Valera Health, a behavioral healthcare management startup that developed an app to help clinicians remotely monitor patients with anxiety and depression, added Wisconsin health maintenance organization Group Health Cooperative of Eau Claire to its customer base in a multiyear contract. The payer also wants to use Valera’s program to support patients receiving treatment for opioid addiction, according to a company release.
Tsang also noted that his company closed a $3.4 million Series A round late last year with investment from Trinnovate Ventures — the venture arm of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. Tsang said the company would use the funding to add staff in business development and bolster its team of software programmers.
Although the app is focused on care management for people with anxiety and depression, Valera Health is also interested in depression as a comorbidity, which can make some conditions more challenging to treat. With Montefiore Medical Center, Tsang said the provider had expanded the use cases for its app to OB-GYN clinics to treat perinatal and postpartum depression.
Montefiore Medical Center is working around the specialist shortages by implementing digital tools, funded by a grant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). The most recent example is their 238 patient pilot with Valera Health, makers of a smartphone app and platform to improve treatment of anxiety and depression.
Primary care physicians retained their role as leaders of the patient’s care, but care managers – typically bachelor’s degree-level employees – acted as the main contact for the patients. By using the Valera app and platform, care managers were able to assess patients for anxiety and depression (and score them from mild, moderate or severe), and engage them in secure, two-way text messaging, tailored educational content and appointment reminders. The results were higher patient engagement, improved symptoms or even remission of anxiety and depression in patients, and an increase in the number of patients care managers could handle.
Dr. Henry Chung, who is the chief medical officer of Montefiore’s Care Management Organization as well as the executive project director of the Behavioral Health Integration Program, said the technology was able to increase engagement more than triple the number they had seen in regular integrative approaches,
Chung said in many Medicaid populations – which makes up the majority of Montefiore’s Bronx clinic patient population – tech adoption is usually less than 30 percent, but the Valera Health pilot saw engagement up to 68 percent. Over a period of three months, patients and care managers touched base an average of 14 times, versus three times in the same period with basic phone call strategies.
“It also really increased the efficiency factor for care managers. They can handle up to 120 people, and it doesn’t put a burden on them because the technology makes it so easy,” Chung said.
Valera Health currently works with five organizations that have more than 80,000 contracted lives. Part of the company’s goal, like other companies in this sector, is to contextualize behavioral health data with physical healthcare.
Source – MediCity News https://medcitynews.com/2018/01/valera-health-adds-payers/?rf=1