Behavioral health at home is increasingly popular

As patient care is increasingly delivered to the home, a number of home health providers are adding services to tap the $80 billion behavioral health sector. .

Some companies are offering in-home treatment and support for mild anxiety and depression, while others target more serious mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and more. bipolar disorder, substance abuse, and autism.

The growth is driven by increasing diagnoses of mental illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 5 adults has a behavioral health condition, and since the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more Americans are seeking treatment for depression and anxiety. concerned. Telehealth has made behavioral health care more accessible.

Home health care companies are also benefiting from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ requirement that went into effect in January requiring them to screen for depression and cognitive impairment during patient assessments. core.

Treating behavioral health conditions at home is not new. medicine, The nation’s second largest home health company, has provided home mental health therapy, education and emotional support to patients suffering from depression and anxiety over the past decade. .

Competitors are emerging in part because that could make them more attractive partners for health insurers. Addressing a patient’s mental health can improve their overall health and potentially reduce hospital admissions. Home treatment may also be less expensive than facility care. That combination can be a big selling point for home health companies when negotiating contracts with health insurers, especially Medicare Advantage organizations.

“You’ve got a better mousetrap,” says Laura Wilson, vice president of clinical strategy at healthcare consulting firm SimiTree. “From that perspective, you can come up with a reason why you should sit at the table.”

In January, the Dallas-based hospice and home healthcare company Taking care of Elara began providing behavioral health services to Medicare patients in 11 of the 16 states it serves. Social workers and nurses provide virtual and in-home counseling to treat Medicare patients with depression and anxiety. Psychiatric nurses treat patients with more serious mental health problems.

Elara Caring President and CEO Scott Powers said behavioral health has the potential to grow from 7% of the company’s revenue to 25%. “Demand is there,” Powers explains. “We just need to staff it for that.”

Several home healthcare providers are targeting niche segments of the market. bayada Home Health Care, which operates 380 offices in 24 states, is targeting home treatment for autism and other intellectual disabilities. Although behavioral health only accounts for about 1% of sales, CEO David Baiada said an increase in autism diagnoses could help it capture a larger share of the market.

“There is growth potential there,” Baiada said. “Our quality of care and high protection status as a non-profit will contribute to our advantage in the behavioral health market.”

creative health is targeting low-income Medicaid patients with chronic health conditions. The company has provided home care for patients with severe mental illness in Massachusetts for the past two decades and expanded into Colorado in April. Chief Executive Officer Joseph McDonough said increased funding for Medicaid home and community services through the American Rescue Plans Act has accelerated Colorado expansion and could help the company expand into other areas. other states.

Bringing mental health services into the home can also help fill gaps in rural communities where behavioral health providers at the nearest facility may be as far away as possible. 50 miles.

Angels Care Health at home is providing in-home behavioral health counseling and treatment to patients in 75 locations across nine predominantly rural states including Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. “We may be the only care they can get,” says Amanda Redlinger, the company’s director of behavioral health.


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