Advocare Uses Fort Health to Accelerate Access to Pediatric Behavioral Health Services in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

Advocare Uses Fort Health to Accelerate Access to Pediatric Behavioral Health Services in New Jersey and Pennsylvania
Advocare Uses Fort Health to Accelerate Access to Pediatric Behavioral Health Services in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

New Jersey’s largest private medical group partners with youth behavioral health company formed with Child Mind Institute to provide more than 450 primary care providers serving pediatric patients with access to collaborative mental health services

NEW YORK, March 27, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Advocate LLCa multispecialty group practice with 750 providers based in New Jersey with the largest number of pediatric providers in the state, today announced a partnership with Fort Healtha virtual pediatric behavioral health company founded with Institute for Child Consciousness, to expand the services provided through primary care. Advocare’s main medical facilities everywhere New Jersey and Pennsylvania will now have the option to use Fort Health services, giving more than 450 primary care providers and their patients access to quality behavioral health services through a collaborative care model.

Pediatric providers are overwhelmed with patients struggling with behavioral health conditions and mental health has surpassed physical conditions as the most common clinical and non-clinical problem. This is not surprising given this only about 20% children with mental, emotional or behavioral disorders receive care from a specialist mental health care provider.

“Three out of four youths begin their mental health journey in a pediatrician’s office and 75% of these are initially diagnosed by their pediatrician or primary care provider,» they said Natalie Schneider, founder and CEO of Fort Health. “Integrating behavioral health into primary care has untapped potential to address the youth mental health crisis. Doing it at scale requires innovative clinical and payment models that improve clinical quality and staffing, which is why we’re partnering with Advocare to launch Collaborative Care in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We need to open more pathways to better care for more families and their children.»

According to April 2023 Youth Mental Health Report, c New Jerseyclose to 25% of children reported having at least one mental illness. And, 72,000 teenagers in New Jerseyaged 12-17 suffer from depression. In Pennsylvania, the rate of children with depression or anxiety has jumped alarmingly 28%, from 10.2% (226,000) to 13% (282,000) of children aged 3-17only in 2022

«We chose to work with Fort Health to implement Collaborative Care in our care centers because they have proven capabilities to deliver the highest quality technology care,» said Amy Prestifilippo, vice president of Population Health at Advocare LLC. «Dozens of our practices already refer patients to them and trust their clinicians.»

Shared care, a type of integrated care, has emerged as the strongest evidence-based model. Collaborative care is a team-based approach to identifying and treating patients with mild to moderate behavioral health conditions in primary care settings. There are over 80 randomized controlled trials which have shown that collaborative care increases access to mental health careand is more effective and cost-effective than traditional behavioral health care.

Shared care is covered by insurance, which alleviates a major barrier to care, especially as a a child’s mental health office visit was 10.1 times (1,000 percent) more likely to be out of network than a primary care office visit and twice as likely as an adult mental health visit.

Fort Health clinicians and Advocare physicians form a care team that provides a child with the appropriate levels of support and care based on their individual needs. From brief talk therapy interventions to psychiatric assessments to parent training.

«Most pediatricians have not had a single rotation in child and adolescent psychiatry and have not been trained to treat behavioral health conditions,» said Dr. Sarah Harmon, medical director of behavioral health at Advocare. «As a result, many children are not getting the treatment they need 66% of pediatricians reported difficulty finding mental health referrals. In addition to increasing access to care, this partnership also enhances the capacity of our pediatricians to provide more treatment in collaboration with Fort Health’s psychiatric consultants.

SOURCE Fort Health

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