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February 25, 2021

New behavioral health initiative aims to better address depression, anxiety in Southeastern Pennsylvania

A partnership between Independence Blue Cross and Quartet Health seeks to match people to appropriate care

Mental Health Depression
IBX Quartert Health Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

Doctors within the Independence Blue Cross network will be able to refer adult patients for behavioral health care through Quartet's SmartMatch platform.

Independence Blue Cross and Quartet Health are partnering to help people battling depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorder more easily access the most appropriate care.

Doctors within the Independence network will be able to refer adult patients for behavioral health care through Quartet's SmartMatch platform, which helps patients virtually identify mental health resources that can meet their needs. These services include in-person or virtual therapy and psychiatry.

Fully-insured members of the Independence network also can be referred for mental health care by a case manager or sign up for care through Quartet on their own.

The initiative aims to help physicians proactively screen patients who may need additional mental health care and foster collaboration between behavioral health care providers and referring providers, company executives said. 

"Access to behavioral health care is incredibly challenging in the current health care ecosystem," Independence CEO Gregory Deavens said. "Independence is determined to change that for our members and our community."

The partnership is an effort to address behavioral health issues that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a Blue Cross Blue Shield report, alcohol consumption has risen 23% since the pandemic began. Smoking, vaping and non-medical drug use have each risen by at least 13%. All of those behaviors have been linked to anxiety and depression. 

More than half of American adults say the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on their mental health, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll. Independence saw a 14,000% increase in the use of mental health telemedicine services from 2019 to 2020. 

"The demand for behavioral health care is higher today than ever before," Quartet CEO Puneet Singh said. "We applaud Independence’s commitment to addressing the needs of the community. The Quartet partnership will help people quickly and easily get the most appropriate behavioral health care for their specific needs."

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