Concert Health CEO talks collaboration with Mass General Brigham

Steven Loeb · October 4, 2023 · Short URL:

Over 400 primary care providers and their patients will have access to Concert Health

Since 2018, Concert Health has partnered with medical groups and health systems to connect patients with behavioral health services through their primary care doctor, pediatricians, or OB-GYN. Its licensed providers, behavioral care managers, and psychiatric consultants, are teamed up with a small number of practices and essentially become part of the patients’ core care team.

To date, Concert Health has cared for more than 70,000 patients. More than 60 medical groups and health systems are now using our services, allowing us to collaborate with over 4,600 primary care providers, pediatricians and OBGYNs across 17 states.

Now it will be seeing a major expansion as it announced a collaboration with Mass General Brigham on Tuesday, an integrated academic health care system, to expand behavioral health services delivered through primary care.

The launch program will be rolled out in Mass General Brigham’s primary care facilities throughout Massachusetts, giving more than 400 primary care providers and their patients access to Concert Health’s behavioral health services.

Spencer Hutchins, co-founder and CEO of Concert Health, spoke to VatorNews about the new collaboration, the gap the company is filling for Mas General Bingham, and what it means for Concert Health. 

VatorNews: Why was Mass General Brigham a good health system for Concert to offer its services through? What is Concert adding to their clinical services?

Spencer Hutchins: Mass General Brigham knows that good primary care needs to include behavioral health integration, and that the evidence-based Collaborative Care Model is the best way to deliver that most effectively from both a clinical and cost perspective. It was really their enthusiasm for the model, and the fact that the health plans and the state are stepping up in so many ways to really make this a reality, that makes this such a great fit.

We’re excited to help Mass General Brigham take that vision and scale collaborative care more effectively and efficiently.

VN: Is this your first collaboration in Massachusetts or had you already been available to patients in that state? 

SH: We have been servicing Massachusetts-based patients for about a year now through collaborations with Sturdy Memorial, Trinity Health, and Women's Health Connecticut (MA). 

We’re thrilled to be taking our Massachusetts operations to another level of scale with Mass General Brigham. 

VN: Walk me through how Mass General Brigham primary care doctors and their patients will access your platform. What will be different for each of them?

SH: Concert acts as an extension of a patient's primary care team. Our team of behavioral healthcare managers and psychiatric consultants seamlessly integrate directly into Mass General Brigham primary care providers’ existing workflows, ensuring a consistent level of care.

Providers refer their patient to Concert and we follow up within 48 hours – although it’s often that same day that we connect with the patient. 

Our care team work directly with the provider to create a customized care plan for each patient, and patients will meet regularly with their Concert behavioral healthcare manager by phone or video.

Our platform integrates into the referring providers EMR, ensuring ongoing shared access to the patient's progress and treatments. This integration also allows the entire care team to collaborate and make adjustments over time, throughout the patient's entire care journey.

VN: What kind of ROI do physicians and patients see thanks to Concert? Can you share any hard numbers? 

SH: First and foremost, we’re helping providers integrate these services directly into their clinical workflows. Our tech-enabled approach, including shared medical records, makes it simple for them to loop in our remote team of specialist clinicians and factor behavioral health concerns and improvements into a patient’s overall care plan.

It also makes it easier for patients to access these services and use them. For example, in typical community hospital settings only 30-40% of patients follow up with behavioral health referrals, and about 50% of those patients show up to only one therapy session. With Concert, direct access to these services via PCPs means that barriers to care (such as cost, availability, or even stigma concerns) are hugely reduced. Providers typically see more than 70% of referred patients engage with Concert, and those patients stick with it for longer. Our normal engagement with patients is 5-6 months on average.

As far as outcomes go, generally through collaborative care patients see a 50% reduction in their depression or anxiety symptoms within 90 days of beginning treatment. We consistently see improvement, including with health system partners such as Mercy Health. Mercy’s program included 150 clinics and 1,300 primary care providers across Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. The collaboration saw an adoption rate of 91%, and to date, Mercy’s providers have referred over 13,500 patients.

VN: What will you see as success in terms of this collaboration? What's the ultimate goal?

SH: The ultimate goal of this collaboration is straightforward: to increase access to high-quality behavioral health care for all patients across Massachusetts, including previously underserved populations.

It’s an especially exciting time for this collaboration with Mass General Brigham because state agencies are prioritizing integrated care. On the Medicaid side, Mass Health has made integrated behavioral health services a major priority and criteria for success in their new value based contract for primary care. And Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts have made a recent decision to create first dollar coverage with no copay responsibilities for our model.

We’re proud to be part of this shift, which shows that when health plans step up and make integrated behavioral health care a real priority it gives us an opportunity to service everyone and make it work for the front line primary care workforce.

VN: What's next for Concert Health? Where do you want to see the company in the next few years? 

SH: We’re going to continue doing what we always do: focus on providing excellent behavioral health care for patients and supporting as many primary care, pediatricians and OBGYNs as possible in collaboration with organizations such as Mass General Brigham.

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