Valera Health raises $3.8M to expand telehealth services

BROOKLYN, N.Y., Feb. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Valera Health, a tele-behavioral health service that provides personalized team-based clinical care, announced the closing of a $3.8M round led by AXA Venture Partners (AVP) with participation from Windham Ventures, Figure Eight Investments, and notable mental health expert Tom Insel, MD, former Director of the National Institute of Mental Health. Existing investors TWC and James Nahirny also participated in the round. The new financing brings the company’s total funding to $9M. Manish Agarwal, General Partner at AVP, will be joining Valera’s board.

The new capital will fund strategic market expansion and support the growth of existing services. “2020 has impacted everyone from all walks of life. The need for high-quality longitudinal mental health services is significant and Valera is positioned to help patients with anxiety and depression, as well as severe conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. With this funding, we can scale to multiple markets and bring our unique team-based approach to communities in need. We’re excited about our new partners who are global leaders in scaling businesses,” said Thomas Tsang, MD, CEO and co-founder.

Valera Health is proud to be published in peer review journal detailing how its technology enhances the scalability of the collaborative care model.

The collaborative care model (CoCM) has substantial support for improving behavioral health care in primary care. However, large-scale CoCM adoption relies on addressing operational and financial implementation challenges across health care settings with varying resources. An academic medical center serving socioeconomically and racially diverse patients implemented the CoCM in seven practices. A smartphone application was introduced to facilitate CoCM care management during depression treatment (app-augmented CoCM). App features included secure texting, goal/appointment reminders, symptom monitoring, and health education material. A nonrandomized convenience patient sample (N = 807) was enrolled in app-augmented CoCM and compared with patients in standard CoCM (N = 3,975). Data were collected on clinical contact frequency, engagement, and clinical outcomes. App-augmented CoCM patients received more health care team contacts (7.9 vs. 4.9, p < .001) and shorter time to follow up compared with the standard CoCM sample (mean = 11 vs. 19 days, p < .001). App-augmented CoCM patients had clinical outcomes similar to the standard CoCM group (47% vs. 46% with ≥50% depression improvement or score <10), despite app-augmented patients having more prior depression treatment episodes. Further, the app-augmented group with greater app engagement demonstrated increased behavioral health appointment compliance, including more completed appointments and fewer no shows, and greater depression symptom improvement than those with less app engagement. App-augmented CoCM may improve patient engagement in treatment and provide opportunities to implement key CoCM elements without overburdening practice resources. CoCM sustainability and scalability in primary care may be enhanced by using this technology.

Carisk Integrates with Valera Health to Optimize Care Coordination

Carisk Partners (Carisk), a specialty risk transfer and care coordination company, and Valera Health, a digital health startup have announced a strategic partnership to deliver an intuitive behavioral healthcare experience for patients. Valera Health leverages analytics and mobile tools that monitor, engage, and connect patients with care coordination teams. As part of the partnership, Carisk plans to utilize Valera technology to provide its care coordination teams with tools to optimize care management.

Carisk/Valera Health Integration Benefits

Valera Health tracks outcomes longitudinally to identify clinical improvement and deterioration, consistently increasing care manager efficiency by nearly 50 percent. This technology further complements Carisk’s P2R platform, allowing its care coordinators to enhance their biopsychosocial assessments and integrate more analytics. Valera’s data science capability directly integrates with Carisk’s advanced P2R platform for the early identification of high-risk patients and intervention.

“This partnership furthers our patient-centered approach, allowing us to meet the patients where they are in their recovery process, in the manner in which they prefer,” says Joseph Berardo Jr., CEO of Carisk. “We place high value on the Valera technology and its analytic capabilities to enhance our workflow resulting in an even more effective, collaborative process for patient-centered care. This partnership aligns with our commitment to achieve consistent, results-driven outcomes by better tracking patient progress toward goals.”

Carisk is the first and only Managed Behavioral Healthcare Organization with dual accreditations from both the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Healthcare, Inc. (AAAHC).

Valera’s technology featured by ABC News

Teletherapy meets teens where they live: On-screen

Due to the coronavirus, many teens have been missing their proms, graduation ceremonies, daily routines and their friends. These missed events and social interactions are only adding to the additional stress many adolescents are facing amid the pandemic, health experts say.

“A lot of my clients have been more depressed, more anxious,” said Geovany Martinez, a bilingual social worker who treats at-risk clients in New York City and Yonkers, New York.

