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Nearly 1 in 7 adults who live in California has a mental illness, with 1 in 26 having a serious mental illness, meaning one that makes it difficult to carry out daily activities. It's also a state where 61.8% of patients with mental illness go untreated, higher than the 55.9% nationally; the only states that have larger percentage are Florida, Georgia, and Hawaii.
Headway is a company that expands coverage for mental health: it not only matches patients with therapists, but it also partners with payers and providers, using its software to help those therapists get onto those insurance plans.
Now the company is announcing a major expansion, making its way to the Golden State.
Founded in 2016, Headway allows patients to find and immediately book an appointment on the calendar of an in-network provider; they are matched based on the patient's demographic, cultural, geographic preferences, and clinical needs.
More importantly, Headway's software does the work of handling insurance for the therapist: all they have to do is speak with one of Headway's Therapist Advocates to see if their practice is a good fit, after which they fill out a form online with the basic information needed to get them set up with insurance, thereby expanding the number of patients they can potentially see.
Part of the reasoning behind expanding to California, besides the above mentioned need, not to mention that it's the state with the highest population by around 10 million people, Headway also mentioned regulations that have been out in place in California that are meant to help patients seek care. Namely, the regulation requiring that patients have access to an initial in-network mental health care appointment within 10 days, something that was extended to to follow-up appointments as well in July of this year.
Headway believes it can do better: the company says it can get patients into a virtual or in-person appointment in as little as 48 hours; and on average patients attend their first appointment less than 6 days after online booking, and patients get their second appointment in 7.6 days.
Having now been in California for 30 days, the company says it has already built a network of providers across the state who are credentialed with select insurance providers. That network is made of providers who are nearly 60% non-white, with 30% who are fluent in a language other than English, 25% who support LGBTQIA+ needs, and 15% who identify as Asian American and Pacific Islander.
Along with California, Headway also currently operates in the District of Columbia, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. Headway is currently powering more than 2.5 million appointments annually and this year, the company has announced partnerships with providers including Empire BlueCross BlueShield, Carefirst BlueCross BlueShield, and BlueCross NC.
"The mental health care crisis in California could happen anywhere, and is a reflection of our country's broken system," Andrew Adams, founder and CEO of Headway, said in a statement.
"At Headway, we are helping to fix this crisis by simultaneously solving the barriers faced by providers, health plans, and the patients they serve. Headway's ground-breaking solution supports all stakeholders, enabling patients to receive timely mental health care that takes their insurance."
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