Magellan Health — a managed care organization (MCO) and behavioral health provider soon to be owned by Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC) — is looking to reimagine the way behavioral health is delivered.
Specifically, the Phoenix-based MCO is bullish on integrated, collaborative approaches — and using technology to help make them possible.
“Magellan is in the middle of an amazing transformation,” CEO Ken Fasola recently said. “We’ve sought to reimagine, reshape and really invest in taking years of deep, rich sovereign skills in and around behavioral health, specialty care management and now pharmacy, and bringing it forward in ways that are really exciting.”
Fasola made those comments last month during the Going Digital: Behavioral Health Tech Summit 2021, a virtual event put on by a group of behavioral health entrepreneurs, investors, technologists and designers.
Fasola joined Magellan back in November 2019. At the time, the company had three main arms: a managed Medicaid business, a pharmacy business and a behavioral and specialty health business. Since then, however, the company has divested its managed Medicaid business to focus more fully on its two other arms.
“That allowed us to generate a significant amount of additional capital, which we’re looking to reinvest in new technologies,” Fasola said. “We’re trying to bring that together in a seamless ecosystem that focuses on the whole person … in a more integrated and collaborative approach.”
While there are a growing number of tech tools on the market designed to help physical and mental health care providers integrate care, they’re not all created equal. That’s why Magellan CMO Caroline Carney and her team evaluate digital solutions to decide which the company should add and how they should be implemented to be the most seamless and impactful for members.
Carney stressed the importance of looking past the “shiniest, newest” digital tools to find the right ones to fit into Magellan’s care ecosystem. One such example is Neuroflow, a digital health company designed to improve collaborative care whose tools Magellan uses.
Additionally, Carney touched on the importance of human touch in tech.
“A point solution is meaningless if all you do is hand an app to someone and say, ‘Here, go get better,’” Carney said. “So we are partnering with companies … [that let us] integrate what we’re learning from the use of the digital technology into our own platforms so that our care managers are better armed with the information they need to touch the patient or member in the right way.”
She said different populations with different conditions often need different tools. And for some members, in-person, face-to-face care modalities are still the way to go, so those services must remain available even as technology becomes more prevalent in behavioral health care.
“In moving toward integrated care, we have also made investments in the provider space to bring that together and use that as a basis for a model of care to disseminate across the country,” Carney said. “[We’re] also looking at specific populations.”
And just like Magellan is in the midst of a transformation, Fasola believes the behavioral health industry overall is, too.
“As we look back, I think we’ll see that this was an inflection point to reduce the stigma around the need to seek behavioral health [and] to open up a willingness to try new digital interventions to augment the important work that clinicians do,” he said. “Clinical expertise to guide folks to the right solutions will remain important, particularly with the growing challenges that are not soon going to be behind us.”