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SD Startup Bridges Gap Between Mental Health, Primary Care

HEALTHCARE: Concert Health Connects Docs, Patients, Clinicians

San Diego-based startup Concert Health is helping patients gain quicker, streamlined access to behavioral health clinicians directly through their regular primary care providers (PCPs), pediatricians or OBGYN providers.

The local behavioral health medical group can give patients same-day access to their roster of expert mental health clinicians and psychiatric consultants, eliminating the often frustrating wait times that come with seeking behavioral health.

“Concert offers a patient-centered, team-based care approach that integrates proper behavioral health assessment and intervention shortly following a referral from the primary care provider (PCP),” Concert Health CEO and Cofounder Spencer Hutchins told the  Business Journal. “Patients are no longer dependent on external referrals or being ‘waitlisted’ to community providers and are usually contacted within 24 to 48 hours of the referral.”

Hutchins explained that Concert Health’s clinicians treat patients by video or telephone. After establishing a connection with assigned patients, they use evidence-based interventions to help reduce symptoms and meet goals.

“Psychiatric consultants review patient charts and make recommendations on both medication and other treatment considerations to the care team. Patient progress is measured and tracked, and care recommendations are shared with the provider through the [Electronic Health Record],” he added.

Since its launch in 2016, Concert Health has implemented a University of Washington-developed integrated behavioral health model called Collaborative Care (CoCM) which identifies and treats common mental health conditions like depression and anxiety that require systematic follow-up because of their persistent nature. Using CoCM, Concert Health’s clinicians and psychiatric consultants work in tandem with the patient’s regular primary care team.

Hutchins believes this model is critical for breaking down the traditional barriers to accessing behavioral health services. Patients who live in underserved communities may have limited means of transportation, stable housing and income that would otherwise prevent access to care. Couple that with a national shortage of behavioral health professionals.

“While many digital health companies have come forward in the last few years with a direct-to-consumer model for behavioral health, care can be expensive and out of reach for much of the population,” added Hutchins. “Concert is focused on integrating these services into the care the patient is already receiving. We’re also focused on covering both patients who are on a commercial insurance plan and those covered by Medicaid and Medicare.”

PCPs may benefit, too. Concert Health believes it’s arming them with the additional support they need to properly care for their patients. “Behavioral health is often tied into primary care services, with as many as 75% of primary care visits including a behavioral health component…The pandemic has exacerbated the longstanding crisis of behavioral health care access – leaving PCPs to care for patients they feel unable and unequipped to manage,” added Hutchins.

With its headquarters in San Diego and virtual teams throughout the country, Concert Health has now grown to include more than 300 employees – more than half of whom are clinicians. The group doesn’t currently work with any health networks in San Diego, but one of its partners – CommonSpirit Health – operates 23 care sites in California. Concert Health has now partnered with more than 60 medical groups in 17 states, reaching more than 52,000 patients.

Looking forward, Hutchins plans to focus in part on advocacy efforts by working with state legislatures to raise awareness about the positive impact of Collaborative Care. “We aim to champion the integration of Collaborative Care model services into reimbursement programs across states, ensuring that individuals have access to comprehensive and effective behavioral health,” he added.

Concert Health

FOUNDED: 2016
FOUNDER & CEO: Spencer Hutchins
HEADQUARTERS: Downtown
EMPLOYEES: 320, including more than 190 clinicians
BUSINESS: healthcare
WEBSITE: concerthealth.com
CONTACT: connect@concerthealth.com
NOTABLE: In 2022, Concert Health raised $42M series B financing to scale quality behavioral health services nationwide, bringing its total raised funding to $56.5M.

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