Emergence Health Network and Valera Health partner to bring novel comprehensive remote behavioral services using analytics and digital tools.

BROOKLYN, N.Y., Dec. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Emergence Health Network (EHN) and Valera Health team up to fill huge unmet needs in the Texas behavioral healthcare marketplace. EHN, a leader in community mental health in El Paso County, Texas, and Valera Health, a Brooklyn-based start-up, partner to co-develop a comprehensive virtual behavioral health program using analytics, digital cognitive behavioral tools, and enhanced communication technologies including group chat and video sessions.

Utilizing a tech-enabled service model to create a virtual service line will be an innovative solution for EHN, giving better access to personalized services. Beyond the video feature, clinicians will support behavioral health management and self-care using other digital tools and analytics within the platform to augment their care and increase in-between session patient engagement.

“This opportunity allows EHN to expand its commitment to caring for residents in West Texas and hopefully to help usher these tools to other parts of the State and beyond. We want to ensure our systems of care are constantly improving, and this partnership takes us in that direction,” said Kristi Daugherty, CEO EHN. “It’s a big win for the delivery of mental health services and ensuring our client’s needs remain at the forefront.”

“We’re proud and excited to expand our partnership with EHN in this important new model of care. This will go beyond a video visit as we wrap analytics and data science around the service piece along with self-directed tools. EHN is leading the field as they think about patient-centered and accessible delivery models,” states Thomas Tsang, MD, CEO Valera Health.

Valera Health is a behavioral healthcare company that enables optimal behavioral health management, with a focus on improving communication, patient engagement, and patient self-efficacy leveraging data science and technology.

EHN is the largest mental health provider in El Paso County and provides services at 19 locations. EHN is dedicating to providing recovery-based services for mental health, and other related conditions to children, youth, and adults.

Community Healthcare Network Partners with Valera Health to Improve Behavioral Health Services.

BROOKLYN, New York, Nov. 6, 2018,/PRNewswire/ — Community Healthcare Network (CHN), a multi-site FQHC is partnering with Brooklyn-based behavioral health start-up, Valera Health, to strengthen their collaborative care management program for patients with comorbid behavioral and chronic health conditions.

The use of Valera’s technology to support behavioral health activation and self-care, using a smartphone-based platform that leverages data analytics, will be a novel intervention for this FQHC serving patients with high-needs and complex social conditions. Valera’s technology will offer the ability to collaborate between teams and monitor patients.  Engaging patients effectively in their own health care is essential in increasing self-efficacy in both mental and physical conditions. Higher patient engagement results in reducing healthcare costs increased treatment and appointment adherence, and better overall health outcomes.

“Having run an FQHC before, I understand the need to scale up behavioral health and physical health integration. CHN is a model of excellence and innovation who recognizes the huge unmet need and is forging ahead with digital tools.” — Thomas Tsang, MD. Cofounder, CEO Valera Health

By improving communication capacity and enhancing insights into patient wellbeing, together Valera Health and CHN will empower care teams to achieve better outcomes in chronic disease and behavioral health management.

“CHN is excited about partnering with Valera to help us achieve our mission to provide high quality and comprehensive healthcare to our diverse populations. We hope to improve the connection and outcomes in our patients with the use of this exciting technology.” – Dr. Joseph Squitieri, D.O., Deputy Director of Psychiatry, CHN

Valera Health is SaaS-based behavioral healthcare company enabling providers and payers to optimize mental healthcare delivery and management. Valera has demonstrated outcomes with improved depression rates and remission rates.

CHN is a non-profit organization, made up of 13 FQHCs throughout Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan and provides primary and behavioral healthcare, dental, nutrition, wellness, and other social services. CHN’s mission is to make healthcare accessible to all communities and provides services to anyone, regardless of their race, religion, orientation, gender identity, immigration status or ability to pay. CHN is also an affiliate member of New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Group Health Cooperative Eau Claire Partners with Valera in Innovative Behavioral Health Management

NEW YORK, NY, January 22, 2018 – Brooklyn-based behavioral health startup Valera Health and Group Health Cooperative of Eau Claire have announced a partnership that will enhance behavioral health care management services for Group Health Cooperative members. Group Health Cooperative is a non-profit, member-owned cooperative and nationally recognized Health Maintenance Organization that provides high quality services to over 70,000 members of its community. 

