Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Virginia is partnering with behavioral health technology provider Confidant Health for addiction treatment services, the companies announced Wednesday.
Connecticut-based Bethel Trustee health offers a variety of mental health and substance use disorder services through its app, including medication management, therapy, counseling, health and recovery coaching, and group support. In its partnership with Anthem BCBS in Virginia, the company starts with members with opioid use disorder but offers them its full range of services, said Sam Arsenault Wilson, chief quality officer and co-founder of Confidant Health.
“This is especially important to fill the gap in substance use treatment 97.5% of people with a substance use disorder who are not receiving care do not feel they need “treatment,” Wilson said.
There’s a need in Virginia, where opioid-related deaths rose 42 percent in 2020, according to news release. Deaths from drug poisoning increased by 22% in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.
Wilson added that its services are especially useful for people who cannot receive care in person due to transportation, child care, or other challenges.
Members can be referred directly to Confidant Health by Anthem or a healthcare provider, and the company will then be in touch to book an appointment, Wilson said. Otherwise, members can go through the app, which can be downloaded from the Apple app store or Google Play. When people go through the app, they can make an appointment to speak with a clinician or they can communicate with their chatbot named Alfie. Through their conversations, members define their goals and are directed to support based on their individual needs. Then they can receive ongoing care, whether through therapy sessions, medication management, exercise, reading, or other resources.
“Each member’s care journey is personalized and designed to meet their needs using a set of evidence-based practices,” Wilson said.
The chatbot was created over two years by a group of technologists, epidemiologists, health economists, behavioral health providers, patient advocates, people who use drugs and family members, according to Confidant’s website.
Other addiction treatment and mental health companies include Occupational health, Bike health, Stone care and Exit Genius. But Wilson says Confidant Health differentiates itself by appealing more broadly to those struggling with mental health or people who simply want to improve their overall quality of life.
“Confidant Health meets all members where they are in their journey, whether they suspect things could be better or seek help for addiction and mental illness,” Wilson said.
Although this partnership is starting with members with opiate use disorder, Wilson said the goal is to expand to other members in the future.
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