Partnership will meet growing demand for timely, accessible behavioral health services for new and expecting mothers
Brave Health, a virtual-first behavioral health provider focused on serving Medicaid populations, announced a new partnership with The Doula Network (TDN), a Medicaid provider committed to improving access to doula care and expanding reimbursement for doula services. The collaboration seeks to address the maternal and mental health disparities that disproportionately affect women in underserved communities.
Postpartum depression and anxiety are the leading complication of pregnancy and childbirth, impacting one in five mothers nationwide. Yet, only 50 percent receive treatment. Untreated maternal mental health conditions cost the U.S. over $14 billion annually and increase the risk of adverse outcomes—particularly for women in underserved areas where it can be more difficult to access care.
Medicaid finances nearly 45 percent of all U.S. births, and an estimated 50-60 percent of pregnancies in rural areas. The population of women covered by Medicaid face many socio economic challenges that inhibit their ability to access high-quality maternal care. For many, Medicaid isn’t just critical to physical health, but also mental health.
To support Medicaid members during and after pregnancy, TDN’s partnership with Brave Health provides a full spectrum of behavioral health services, including individual, group, family, and couples therapy; psychiatry and medication management, which have been increasingly difficult to access locally as demand for mental health providers soars. TDN refers patients to Brave Health’s virtual provider network, enabling immediate and convenient access to covered mental health services and resources. By combining virtual behavioral health services with a trusted network of community-based doulas, TDN and Brave Health can meet members where they are; giving new and expecting parents unrestricted access to high-quality in-person and remote care.
“This partnership serves as a critical safety net for the vulnerable population of women who struggle obtaining the care they need and so desperately deserve,” said Elizabeth Simmons, MS, CD, founder and CEO of TDN. “Mental health services can be a lifeline for many of our members who often have limited support from friends and family or may be in difficult relationships. Together, interventions from TDN’s doulas and Brave’s mental health team can significantly improve outcomes for mothers and their babies, and diminish unnecessary risks and medical costs.”
Dedicated to increasing access to insurance-covered doula services, TDN works with health systems and health plans throughout Florida and New Jersey to integrate birth doulas into the Medicaid system. Currently, TDN’s provider network of 100 credentialed and certified doulas serve nearly 1,000 Medicaid members annually with intentions to incorporate more payers and broaden into other states.
The partnership with TDN is one of several that Brave Health has initiated to bring high-quality behavioral healthcare to the nation’s most vulnerable. Earlier this year, Brave Health engaged with Circulo Health to provide mental health services to Medicaid members in Columbus, Ohio. Today, Brave Health serves more than 65M covered lives across 125 health plan contracts in 11 states.
“Mental health conditions that go untreated or undiagnosed can have devastating consequences for individuals and their families. This is especially true during times of change, both physically and emotionally. In these moments, it’s critical for healthcare providers to work together to get the individual the care they need quickly” said Anna Lindow, CEO and co-founder of Brave Health. “By expanding integrated access to both doulas and behavioral health services, we can provide the physical, mental and emotional support that everyone deserves.”