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ValueOptions, American Well envision national telebehavioral health network

June 27, 2012
by Dennis Grantham
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Now under development, telehealth network will take advantage of growing number of states that reimburse for telehealth services

 

ValueOptions and American Well have announced a partnership to bring critically-needed behavioral healthcare to patients, using the American Well Online Care telehealth solution to offer members immediate, live and clinically meaningful consultations. This telehealth solution will be offered through a national network of telehealth-enabled providers to be developed by ValueOptions. 
 
Using the Online Care solution, ValueOptions members will have secure and private access to skilled behavioral specialists from home, work or any location where they have Internet connectivity. Telehealth removes many barriers to healthcare such as distance, mobility and time constraints and can help lessen the stigma sometimes associated with behavioral health.
 
"Access to care is an issue for many," said Heyward Donigan, president and CEO of ValueOptions. "Growing demand for telebehavioral health services is evidenced by the speed at which reimbursement is accelerating. Today, 34 state Medicaid programs have recognized the need and the value of telehealth services. These 34 states already reimburse for such services, and 14 states are mandating telehealth reimbursement."
 
"Online Care telehealth allows us to bring behavioral health directly to our members," adds Dr. Hal Levine, chief medical officer of ValueOptions. "Whether location or transportation inhibits access, or perhaps a member is simply having trouble taking that important first step toward engaging available services, telehealth enables us to connect with the member where they are – not just where they are located, but where they are in mindset when it comes to seeking treatment."
 
ValueOptions expects that telehealth capabilities will reduce the rate of missed appointments and increase compliance, while complementing existing in-person services, improving health outcomes for members, and eventually reducing costs for the system of care.
 
"We look forward to joining forces with ValueOptions to increase access to the highest quality behavioral health," said Roy Schoenberg, MD, MPH, CEO of American Well Systems. "Behavioral health has become one of the most challenged areas in healthcare, and in parallel one of the most fertile grounds to benefit from telehealth. Higher patient need exacerbated by socio-economic vulnerabilities and geographical mismatch between supply and demand, position telehealth to play a transformative role as a much-needed solution."
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