Valera Health leverages analytics and mobile tools to monitor, engage, and connect patients with care teams while supporting behavioral health self-care. The company is currently working with a number of provider organizations, coupling its platform with a thorough analysis of organizational workflows to improve the wellbeing of patients struggling with or at-risk of developing mental health conditions. Using the Valera platform, Group Health’s care management team plans to enhance existing processes to better track patient progress towards goals, make connections to appropriate services, and monitor patients with depression and anxiety.“Improving the link with our members is always valuable. When technology can ease communication with members, help them self-manage their condition, and improve outcomes, then we are truly leveraging its value, and everyone wins,” states Pete Farrow, CEO of Group Health Cooperative. 

Rahul Dubey, Senior Vice President at AHIP and the Founder of the AHIP Innovation Lab (IL) in Chicago’s West Loop, observes that, “This unique partnership framework is proving to be the mainstay emerging practice for valuable behavioral health and comorbidity care models. . . .Valera Health’s intuitive consumer-serving technology, their ability to embed proprietary behavioral health care path expertise and their understanding of clinical workflows delivers a unique and positive care experience for Group Health plan members- who now have a very high probability of receiving appropriate, effective and measurable behavior health treatments.” 

“We’re proud to be working with Group Health on addressing mental health issues that impact chronic physical conditions and large populations. There is a huge unmet need and Group Health is at the forefront of using technology to create efficiencies and better outcomes for their members,” states Thomas Tsang, MD, CEO and co-founder of Valera Health. 

Valera and Group Health Cooperative look forward to expanding their collaboration to support innovation surrounding the recovery and care management of patients receiving treatment for opioid addiction.

A New Standard for Human-Centered Healthcare

In today’s healthcare landscape, diagnoses rule. A patient diagnosed with diabetes is prescribed a regimented program aimed at improving diet and exercise and monitoring blood glucose levels. A physician treating a Medicare patient is paid based on the patient’s Diagnosis Related Group (DRG).

While diagnoses help us quantify and understand diseases, they can also draw focus away from the individual being treated. In her blog post in the New York Times, Pauline W. Chen, M.D. notes, “When we know what is wrong, we sometimes stop paying such close attention to those patient experiences that seem to have little relevance to the diagnosis at hand”.

Oftentimes, these patient experiences and life factors turn out to be the true underlying issue. For example, a physician might tell a diabetic with uncontrolled glucose to eat healthier and exercise more. But perhaps that patient recently lost a loved one, or has been struggling with depression, or perhaps it’s difficult for them to find time to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables. Without addressing these life factors, the diet and exercise are unlikely to change.

Historically, mental health, social work, and other specialty services have been separate from the primary care setting. However, recent literature has challenged this model by showing that untreated mental illnesses can exacerbate the risk for developing chronic conditions. For example, researchers found that people with a mental illness are at a higher risk of developing heart disease, and vice versa. It highlights a key issue: there is a deeply interwoven relationship between components of our overall health that include our physical, mental, and social health.

In recent years, the healthcare industry has begun to shift away from the traditional silos towards a more integrated model. Quality initiatives like HEDIS and DSRIP have incentivized organizations to implement integrated care in the primary care setting (i.e. providing mental health evaluations to patients coming in for a PCP visit). Integration is also becoming more prevalent in the treatment of a spectrum of different health conditions:

  • Diabetes and Depression – current gold standard of care that utilizes a physician for the medical intervention and an interventionist to address a patient’s financial, social, and emotional needs.
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment – the most effective care for patients abusing opioids. This treatment aims to prevent relapse by providing behavioral therapy in addition to medication, and does so using a team of physicians, therapists, case managers, and/or social workers.
  • Collaborative Care for Dementia – the leading type of care for patients with dementia. This addresses mental and social health by utilizing a care team composed of a physician, nurse, social worker, and occupational therapist.

Each of these integrated models of care have emerged as the gold standard of treatment. The common thread across each of these care models is a team of interdisciplinary professionals who collaborate to address factors beyond the walls of the clinic.

Patients are more than a diagnosis – patients are people, and it is vital to treat them as such. Each individual has a different set of physical, mental, and social situations in their lives, and the way one component influences another may differ drastically from person to person. Using an integrated team allows for specialized care at each component while aligning around the overarching goal of providing human-centered health care.