The San Diego-based startup is quickly expanding its team, too. Over the summer, it named health care veteran Meaghen Greene its next chief commercial officer. Greene is joining the team after spending more than five years at NaviHealth, UnitedHealth Group’s (NYSE: UNH) post-acute care management services.
In her new role, she will be looking to expand Equip’s reach and partnerships.
Equip was founded in 2019 as a company that provides virtual family-based treatment (FBT) for individuals living with eating disorders. It does this through a team-based approach. Patients and their families work with a therapist, physician, peer mentor, family mentor and a dietitian.
Behavioral Health Business sat down with Greene to talk about her background, new role and the future of Equip.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.
BHB: Could you tell me about your background and how you decided to come to Equip?
Greene: I have had the opportunity to work in a variety of different segments within health care. I have worked in care delivery, acute care, post acute, care payment, … and care solution organizations.
All of that has laid this great foundation in terms of seeing all the different parts of the care delivery spectrum.
I’ve always worked in growth strategy, and for the last 20 years or so I’ve worked in care in the home. I really believe that care at home is the frontier where everybody wants to be in the future, and it has been evolving. Those that need to go to acute care are really, really ill. What I’ve been focused on for the last 20 years is senior care in the home, so I’m really excited to be in eating disorders and behavioral care in the home.
The model of Equip really spoke to me; there’s just such a huge prevalence of behavioral health need. …This was an opportunity to say, “How do I take all those things that I had been doing before and translate them into where Equip is in its journey and its lifecycle?” My No. 1 thing is it has to have good care outcomes. That was a non-negotiable for me. And once I got comfortable with care outcomes, I was like, “This is really an exciting place to me.”
Outcomes are a big part of the behavioral health conversation right now. But mental health in the past has struggled to show outcomes. Can you talk to me about where you see outcomes, and how Equip and digital can sort of play into that broader picture?
The models are much more standard and traditional in the medical field, and in behavioral they’re not as much.
What was important to me is that family-based therapy, which is what Equip uses, … is a foundational, proven clinical way to improve eating disorders. The research that we’re doing, I’ve been very impressed with Equip in how we are a very data-driven organization.
Even if you happen to see the recent article that we’ve published, … around how 80% of patients using Equip restore their weight and their eating disorder symptoms are being reduced. I think that there are clinical outcomes, and where we’ll be leading the way is in, “How do we help marry that financial aspect?”
Can you tell me about your new role and what you will be focusing on in the future?
The way that I think about it is all things growth and strategy. What is the go-to market plan for Equip? One would traditionally think of that as having traditional marketing functions. How are we going after, in this particular segment, the providers, the patients, the parents … in terms of brand awareness, targeting them, making sure that in their considerations when they think of eating disorders, Equip is in that consideration set.
Second is the payer channel. How are we going after that? What does that look like? Both from “what’s our financial and pricing strategy,” but also “what is the value that we’re bringing to them.”
Then really thinking about how we admit these patients. How do we reduce those barriers that are across all types of admissions? How do we make it seamless so that when the patient and family is ready for treatment, it’s as easy to get into Equip as anything.
What are some of the top priorities of who you’d like to reach in terms of payers, providers and patients in the future?
You have to have the payer contracts. A lot of the perception out there is that eating disorders are a skinny white girl problem. We really want to break that barrier down, and we want to make it accessible so you have to have the payer contracts. We started with commercial, and we’re moving towards the Medicaid contracts.
Second is the concept of understanding who is associated with these patients that they’re looking to and sort of saying, “It’s time.” So whether that’s the primary care physician, pediatrician, psychiatrist, the therapist, … whoever that is in their ecosystem that’s saying, “You need Equip. How are we getting to them?”
Then finally, the patient and the parent themselves. My goal is, when people think of eating disorders, they think of Equip. They may not be ready for a book today, but everybody sees us as synonymous. In other words, asking, “Oh, what did you think about Equip,” when they think about eating disorders. The good news is that Equip is onboarding lots of patients every single week. And so for me, it’s a lot about testing and learning is where I’ll be focused.