A new outpatient mental health provider Hightop Health has entered the behavioral health space.
Backed by private equity firms JLL Partners and SV Health Investors, Hightop offers an outpatient mental health platform that uses an integrative and measurement-based approach to care.
The launch coincides with the news of Hightop’s first acquisition. The provider has purchased Psych Atlanta, an Atlanta-based mental health practice offering medication management, interventional psychiatry, ketamine, spravato and TMS.
Hightop plans to build out its Georgia market via a de novo strategy focused around Psych Atlanta. It also plans to develop new intensive outpatient programs (IOP) and make a few other acquisitions in the area. The business, which plans to stay selective with its M&A deals, has plans to expand into the Texas market by the end of the year.
“We’re going to stay more regionally focused,” Rob Butler, founder and CEO of Hightop, told Behavioral Health Business. “That allows us the flexibility to maintain the culture and maintain some of the quality that we’re seeking to attain.”
Staying regionally focused will not prevent Hightop from seeking prominence in the behavioral health field.
“We want to become well-known and a household name as far as quality, outcomes and great user experience in the Georgia market,” Butler said.
The new business currently has around 1,800 patient encounters a month, Josh Baker, senior vice president of Hightop, told BHB.
Most of Hightop’s services are paid through in-network insurance. About a quarter of services, primarily its ketamine offerings, are cash pay. A very small portion is paid through Medicare.
Psych Atlanta’s psychotherapy reduced its offerings a few years ago due to the payer environment associated with the service as well as the administrative burden. Hightop plans to increase the provider’s currently-limited psychotherapy services and reduce administrative burden overall to allow clinicians to focus on patient care.
Butler recognizes clinician attrition as a major problem in the behavioral health space. It seeks to create a clinician-focused business to retain a strong workforce, partly by maintaining a strong culture through its regional focus.
“We want our clinicians to have the time to do what they need to do and practice in the manner that they deem appropriate,” Butler said. “If the clinician is in a good spot, mentally and physically, and in a good work environment, they are like healthy athletes. When they’re healthy and not injured, you get great productivity and great outcomes.”
The business was created with a continuum of care in mind. Patients can struggle to coordinate behavioral health care, but Hightop plans to prevent those problems.
“Companies like Quantum and Accolade do a marvelous job of helping people navigate their physical care when they have diabetes, cardiology or cancer,” Butler said. “Some of those tools and some of that navigation is non-existent in today’s mental health outpatient environment.”
Hightop plans to offer its novel treatments through a seamless user experience to address market fragmentation problems.
“It’s really important to have all these services under one roof, to be able to have a therapist refer internally to someone that they trust in a way that allows them to track the patient’s journey,” Baker said. “That’s how you start to demonstrate the value of these comprehensive services to the payers and can hopefully put some pressure on them to seek higher reimbursement.”