NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Empire BlueCross BlueShield (Empire) is announcing a suite of innovative companies that are joining the Empire provider network as the company works to respond to the growing needs for behavioral healthcare services in New York. A study from Mental Health America reported that in New York more than 58% of adults with a mental illness did not receive treatment, ranking New York 42 out of 50 states for this measure.1 To eliminate barriers to care and improve access, Empire has added Alma, Headway, NOCD, and Ophelia to the company’s network, all offering virtual options for behavioral healthcare.
“Behavioral health has an impact on nearly every aspect of our day-to-day lives, and as we work to support the whole health of our members, it’s important that we’re offering options to support these needs as well,” said Jordan Vidor, Regional Vice President, Provider Solutions, Empire BlueCross BlueShield. “The pandemic put pressure on the system, and it became very clear that we needed to identify creative solutions to meet the demand – that’s where our work with Alma, Headway, NOCD, and Ophelia comes into play, and we’re thrilled to make these options more accessible for more New Yorkers.”
Alma makes it easy for people to find mental healthcare by helping providers accept insurance and build thriving private practices. Empire’s commercial members can now access Alma’s providers at in-network rates. Members interested in behavioral health services can now search Alma’s free directory to find an in-network provider who fits their schedule and meets their needs. They can search New York therapists across diverse backgrounds, and filter by age, gender, specialty, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, therapeutic style, and specific concerns to ensure they find the perfect fit. Members can also work with Alma’s Client Matching team for a more personalized experience at no extra cost.
“We’re excited to be entering a partnership with Empire BlueCross BlueShield to increase access to diverse, equitable, and affordable mental healthcare for New Yorkers,” said Harry Ritter, founder and CEO, Alma. “We know that broadening our network to serve Empire members is pivotal to our mission to make care more accessible, and this expansion signifies an important step toward continuing to make that mission a reality.”
Headway is building a new mental healthcare system everyone can access by removing the barriers faced by providers, health plans, and the patients they serve. The company’s proprietary tech infrastructure supports mental health providers with administrative functions such as credentialing, scheduling, billing, and revenue cycle management, enabling them to focus their time on care delivery. Headway offers Empire’s commercial members the ability to immediately schedule an appointment in as soon as 48 hours, have price transparency upfront, and search for and select a provider that meets their clinical needs and preferences, such as race and ethnicity, language, LGBTQIA+, geography, in-person vs. virtual, and more. Since launching the Empire partnership in June 2022, Headway has already supported more than 4,000 behavioral health providers to actively practice in-network, with this number growing every week. Headway’s seamless online booking experience, rather than manual workflows, has resulted in the average Empire member attending their first appointment in 5.9 days, 2-3x faster than average. Members interested in behavioral health services from Headway should visit www.headway.co.
“As a patient who had difficulty finding in-network mental healthcare when I moved to New York years ago, I understand first-hand the need for better access to care,” said Andrew Adams, founder and CEO, Headway. “Since launching with Empire in June 2022, more than 5,300 Empire members have received mental healthcare through Headway, with the average time to care just 5.9 days. This is just the beginning of our rapid expansion nationwide as we work to build a new mental healthcare system everyone can access.”
NOCD is the #1 provider for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). NOCD helps adults, adolescents, and children (down to age five) reclaim their lives with clinically proven OCD treatment. Inside the NOCD platform, members can quickly access virtual, face-to-face therapy from a national network of licensed therapists who specialize in Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy, the “gold standard” for OCD treatment, as well as get support between sessions from peer communities and self-help tools. NOCD is now in-network for Empire members across all lines of business including commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid. Please visit the NOCD website for more information.
“OCD affects about 2.3% of the overall population, with 50% of people being considered high-acuity in a given year. That means hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are struggling today. Since access and affordability have always been a barrier to treatment, we are excited to announce NOCD therapy is covered by one of the largest insurers in New York. Hope can now be restored for people with OCD and their families,” said Robert Capobianco, President of Payer Markets, NOCD. “With so many people in need of high-quality behavioral health services, getting quick access to the right care is the first step in enabling people to regain their lives from this serious mental illness.”
Ophelia is on a mission to make evidence-based treatment universally accessible — with a focus on the 80% of Americans with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) who are unable to access care. Led by the leading experts in addiction medicine and psychiatry, they pair telemedicine with medication-assisted treatment (MAT), the most effective treatment for OUD. Ophelia is now in-network for Empire members across all lines of business including commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid. Members who believe they may benefit from Ophelia’s services should visit www.Ophelia.com to schedule a free welcome call.
“We are now a quarter of a century into the opioid epidemic and patients still cannot access lifesaving medication. Our nation needs to do better to ensure access to high quality care. The partnership with Empire is a huge stride in giving New Yorkers access to affordable OUD care," said Dr. Arthur Robin Williams, MD, MBE, Chief Medical Officer, Ophelia.
1 Mental Health America. Access to Care Ranking, Adults with Ami Who Did Not Receive Treatment. 2022. Available at https://mhanational.org/issues/2022/mental-health-america-access-care-data.
About Empire BlueCross BlueShield in New York
Serving New Yorkers for more than 85 years, Empire BlueCross BlueShield (Empire) is on a mission to materially and measurably improve the health of New Yorkers. Empire is the largest health insurer in New York supporting more than four million members and more than 38,000 business, union and small employers in New York. Empire is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Inc., and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice HMO, Inc., independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, serving residents and businesses in the 28 eastern and southeastern counties of New York State. Additional information about Empire is available at www.empireblue.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at @empirebcbs and on LinkedIn.
Alma is on a mission to simplify access to high quality, affordable mental health care by giving providers the tools they need to build thriving in-network private practices. Alma’s membership platform enables providers to manage insurance, billing, scheduling, client referrals, and continuing education, enabling them to focus on what matters most: delivering care to clients. Named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies In Health, learn more at www.helloalma.com.
Headway builds a new mental health care system everyone can access by removing the barriers faced by providers, health plans, and the patients they serve. The only company with a single network on a single tech infrastructure, Headway empowers health plans to seamlessly scale a next-generation mental health care program for all. The company powers 2.5 million appointments annually, and patients can book care in just one click, with most attending their first appointment in less than six days. More than 18,000 credentialed mental health providers across race, gender, ethnicity and specialty deliver care through Headway. Schedule an in-network session today at www.headway.co.
NOCD (https://www.nocd.com) is the #1 provider for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and the leading company driving Community-Driven Therapy, a new frontier in behavioral healthcare that leverages condition-specific peer communities to identify consumers in need of help, encourage them to begin treatment, and serve them in a highly personalized way. The company helps people reclaim their lives with clinically proven OCD treatment by removing barriers to care and reducing the stigma associated with OCD. Inside the NOCD platform, members can quickly access a national network of licensed therapists who specialize in Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy, the “gold standard” for OCD treatment. Working together with our therapists, patients, health plans, providers, and employers, NOCD is improving the lives of people with OCD. Please visit NOCD’s website for more information.
Ophelia is a digital provider of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD), committed to making evidence-based treatment universally accessible. Its mission is to remove barriers for the 80% of Americans with OUD who are unable to access care and the 50,000+ MAT-licensed clinicians who are unable to treat patients due to a lack of infrastructure, training, and support. At its core is the Ophelia Care Model, a team-based clinical model and software platform developed by leading experts in addiction medicine and psychiatry. Ophelia is contracted with Medicaid, Medicare, and Commercial insurers.