Empire BlueCross BlueShield Announces Four New Partnerships to Address Behavioral Healthcare Needs in New York


Empire NEW YORK As part of its ongoing efforts to meet the expanding demand for behavioural healthcare services in New York, BlueCross BlueShield has announced a number of cutting-edge businesses that have joined the Empire provider network. According to a research by Mental Health America, more than 58% of adults in New York who have a mental illness do not receive treatment, placing the city 42 out of 50 states in this category. Empire has expanded its network to include Alma, Headway, NOCD, and Ophelia, all of which provide virtual options for behavioural healthcare, in an effort to remove obstacles to care and enhance access.

“Behavioral health has an impact on nearly every aspect of our day-to-day lives, and as we work to support the whole health of our members, it’s important that we’re offering options to support these needs as well”, “The pandemic put pressure on the system, and it became very clear that we needed to identify creative solutions to meet the demand – that’s where our work with Alma, Headway, NOCD, and Ophelia comes into play, and we’re thrilled to make these options more accessible for more New Yorkers.”

Jordan Vidor, Regional Vice President, Provider Solutions, Empire BlueCross BlueShield

1. Alma :

By assisting professionals to accept insurance and establish successful private practises, Alma makes it simple for people to access mental healthcare. Commercial members of Empire can now pay in-network prices to use Alma’s providers. The free Alma directory can now be used by members looking for behavioural health treatments to identify an in-network provider who can accommodate their requirements and their schedule. To find the best match, they can search New York therapists from a variety of backgrounds and filter by age, gender, speciality, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, therapy approach, and particular problems. For a more individualised experience, members can also work with Alma’s Client Matching team at no additional cost.

“We’re excited to be entering a partnership with Empire BlueCross BlueShield to increase access to diverse, equitable, and affordable mental healthcare for New Yorkers”, “We know that broadening our network to serve Empire members is pivotal to our mission to make care more accessible, and this expansion signifies an important step toward continuing to make that mission a reality.”

Harry Ritter, founder and CEO, Alma

2. Headway :

By dismantling the obstacles faced by clinicians, health insurance, and the patients they serve, Headway is creating a new mental healthcare system that anybody can access. The business’s in-house IT infrastructure assists mental health clinicians with administrative tasks like scheduling, billing, and revenue cycle management so they can concentrate on providing therapy. The commercial members of Empire have access to Headway, which enables them to book an appointment in as little as 48 hours, know the cost up front, find and choose a provider who meets their clinical needs and preferences, including racial and ethnicity, language, LGBTQIA+, geography, in-person vs. virtual care, and more. More than 4,000 behavioural health professionals have already been assisted by Headway to actively practise in-network since the Empire partnership’s inception in June 2022, and this figure is continuing to rise. The average Empire member attended their first session in 5.9 days on average because to Headway’s easy online booking process rather than manual procedures. Members should go to www.headway.co if they are interested in Headway’s behavioural health services.

“As a patient who had difficulty finding in-network mental healthcare when I moved to New York years ago, I understand first-hand the need for better access to care”, “Since launching with Empire in June 2022, more than 5,300 Empire members have received mental healthcare through Headway, with the average time to care just 5.9 days. This is just the beginning of our rapid expansion nationwide as we work to build a new mental healthcare system everyone can access.”

Andrew Adams, founder and CEO, Headway

3. NOCD :

NOCD is the #1 provider for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). NOCD helps adults, adolescents, and children (down to age five) reclaim their lives with clinically proven OCD treatment. Inside the NOCD platform, members can quickly access virtual, face-to-face therapy from a national network of licensed therapists who specialize in Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy, the “gold standard” for OCD treatment, as well as get support between sessions from peer communities and self-help tools. NOCD is now in-network for Empire members across all lines of business including commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid. Please visit the NOCD website for more information.

“OCD affects about 2.3% of the overall population, with 50% of people being considered high-acuity in a given year. That means hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are struggling today. Since access and affordability have always been a barrier to treatment, we are excited to announce NOCD therapy is covered by one of the largest insurers in New York. Hope can now be restored for people with OCD and their families”, “With so many people in need of high-quality behavioral health services, getting quick access to the right care is the first step in enabling people to regain their lives from this serious mental illness.”

Robert Capobianco, President of Payer Markets, NOCD

4. Ophelia :

Ophelia is on a mission to make evidence-based treatment universally accessible — with a focus on the 80% of Americans with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) who are unable to access care. Led by the leading experts in addiction medicine and psychiatry, they pair telemedicine with medication-assisted treatment (MAT), the most effective treatment for OUD. Ophelia is now in-network for Empire members across all lines of business including commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid. Members who believe they may benefit from Ophelia’s services should visit www.Ophelia.com to schedule a free welcome call.

“We are now a quarter of a century into the opioid epidemic and patients still cannot access lifesaving medication. Our nation needs to do better to ensure access to high quality care. The partnership with Empire is a huge stride in giving New Yorkers access to affordable OUD care.”

Dr. Arthur Robin Williams, MD, MBE, Chief Medical Officer, Ophelia

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