A federal judge ordered a UnitedHealth Group subsidiary to revamp its behavioral health claims processing after the insurer wrongfully denied mental health and substance use disorder treatment coverage to tens of thousands of its members. Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero wrote that United Behavioral Health manipulated internal guidelines to deny mental health coverage so it could “protect its bottom line.”
Responding to the continued public health crisis of opioid addiction in the US, Behavioral Health Group (BHG), the largest network of Joint Commission-accredited outpatient opioid treatment and recovery centers in the US, announced Wednesday their expanding footprint and service lines with the acquisition of Wellness Ambulatory Care in Knoxville, TN. The business employing 16 clinicians, counselors, and staff will become known as BHG Medical Services — Knoxville. Wellness Ambulatory Care complements BHG in both staffing model and scope of services, prescribing both buprenorphine and naltrexone to patients with opioid use disorder. Patients also receive behavioral health and counseling services, as well as access to intensive outpatient programming designed to help stabilize more acute patients and lay the stage for their long-term recovery.
When Hims first launched in 2017, the direct-to-consumer telemedicine startup billed itself as a men’s wellness brand focused on providing access to treatment for stigmatized gender-specific conditions such as hair loss and erectile dysfunction. Since then, however, the company has drastically expanded its reach to become a multi-specialty virtual care platform, connecting consumers to licensed health care professionals nationwide via telehealth. It introduced a women’s health arm known as Hers in 2018 and continues to lengthen the list of conditions it can treat. Mental health services are one of its newest offerings.
GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation (GuideWell), the parent to a family of forward-thinking companies focused on transforming health care including Florida Blue, Florida’s leading health insurer, announced that it has signed an agreement to become the majority shareholder of New Directions Behavioral Health (New Directions), a leading managed behavioral health care organization. GuideWell, currently a minority shareholder of New Directions, will acquire all interests from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan as part of the transaction. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas and BlueCross Blue Shield of Louisiana will remain minority shareholders of New Directions.
Kaden Health, Inc. (Kaden) announced Thursday that Magellan Health, Inc. (NASDAQ: MGLN) has made a strategic minority equity investment in the New York-based digital behavioral health company. Through the collaboration, Kaden’s proprietary behavioral telehealth program and platform will be provided to Magellan’s customers, members and patients as well as providers. Kaden’s advanced technologies position the company as a prime enabler for Magellan in providing behavioral health services at scale and virtually – a key consideration given the COVID-19 epidemic which has only accelerated the need to increase access to effective, evidence-based mental health services.
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic continues to roil the healthcare landscape financially, mergers and acquisitions remain robust thanks to heavy interest in the mental health and telehealth sectors, one expert says. Providers have faced major declines in patient volume since the onset of the pandemic. But experts at the firm PwC say financial constraints haven’t cooled deals in the healthcare space. “This is an interesting recession with a tremendous amount of liquidity in markets,” said Manoj Mahenthiran, head of the private equity sector practice at PwC, in an interview with Fierce Healthcare. “What we are still seeing is that for the right assets, prices really haven’t gone down.”
After months of coronavirus-related deal delays, mergers and acquisitions have finally started to pick back up in the behavioral health industry. In fact, Q3 was marked by 26 deals, two more than the industry saw a year earlier in Q3 2019, according to the M&A firm Mertz Taggart. And things will only continue to go up from here, M&A experts predict. Specifically, they anticipate 2021 will start strong and stay that way, buoyed by demand for behavioral health organizations of all shapes and sizes.
Blue Sprig Pediatrics, Inc. (“BlueSprig”) announces that it has acquired the assets of the Michigan based Momentum Autism Therapy Services (“Momentum”). Momentum is a center and home-based provider of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy services treating children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. “We are proud to partner with the team at Momentum and excited about the opportunity to expand into Michigan,” said Keith Jones, President and CEO of BlueSprig. “Moving into a new area to serve a population in need of high-quality services, advocacy, and awareness is paramount to our mission.”
Teladoc Health (NYSE: TDOC) has released findings from its latest mental health data highlighting how the persistent issues of 2020 – including the economic, health, environmental and societal crises – are impacting the mental health of Americans, and showing how virtual care is stepping up to meet the growing need. While there are consistencies with previously published studies demonstrating surging demand for mental health services among Gen Z and Millennials, use of Teladoc Health’s mental health services are now also being used at record rates by groups who have not been known for embracing mental health care in the past.
American Addiction Centers’ bankrupt corporate parent won court approval of its reorganization plan that hands the company over to junior secured lenders. Senior lenders, with claims of about $55.7 million, will be paid cash from the proceeds of whatever assets the company sells as well as a new exit loan, according to the plan. Junior secured creditors, holding claims of about $450.6 million, will take all the equity in the company exiting bankruptcy.
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