Highmark, a Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated payer, has announced a collaboration with connected behavioral health company Quartet Health. Highmark will initially roll out the program for members in Western Pennsylvania.
“Physical and mental health go hand-in-hand, but recent studies have highlighted difficulties in coordinating treatment of both,” Highmark Health Plan President Deborah Rice-Johnson said in a statement. “Undiagnosed and untreated mental illness jeopardizes our members’ ability to care for their health, and can make it especially difficult for them to effectively manage chronic conditions. To help, Highmark is retooling its care management program to better identify and resolve any clinical, social and behavioral challenges that could potentially block members from receiving the care they need.”
Through this partnership, Quartet will help primary care physicians pinpoint which patients may need behavioral health support. Primary care physicians can then use the service to refer patients using Quartet’s referral network. Members can use Quartet Health to communicate with a psychiatrist via video or phone, participate in online treatment programs to help manage conditions, view resources and health information to learn about cognitive conditions, and connect with peers.
“Everyone knows someone who is struggling with a behavioral health issue,” Highmark Medical Director of Behavioral Health Dr. Duke Ruktanonchai said in a statement. “And, at the national level, people are not getting the help they need in a timely fashion. Many primary care physicians don’t believe they have the time or expertise to deal with the complex nature of behavioral health issues. Layer on the fact that, in our current environment, referrals to specialists can take weeks or months. And top it off with the reality that people often delay seeking help until they are at a point of crisis. This is a critical situation in need of an urgent solution.”
This news comes just a month after Quartet Health raised $40 million in a round led by GV, formerly Google Ventures, with participation from existing investors Oak HC/FT Partners, F-Prime Capital Partners, and Polaris Partners. At the time, Quartet Health CEO Arun Gupta said the company plans to hire 100 people over the next year to its 60-member team.