MVP Health Care launches Mental Health Connector, the first of Belong Medical Group's integrated clinical programs for chronic conditions designed to improve patient outcomes
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Belong Health Launches Belong Medical Group
PHILADELPHIA, January 9, 2023—Belong Health, a company dedicated to advancing patient-centered healthcare and reducing the cost of caring for underserved and complex populations, has announced the formation of Belong Medical Group to help its plan and provider partners address chronic gaps in patient care.
Belong Medical Group supplements existing care infrastructure with virtual and community-based resources to care for every member – even those that are historically hard to reach. The team includes operators, clinicians, registered nurses, licensed clinical social workers and community health workers with extensive experience serving high-needs populations.
Operating as a separate unit within Belong Health, Belong Medical Group is a transitional care organization that develops clinical programming and wraparound services to help plan partners, providers and provider groups care for members with chronic conditions during changes in their care plans. This improves patient outcomes while reducing overall costs.
Bridging Gaps in Care
Dual eligible members require more specialty care, particularly in the areas of behavioral health and palliative care. Patients with mental illness combined with one or more chronic conditions average three-times the medical spend compared to patients without mental illness. Almost 45% of dual-eligible patients fall into this category. Belong Medical Group was built to serve high-needs patients, including the 11 million D-SNP members with complex issues, low incomes, and pre-existing conditions, to improve outcomes and reduce costs.
"The clinician shortage in the U.S. continues to worsen and existing care delivery models fail to meet the needs of patients, particularly those that are dually eligible,” said Belong Health CEO J. Patrick Foley. “Belong Medical Group is an innovative new model of care delivery that ensures the full integration of services, reduces fragmented care and drives operational efficiencies.”
By providing transitional care, Belong Medical Group helps plans serving D-SNP beneficiaries and providers participating in ACO REACH by:
- Bridging gaps in care through home-based and virtual specialty care services delivered by trusted members of Belong Medical Group’s Clinician and Care Management team.
- Ensuring equitable access to care in urban and rural areas by meeting patients where they are.
- Seamlessly integrating with the provider community to ensure that care is coordinated with their local provider for longitudinal care.
Mental Health Connector
Mental Health Connector is the first clinical solution available through Belong Medical Group. It serves patients without a current mental health provider or those with worsening chronic mental illness. These patients are identified during health risk assessments or hospital and ER admissions as having unmet mental health needs that require follow up. MVP Health Care, a regional not-for-profit health insurer serving New York and Vermont, is the first to offer Mental Health Connector to its members.
"Since the inception of our pilot program with Belong Medical Group, we have witnessed notable improvements in the depression scores of our members who have sought care from our dedicated Mental Health Connector clinicians,” said Dr. Carl Cameron, MVP Health Care’s Chief Medical Officer. “This heartening progress reinforces our belief that collaborative efforts can truly shape a brighter future for those with diverse health care needs. Belong Health and Belong Medical Group stand as trusted partners who share our unwavering dedication to providing high-quality care to a complex population. We value their expertise and their commitment to working hand-in-hand with us, ensuring that our members receive the comprehensive support they need.”
Patients enrolled in Mental Health Connector receive treatment from Belong Medical Group's clinicians for up to 90 days. The treatment plan put in place by Belong Medical Group’s psychiatrist or mental health specialist is then transitioned to either the patient's PCP for ongoing management, or to a longitudinal mental health clinician in the community. The goal is to both diagnose and address unmet mental health needs when patients need it most and then to triage the right level of care for the patient long-term once the issues are stabilized. This bridge to longitudinal care not only reduces the cost of care, it improves quality scores.
“These programs are essential. We need to meet patients where they are to help them better stick to their care plans during transitional phases,” said Dr. Ramon Jacobs-Shaw, President of Belong Medical Group and Chief Clinical Officer at Belong Health. “Too many people, especially seniors and dually eligible individuals, have needs that are not met by the existing care delivery landscape. Belong Medical Group provides smarter and more targeted services to those patients to make sure their needs are fulfilled, improving outcomes and overall community health.”