Tens of millions of adults in the U.S. suffer from depression and anxiety. Yet the barriers to entry in mental health care—including holes in insurance coverage, a shortage of behavioral health providers and the burden of seeking help—mean most don’t receive treatment.
Concert Health wants to eliminate those roadblocks by leveraging primary care visits to connect patients directly with mental health care. The company just raised $42 million in series B funding to power its collaborative care model for behavioral health treatment.
Developed by the University of Washington, collaborative care helps providers connect patients showing symptoms of depression or anxiety with behavioral care managers, who follow up with the patient regularly to provide counseling, manage medication or monitor symptoms, depending on the patient’s needs.
Concert makes sure first follow-up happens quickly, usually within the same day as the primary care visit or the next day, over the phone or by video. Most patients speak with their Concert care manager two to five times a month for roughly half an hour at a time.
It’s an appealing structure with plenty of evidence behind it, co-founder and CEO Spencer Hutchins told Fierce Healthcare. But it’s expensive for many practices to build the offering on their own.
“A lot of primary care physicians would love the idea of same-day or next-day access to behavioral health services, documented right alongside them with a psychiatrist there to review and provide recommendations,” Hutchins said. “The care model made a lot of sense, but they weren’t dying to figure it all out themselves.”
Concert, then, steps in as a “full-service clinical partner, enabled by smart technology,” he said.
Founded in 2016, the company has served 27,000 patients to date, about 55% of whom are insured by Medicare or Medicaid.
The company has expanded beyond just primary care, too, partnering with hundreds of women’s health and pediatric practices. Some of Concert’s psychiatric consultants, who track patient progress over time to give treatment advice, also offer specialized services depending on the population they serve, like reproductive counseling for obstetrics.
Concert’s series B round was led by Define Ventures with participation from existing investors Healthy Ventures, Vertical Venture Partners and Townhall Ventures.
The startup also received strategic investments from CommonSpirit Health and Advent Health. Concert announced partnerships with AdventHealth in September 2021 and with CommonSpirit Health in October 2020.
The medical group currently partners with 54 medical groups across 11 states, with plans to expand their partnerships in Massachusetts and Washington, plus dive into the Arkansas market, this quarter.
Medicare started covering the collaborative care model in 2018, and most commercial insurers have since begun to cover it, too, according to Hutchins. Only 19 states insure collaborative care under Medicaid, though, and Hutchins says that to increase that number the healthcare industry “has to move together.”
“Ultimately, what collaborative care asks the primary care physician is to change some important things about the way she practices—screening patients universally for depression and anxiety, and providing warm handoffs to a care manager,” Hutchins said. “It’s very hard for them to do that on a plan-by-plan level. Everybody wants to practice medicine in a consistent way regardless of what organization happens to insure the patient that’s in front of them.”
Concert plans to dedicate some of the series B funding toward resources to push that point forward, Hutchins said.
Another portion of the round will be used to grow Concert’s quality and research teams as the startup considers applying the collaborative care model to ADD and ADHD in pediatric settings as well as for patients experiencing suicidal ideation.
The startup has raised $56.5 million to date, most recently grabbing $14 million in a series A funding round in January 2021 led by Vertical Venture Partners with participation from Town Hall Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank.