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Research Review

Author Health Debuts to Care for Seniors With Serious Mental Illness

Author Health recently launched as one of the first platforms to provide comprehensive care and treatment for Medicare Advantage recipients with serious mental illness and substance use disorders.

Approximately one in four Medicare recipients have a mental illness, and 40% of people in the United States over age 50 with serious mental illness report a lack of access to care. In order to meet this need, leading health and wellness company, Humana Inc, is the first to launch Author Health services in coordination with CenterWell Senior Primary Care in the Southeastern United States.

Author Health has received $115 million in financing led by General Atlantic, a global growth equity firm, with participation from Flare Capital Partners. The funding will help Author Health expand into new markets and secure additional partnerships with other insurance and health care companies in an effort to advance its value-based approach to behavioral health care and increase access to high-quality services for seniors and other vulnerable populations.

“Every day, our nation experiences the devastating effects untreated mental health and substance use disorders have on individuals, families, and our communities,” says Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard. “Humana is a national leader in value-based payment and care delivery innovation, and we intend to apply the same forward-thinking approaches to behavioral health to overcome limitations in the current system. The positive outcomes we’re seeing already in South Florida across patient populations previously thought unreachable is truly transformative.”

Author Health is led by CEO Dr. Katherine Hobbs, a psychiatrist, former health insurance executive, and a national leader in quality and value payment for behavioral health. Dr. Gary Gottlieb serves as executive board chair. Gottlieb is a geriatric psychiatrist, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and former CEO of Partners HealthCare, now Mass General Brigham, the largest health care delivery organization in New England and among the largest biomedical research and training enterprises in the United States.

“Our nation is clearly struggling to meet the health and social needs of people with behavioral health conditions, and those needs are only increasing within our aging population,” explains Katherine Hobbs, CEO at Author Health. “Author Health was born out of the necessity to fundamentally shift how our health system prioritizes behavioral health and preventive services. By aligning Medicare Advantage health plans and clinicians to improve health, and using a combination of technology and community relationship-building to open access for hard-to-reach populations, Author Health is primed to meet the growing demand for psychiatric care on a national scale.”

Author Health offers a team-based approach to psychiatric care, bringing together specialized physicians, nurses, therapists, and community health workers to deliver a mix of virtual and in-person care for individuals who are often disconnected from the traditional health care system. Through this model, patients and their caregivers are given an avenue to reconnect with health care providers and receive personalized and comprehensive treatment within their communities, and outside of hospitals and institutions.

Moreover, Author Health is deeply integrated with primary care. People with serious mental illness and substance use disorders often suffer from co-occurring medical conditions and health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. These conditions can be better managed and often stabilized with behavioral health treatment integrated alongside primary care and other medical and social services. This care delivery model leads to improved quality of life for patients and their caregivers, as well as a reduction in medical emergency and inpatient hospital care, which in turn creates savings for health plans focused on value-based care.

While Author Health’s initial launch in South Florida was created in collaboration with Humana, the company is multipayer and is expected to expand its services to include Medicare Advantage and Special Needs Plan recipients in other locations by early 2024.

“Building and supporting more robust care options is essential for the US to be able to respond to the growing need for mental health and substance use services, particularly amongst seniors and people with disabilities,” says Robbert Vorhoff, managing director and global head of healthcare at General Atlantic. “With leadership from some of the top health care and technology organizations in the nation, a proven, cost-effective, and scalable approach, and a meaningful market need, Author Health is well-positioned for growth. We are proud to support Author Health’s mission-driven approach and vision to change millions of lives for the better.”

The Author Health team has over 13 decades of combined go-to-market, operations, and health care experience, as well as a history of successfully developing and leading value-based approaches for improving health and quality of care. As part of its official launch, the company has also named Dr. Pei Nie, geriatric psychiatrist and former vice president of medical affairs at Amwell and Aligned Health, as chief medical officer.

Source: Author Health