DURHAM, NC and NEW YORK, NY – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) and Quartet today announced a new statewide initiative that will work to integrate mental health into primary care. The two companies will support collaborative care teams at the local level, placing both primary care and mental health providers at the center of patient care. This integrated care model will improve access to mental health care, in turn improving patient health outcomes.
This collaboration highlights Blue Cross NC’s commitment to building an innovative strategy to address mental health and substance use disorders, and its recognition of Quartet as a key element of its shift to a value-based system. Together, the two companies will focus on helping primary care doctors:
● Identify patients with underlying mental health conditions. Through the combination of Blue Cross NC practice support and Quartet’s technology platform, physicians will have the support they need to diagnose patients.
● Connect those patients to the right care at the right time. The collaboration will give physicians data and resources to help them easily refer patients to a trusted network of mental health providers.
“For too long our health care system has failed to recognize the role behavioral health plays in overall health and well-being, including financial well-being,” said Patrick Conway, MD, President and CEO of Blue Cross NC. “This agreement with Quartet will give physicians the data and resources they need to make behavioral health an essential, accessible part of patient care across North Carolina.”
Both Blue Cross NC and Quartet believe that mental health should be treated just like any other health condition. In the United States, one in five people experience a mental health condition, and over fifty-percent do not receive treatment or support. Nearly 70 percent of adults with mental health conditions also have a medical condition.1 Moreover, nearly one-third of those with a medical condition also have a comorbid mental health condition,2 leading to poor physical and mental health outcomes and increased healthcare spending.
Collaborative care – an evidence-based model for integrating mental health treatment into primary care – is highly effective, both for improving total health outcomes and driving down health care costs.3 Through this initiative, Quartet and Blue Cross NC will support widespread implementation of such models for integrated care across North Carolina.
Blue Cross NC and Quartet will jointly engage primary care physicians and mental health providers to build a robust treatment network for addressing whole health across North Carolina. The companies recognize the challenges that providers and patients face when addressing mental health, and they are dedicated to building a system with seamless and coordinated access to effective care. The effort is part of Blue Cross NC’s broader strategy of supporting community-based treatment for mental health and substance use disorders.
“The time for integrating mental and physical health care is here,” said David Wennberg, MD, MPH, CEO of Quartet. “We wholeheartedly support Blue Cross NC’s bold approach to transition providers to value-based care, and their recognition that mental health integration is central to this strategy. We look forward to working with them statewide, to help ensure every Blue Cross NC member with a mental health condition in North Carolina receives the care they need.”
Quartet’s virtual, data-driven platform helps primary care physicians to manage the needs of patients, including those that historically have been unaddressed, by easing administrative burdens while elevating the practice of holistic care. Once connected with mental health treatment, the primary care physician remains part of the coordinated care team. Additional services available through Quartet include a vetted group of local mental health specialists, live psychiatry consults for providers, data-driven best practices, and customer service support for patients. Traditionally, it can take months for a patient to get an appointment with a psychiatrist or therapist. Quartet has demonstrated improved speed to care, with patients connected to care in a matter of days.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities through innovative health care products, insurance, services and information to more than 3.8 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross online at bluecrossnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
Quartet is a pioneering healthcare technology company striving to improve the lives of people with mental health conditions. We connect people to a personalized care team to get them the right care at the right time. Our collaborative technology platform and range of services brings together physicians, mental health providers, and insurance companies to effectively improve patient outcomes and drive down healthcare costs. Backed by $93MM in venture funding from top investors like Oak HC/FT, GV (formerly Google Ventures), F-Prime Capital Partners, and Polaris Partners, Quartet is headquartered in NYC and is currently operating in several markets across the United States — Pennsylvania, Washington, Northern California, New Jersey, North Carolina, Louisiana, and Illinois.
1 Druss, Benjamin G., and Elizabeth Reisinger Walker (2011). Mental Disorders and Comorbidity. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Synthesis Project, Research Synthesis Report No. 21.
3 Barkil-Oteo, A. (2013). Collaborative Care for Depression in Primary Care: How Psychiatry Could “Troubleshoot” Current Treatments and Practices. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, 86(2), 139-46.