Solera expands mental health network with new partners Ginger and eMindful

a coffee cup next to a pad of paper and pencil and a smartphone with a screen shot of the Ginger app
Solera had planned to add Headspace and Ginger to its network independently before its merger with Headspace was announced, CEO Mary Langowski said. (Ginger)

Solera Health, a platform that links people with a curated collection of health solutions, is adding mental health companies Ginger and eMindful to its network of partners.

Ginger, a provider of on-demand virtual mental health care, and eMindful, which offers evidence-based mindfulness programs, will join Solera’s mental and behavioral health network, where an algorithm will connect patients with the programs best suited to their needs.

Previously, Solera announced a partnership with meditation and mindfulness app Headspace in June.

The inclusion of two more providers rounds out what the company considers its “MVP network,” CEO Mary Langowski told Fierce Healthcare.

“This proliferation of digital vendors is making it a lot easier for people to access these services, and addressing what is a real crisis in this country, not just among older adults but among younger adults as well who don’t want to access these systems in a traditional way,” she said.

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In October, Ginger and Headspace merged to create Headspace Health, a $3 billion mental health company reaching 100 million consumers, according to the new company.

But Langowski said Solera had already planned to add Ginger to its network before it knew a merger was coming.

“We always planned to have an end-to-end solution, so it was always our intent to launch with these providers, but we launched early with Headspace because the demand was so high,” she said, adding that news of the merger was “very affirming” to Solera.

RELATED: Headspace, Ginger finalize merger to form $3B mental health company

The additions of Ginger and eMindful to the company’s network aim to address different degrees of patient need. Ginger will primarily address high-acuity patients, while eMindful will address medium-acuity cases, Solera said.

Ginger has behavioral health coaches available at all hours with options to connect with therapists and psychiatrists, while eMindful hosts thousands of expert-led mindfulness sessions as well as on-demand content for issues like anxiety and depression.

The three solutions in Solera's mental health network have been independently supported by clinical data. That’s important, Mary said, because the company uses value-based care agreements—if a solution doesn’t help patients, it won’t help Solera’s business, either.

“We’re able to create a really accountable payment structure,” she said. “They have to prove their program works from a clinical perspective."

Many employers have begun to offer mental health services through their employee health plans in recent years, especially as millions more in the U.S. report experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the midst of a nationwide supply-demand crisis in mental healthcare, employers and plans are expanding their commitment to offering comprehensive digital platforms that provide both preventative and higher-acuity care to millions of employees and members,” said Dana Udall, Ph.D., chief clinical officer at Ginger, in a statement. “We're thrilled to partner with Solera to bring Ginger’s high-quality, digital mental health services to their growing portfolio of employers and plans at a fraction of the cost of traditional care.”

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Solera gives payers and employers an advantage with its ability to connect patients with the health solution that’s right for them, Langowski said, rather than contracting with a single company that only addresses a sliver of the population.

“We’re covering a bunch of different conditions, so the payers and employers work with us because through a single contract and single IT integration, they have access to all of these different networks,” she said.

The company offers programs for weight management, diabetes prevention and tobacco cessation in addition to mental and behavioral health care.

Looking forward, Langowski said Solera is “absolutely” considering adding more partners to its mental and behavioral health network, especially to address demand in care niches like obsessive-compulsive disorder and substance abuse issues.

“We’re doing a scan of the space to really make sure our offering is end-to-end,” she said.

Langowski said the company plans to announce another program for “a very high-priority condition” in the next two weeks, with more announcements slated for the first quarter of 2022.