MDLive expands to offer behavioral telemedicine services in all 50 states

By Heather Mack
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Telemedicine provider MDLive, which has a behavioral health network of more than 1,300 mental health professionals, is now offering virtual psychiatric services with contracted psychiatrists in all 50 states.

MDLive originally launched behavioral health services in November 2014 after they acquired online behavioral therapy provider Breakthrough Behavioral. Since that acquisition, the company reports it has conducted more than 50,000 virtual mental health visits and is now available to more than 10 million Americans as a covered benefit through their healthcare plans, as well as direct to all consumers for the price of a copay.

MDLive claims it is the first telemedicine company to offer behavioral health services in all 50 states, which it says is critically needed at a time when mental health services are still not readily accessible to many Americans even though there is an estimated one in five people with a diagnosable mental disorder and the current wait time to see a professional averages 30 days.

“Part of the mental health crisis in the US is due to the difficulty in finding and accessing qualified mental health practitioners in urban and rural areas,” MDLive CEO Scott Decker said in a statement. “With nearly 80 million Americans living in areas experiencing a mental health professional shortage, we’re proud to be the first telemedicine provider to offer individuals across the country access to quality, convenient, private and affordable mental healthcare.”

The company isn’t the only one in the behavioral health video visit space. Startup WeCounsel offers a telehealth platform to behavioral health providers to connect with their patients remotely, and Talkspace provides a standalone platform patients can sign up for to connect with a network of over 1,000 therapists through messaging, video and audio visits. But what sets it apart is its national reach of services, especially the ability to prescribe medication in every state.

The company has many large, notable partnerships with payers like Humana (which offers MDLive’s services to their Medicare Advantage members), Cigna and Independence Blue Cross. They also formed an initial telemedicine partnership with Walgreens just a month after the acquisition of Breakthrough Behavioral, although behavioral health was not immediately part of the services, which users can access through the Walgreens app. Walgreens subsequently expanded telehealth offerings to 25 states in 2015 before finally adding behavioral health virtual visits in 2016.

“The need for virtual behavioral health is staggering,” Larry Gleit, executive vice president and general manager of MDLive Behavioral Health said in a statement.“More than 4,000 counties in the US – at least one in every state - have a mental health professional shortage, so it’s not surprising that 60 percent of adults with a mental illness did not receive mental health services in the previous year. We are proud to be able to provide consumers access, regardless of where they live, to counseling and psychiatric services in a secure, easy to use and convenient way.”