Concert Health, a tech-enabled behavioral health medical group, is teaming up with Mass General Brigham to expand behavioral health services through primary care.
The program will be rolled out across the health system’s primary care, pediatric and OB-GYN practices in Massachusetts, giving more than 400 primary care providers and their patients access to behavioral health services. Every insurance type in the state will be accepted.
Concert works to enable and scale collaborative care, which connects patients with symptoms to behavioral care managers who follow up with the patient regularly to provide counseling, manage medication or monitor symptoms. Its platform is meant to make it easy for large health systems and medical groups to seamlessly add its services to their offerings.
Concert connects with a referred patient within 24 to 48 hours and gets them into care by phone or video. At select locations around the country, Concert also co-locates at brick-and-mortar clinics.
“The definition of good primary care needs to include behavioral health integration,” Spencer Hutchins, Concert’s founder and CEO, told Fierce Healthcare. “A huge part of this model is having a shared care plan.”
Concert’s nearly 200 clinicians have direct access to patients’ medical records, which they update as needed. That makes the care more integrated for the primary care doc and offers a more holistic view of the patient. “It means busy doctors don’t have to look somewhere else,” Hutchins said.
Among the populations the two plan to focus on are those that are traditionally less likely to go into primary care settings and more likely to be resistant to mental health treatment, like the elderly, immigrants and men, Hutchins said.
Most plans have smaller copays for primary care, and collaborative care is considered a primary care benefit for patients. Patients also pay per month, as opposed to per session, making Concert overall more affordable than traditional behavioral health services, Hutchins said.
Concert is named after the idea of working alongside primary care physicians, “adding instruments to the primary care symphony,” Hutchins said. “By working in concert we can deliver exceptionally better experiences and outcomes for the patients we’re trying to serve together.”
The medical group has cared for more than 70,000 patients to date, more than half of whom are insured by Medicaid and Medicare. About 70% of patients referred to Concert end up going. They also end up sticking around, at an average of five to six months per patient, Hutchins said. It has worked with the likes of Mercy Health, Advent Health, Trinity and CommonSpirit.
Last year, the state’s Medicaid agency MassHealth launched a value-based payment model requiring primary care providers participating in its accountable care organization program to meet standards for team-based, integrated care. The model enables providers to deliver and be reimbursed for flexible, team-based care, making it easier to prioritize services like behavioral health support.
Concert and Mass General Brigham say their collaboration will help further expand the safety net for integrated care and make essential behavioral health services available to all insured patients, including those on Medicaid.