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Autism in children is on the rise: according to a CDC report from earlier this year, one in 54 kids is now diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), up 10 percent from just two years ago. And while this is obviously having a big effect on those children, it's also causing problems for their families as well, Jia Jia Ye, CEO of Springtide, a multi-site practice treating children with ASD, told me.
"When these families seek treatment, they encounter long waitlists, uncoordinated care, and are often left navigating the complexities of insurance and large costs on their own. Multiply this by the fact that many kids see multiple therapists, and so families must coordinate their child's care across multiple providers, calling for appointments, and driving to each office," she said.
"It can be an overwhelming process, and for some families, it can become almost a full time job."
Springtide is solving these problems by offering applied behavior analysis, speech and occupational therapies under one roof. The company helps coordinate all the care across all their therapists.
"We manage all the insurance paperwork, so it is convenient and affordable for families. We also have an extensive training process for all our therapists and staff, strong supervision and tech-enabled processes that ensure our clinicians operate with strong clinical excellence and outcomes," said Ye.
That approach has attracted the interest of investors: Springtide announced a $18.1 million Series A round of equity financing led by Deerfield Management Company and Optum Ventures. Along with the funding, the company also revealed that representatives from Deerfield and Optum Ventures have joined the board of directors at Springtide, and that Optum Ventures will provide the company with strategic guidance and support.
Launched this year by Redesign Health, Springtide's team is made up of senior leaders from companies such as Parsley Health, Cityblock Health, Oscar Health, and One Medical; Ye herself is a former executive at One Medical and Oscar.
The company offers its patients personalized treatment plans, and is able to reduce wait times to start treatment by taking all forms of insurance.
To access care, parents have to fill out a contact form or call Springtime, providing their insurance information; the company will then coordinate directly with the insurance company to confirm that the patient is eligible. Once that is confirmed, patients then have to complete a Functional Behavioral Assessment in order to develop a care plan.
After reviewing the personalized care plan, the child is paired with a behavioral therapist to begin ABA therapy. Other specialists in speech or occupational therapy will be brought in as needed, so the child gets all of their care under one roof. Springtide provides daily updates, as well as in-depth weekly reviews, with parents to keep them up to date on their child's progress.
Springtide says that from the first introductory call, it can process insurance, assess, and begin treatment in as little as seven days.
"We launched during the middle of COVID, and have seen an incredible response to our service. Many resources that are normally available to folks with autism are unavailable, like schools and camps, and families are eager to find care," Ye told me, noting that, despite only being around a short period of time, Springtide is already expanding to more locations.
"Parents see tremendous improvement in their kids skills and behaviors. We see the progress every day in person and through our data capture of kids skill acquisition, and we hear the feedback from families who tell us their lives have gotten less stressful, that they've seen progress in their kids, and that they can better communicate with their kids."
Springtide says it will use the funding from to enhance its clinical operations, which will be led by its founding Clinical Director, Dr. Tiva Pierce.
"We have a rigorous training process for all of our clinicians and staff. We offer enhanced supervision in-person and over video, and we offer data-driven lesson planning tools, and data driven performance and outcomes tracking," said Ye.
The company, which has offices in Connecticut and New York City, will also be expanding to new markets, specifically areas "that are underserved, and where there are kids who are seeking care but can not find it."
The ultimate goal of Springtide, Ye said, is to bring access to quality care for all kids with autism and other developmental delays.
"Our vision is to support our kids and families with a 24/7 model, starting with in-center care and expanding the Springtide way through a suite of unique technology tools across all settings, ranging from the home, to school, to any organization that supports kids with autism."
(Image source: myspringtide.com)
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