in digital health are on the rise, Independence Health Group, the largest health insurance company in the Philadelphia area, has led a $60 million investment in Quartet Health, a New York tech company that Health Plans hired to connect members with mental health professionals. , The Independent reported on Thursday.

Independence began working with Quartet, which has a large venture capital backing from the likes of GV, formerly known as Google Ventures, in February. But with the investment, Independence CEO Gregory E. Devens took a seat on the Quartet’s board of directors.

Being an investor in the Quartet, not just a client, gives Independence an opportunity to influence the future of the Quartet, whose clients include Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and four other large Blue Cross insurance companies nationwide. Deavens would like to see the Quartet, founded in 2014, to develop capacity to serve children and teens, whose mental health needs have risen during the pandemic.

“This is a unique opportunity for us to help shape the future in terms of how our members get the behavioral and mental health support they need,” said Devens, who was in his first year as CEO of Independence, better known as Independence Blue Cross.

Read more: During the pandemic, the need for mental health care for children has risen.

Independence’s share of the quartet comes as investments in digital health companies are booming. During the first three quarters of the year, investors poured $21.3 billion into 541 digital health companies, up $14.6 billion from all of last year, according to Rock Health, which invests in and tracks the market. The San Francisco company said digital mental health companies were the top target this year.

The quartet is a tool that insurance companies provide to primary care physicians, who are increasingly screening patients for mental health conditions. Devins said it’s not an app where consumers can access treatment directly, although a direct consumer interface may come in the future.

If the doctor has a patient who may be depressed or anxious, the quartet makes it easy for the doctor to make a referral to an in-network therapist, Devins says. The quartet has access to the independence network, but does not provide treatment.

Devins said patients don’t pay for the quad service, but if their plan includes a joint contribution to mental health treatment, they will still be responsible for it when they receive care. Referral can lead to in-person or virtual therapy.

In the past eight months, more than 1,100 mental health and primary care physicians in southeastern Pennsylvania have signed up to use the Quartet, and more than 2,500 members have been linked to the Quartet’s platform of care, according to Independence, which has millions of members. nationally.

» Read more: Go to CVS for a mental health check.

Istiklal did not say how much was put into the Quartet.

Devins said Independence has been investing in young companies for seven to 10 years. In September, Independence’s Medicaid affiliate AmeriHealth Caritas invested $29 million in Wider Circle, a Redwood, California company, which aims to improve health by facilitating peer-to-peer social networking.

In June, Independence joined four other Blue Cross Blue Shield plans to form a pharmaceutical startup called Evio Pharmacy Solutions, which aims to counter the expected wave of cellular and genetic therapies with prices that could exceed $1 million.

The purpose of the investments, Devins said, is “to give us a glimpse into the new capabilities that early-stage companies are bringing to market to really help address some of the challenges we face in healthcare.”

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