Brave Health nabs $40M to scale up virtual mental health services for Medicaid members

Brave Health, a virtual-first behavioral health provider focused on serving Medicaid populations, has rapidly grown in the past three years. The startup now serves over 65 million covered lives across more than 200 health plan contracts in 18 states. 

To help fuel its ongoing growth, Brave Health secured $40 million in series C funding led by Town Hall Ventures. Existing investors Union Square Ventures, City Light Capital and other investors also joined in the funding round. It marks Town Hall Venture’s first investment from its newly-announced $350 million fund. Brave Health has raised $60 million to date.

The Miami-based company plans to use the capital infusion to continue building out its technology and data infrastructure to power patient engagement. Brave Health also aims to use the fresh cash to fund new value-based contracts in its existing markets and expand into new states.

Today, access to basic behavioral health services for the nation’s most vulnerable populations is a public health crisis, Anna Lindow, CEO, and co-founder of Brave Health, told Fierce Healthcare in an interview back in October. The percentage of psychiatrists accepting Medicaid has been cut in half in the past decade. With nearly one in four Americans now using Medicaid, this gap leaves many without access to the critical care they need.

Brave Health aims to "change the narrative about Medicaid-based innovation" and deliver sustainable solutions designed to improve behavioral health outcomes for millions of people, she said. The company focuses on expanding access to much-needed mental healthcare as well as improving patient engagement.

Brave Health offers a virtual alternative to traditional outpatient services, such as therapy, psychiatry, case management and medication-assisted treatment, for mental health and addiction that have traditionally been hard to access in local communities. The company offers same-day assessments and works closely with Medicaid case managers, providers and major Medicaid plans across the U.S. to increase patient engagement and lower overall costs of care, according to the company.

Brave Health developed data-driven, tech-enabled approaches and interventions that leverage the company’s integrated model and generates a more than 80% contact success rate, according to the company.

In practice, this approach allows Brave Heath to drive results around closing care gaps and reducing wait times for first-time appointments to as soon as the same day, which represents a radical improvement over the national average of 48 days, executives said.

Once individuals are engaged, Brave Health care teams composed of therapists, psychiatric providers, and peer support specialists work in close partnership with patients as well as other stakeholders like health plan case managers and other providers. By working within the system and sharing data and insights, Brave Health is able to drive better short- and long-term outcomes and reduce costs associated with events like potentially-preventable hospitalizations, driving as high as a 66% reduction in readmission-related costs.

Along with fee-for-service arrangements with state Medicaid plans, the company also inked value-based care contracts with Molina Healthcare of Texas and Centene’s Sunshine Health. This brings the total number of potential Medicaid members under Brave Health’s care in a value-based arrangement to more than one million. 

The startup is making strides to revamp the way mental health services are delivered and paid for on behalf of Medicaid populations across the country, said Andy Slavitt, general partner at Town Health Ventures.

“The team at Brave Health has demonstrated a commitment to doing the hard work of engaging the most vulnerable populations at their most vulnerable moments and getting them into ongoing care. And they’re taking on the accountability to improve patient outcomes and ultimately reduce the total cost of care,” Slavitt said in a statement.

Brave Health teams up with digital health companies and other providers to double down on meeting the need of Medicaid patients. The company teamed up with The Doula Network to provide virtual mental health support to expectant mothers on Medicaid.

Home-based healthcare technology company MedArrive also partnered with Brave Health to refer its customers who need behavioral health services to the virtual care provider. Through the collaboration, if MedArrive identifies an eligible health plan member in need of mental health support, MedArrive’s field providers can immediately refer that member to Brave Health’s behavioral health providers in real time and schedule care within 72 hours.

Partnering with the broader system is key to driving tangible results, according to Brave Health executives. Year to date in 2022, over 23,000 individuals have been referred to Brave Health for care, representing exponential growth since beginning work with health plans in 2019.