COVID-19 Unmasked: Mental Health | Valera Health Expands Telemental Health Services to Support CDPHP Members

Valera Health has officially expanded its telemental health services to members of the Capital District Physicians Health Plan (CDPHP). Members can now receive care in the comfort and safety of their own homes. First announced in 2019, CDPHP will employ Valera’s digital tools and advanced data analytics to amplify the impact of clinical services and maximize patient engagement and outcomes.

Since onset of the COVID-19 crisis, CDPHP has seen tele-mental health and substance use-related visits go from under 20 to more than 120 visits per day, along with an increase in after-hours crisis line utilization, which are consistent with statewide and national trends. The partnership addresses the need for better access to mental health services for the 370,000 plus members in the CDPHP service area. CDPHP members can access Valera’s secure telehealth platform through Valera’s website, or by contacting a representative at the CDPHP Behavioral Health Access Center.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the pandemic and social isolation can increase stress and anxiety, and these feelings are also known to increase the risk of suicide. The CDC recommends focusing on emotional well-being and seeking treatment via in-person or telehealth services.

At CDPHP, we believe in entering into and expanding upon partnerships that give our members access to the care they need most, the very moment they need it. Supplementing the mental health and tele-mental health services already being provided by our physician network will aid in addressing the overall wellbeing of our entire community.

John D. Bennett, MD, president and CEO of CDPHP

What is complete mental health care?

Valera’s believes that good care places the patient (you) at the center of it. Earlier this year, Valera Health launched its personalized telemental health model with the goal of reducing barriers to care and connecting patients to treatment across the entire spectrum of mental health needs. Individuals seeking care through Valera are matched with an appropriate provider following an initial consultation with a behavioral health specialist. With Valera as a partner, the CDPHP remains committed to bringing on innovative models that focus on quality, access, and high-performing team-based care.

Valera’s care team includes licensed social workers and mental health counselors, nurse practitioners, and psychiatrists. The service is wrapped with a proven digital application that monitors patient conditions using mood assessments and offers curated, personalized content.

Case Study

Leveraging Digital Technology to Improve Behavioral Health Integration with Primary Care (Source)

In 2015, Montefiore Health System began implementing a program designed to better integrate mental health with primary care. Called the Collaborative Care Model (CoCM), the focus is to improve care for both pediatric and adult patients with mental health conditions, including depression, post traumatic stress disorder, general anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and alcohol use disorder. Montefiore used grant money from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to design, implement, and sustain a model that would increase the availability of behavioral services. Montefiore also piloted Valera Health to optimize the effectiveness and efficiency of the CoCM for case managers.

Results & Challenges

Patients using the Valera app showed higher engagement and follow-up rates compared to patients not using the application, with a 73% patient satisfaction rate and patient-provider contacts per month increasing three-fold. Furthermore, patients using the app received a follow-up contact an average of 8 days after their initial clinical appointment, whereas patients not using the app had their first follow up an average of 19 days later. Improving timeliness of follow ups early in treatment is significant, given research demonstrating these early contacts correlate with better clinical outcomes.

Although many providers adjusted to the new model, it takes time for the providers and patients to become comfortable with new care resources and to subsequently incorporate them into clinical workflows. Also, the patients recruited in the pilot included a high proportion of Medicaid patients whose use of smartphones is generally less sophisticated and required a lot of initial assistance in downloading the application.

CDC Resource List: Take care of your mental health

You may experience increased stress during this pandemic. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.

Get immediate help in a crisis

Find a health care provider or treatment for substance use disorder and mental health

About CDPHP

Established in 1984, CDPHP is a physician-founded, member-focused and community-based not-for-profit health plan that offers high-quality affordable health insurance plans to members in 26 counties throughout New York. CDPHP is also on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram

About Valera Health

Valera Health is a telemental health service company that offers team-based care across the entire spectrum of mental health needs, from behavioral health coaching and therapy, to medication management and psychiatry.  Valera also offers a behavioral health engagement platform to payers, providers, and health systems.

About Montefiore Health System

Montefiore Health System is one of New York’s premier academic health systems and a recognized leader in providing exceptional quality and personalized, accountable care to approximately three million people. Locations for Montefiore include The Bronx, Westchester, and the Hudson Valley.

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