McDermott partner Alex Clavero joined Ned Carlson, chief executive officer of Trumpet Behavioral Health; Todd Rudsenske, partner at Webster Equity Partners; and Miriam Tawil, managing director at Centerbridge Partners, to examine trends and opportunities in the behavioral health space, particularly in the autism and intellectual or developmental disability subsectors.
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- Proper care coordination and preventative care can lead to significant cost-savings. For instance, every $1 spent on proper medication-assisted treatment can save the individual’s community between $4 and $11.
- The behavioral health market remains highly fragmented across a majority of its subsectors and is ripe for consolidation. To date there are few providers of scale, particularly in the autism treatment space.
- Society is shifting towards greater acceptance and destigmatization of mental health issues on a broad scale. This is demonstrated both financially, through payment parity requirements, and socially, through increased use of mental health professionals and diagnoses of mental health issues. Our panelists also predicted that the definition of medical necessity for certain mental health services may be expanded to allow for increased access to care.
- Operators are focused on developing robust internal administrative support for clinicians in the mental health space. These clinicians typically have less experience with coding, billing, scheduling and other administrative aspects of operating a business than physicians in other health subsectors. As a result, operators must construct sophisticated administrative systems to support their mental health clinicians.
- The supply of mental health practitioners is not increasing as quickly as the demand for services, and many mental health clinicians lack significant experience – all of which pose big challenges for treatment going forward. Instituting internal training programs for newer clinicians will be necessary in a number of subsectors.
- Some providers have noted an uptick in negative or problematic behaviors among their mental health patients, particularly children, that appears to be correlated to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is unclear whether these behaviors will recede in a post-pandemic world.
- All operators in the behavioral health subsector were required to adopt telehealth capabilities for their patients at the beginning of the pandemic. Telehealth treatment in the behavioral health space likely will persist post-pandemic, albeit on a smaller scale.