Main menu


Vanna Health, a start-up specializing in serious mental illness, raises $29 million for a community support platform

featured image

Severe Mental Illness (SMI) startup Vanna Health raised $29 million ahead of its official launch.

The company, which is focused on connecting MCH patients to community resources with a value-based approach to care, plans to use the new funding to help it expand its partnerships and embark on a small number of states. Among its leaders: the former director of mental health of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Thomas Insel, co-founder and executive chairman of Vanna.

We are just getting started. We are in deep conversations and putting our feet in the water in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Arizona,” Insel told Behavioral Health Business. “In each of these markets, we are just beginning to create partnerships and develop the plan of engagement in these communities. Funding gives us the ability to take risks to really understand what the ultimate services and product line will look like.

The new capital will also allow Vanna to hire coaches, clinicians and mental health providers to strengthen its clinical team.

Recently, the company entered into agreements with major insurers, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

“I think what interests Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Arizona is what a value-based model in behavioral health might look like,” Insel said. We did pretty well as a field in a few areas. We have great bundled payouts for knee replacements or maternity care. …But in behavioral health, it has been very difficult to move from fee-for-service [models] to one of the risk or value-based models.

Moving to a value-based payment model for behavioral health will require many community partnerships. This could even take shape in some public-private partnerships, according to Insel.

“It’s done through partnership,” he said. There is no single entity, be it a medical house, an inpatient unit or a crisis service – no one has all the cards in hand. You will have to collect them all.

Founded in 2021, the company is led by Insel and serial entrepreneur and CEO of Vanna, Dr. Giovanni Colella. Vanna’s goal is to help people living with MMS connect to the community ecosystem for care and resources.

“I’ve talked a lot about what I call the three Ps: providing people, place and purpose for people with serious mental illness,” Insel previously said. BHB. And that if we did it right, and if we did it in a comprehensive, continuous, compassionate way, we could really help a lot of people who today find themselves incarcerated or homeless or just struggling. We can help them have a much better life to help them thrive.

The startup plans to use a for-profit model approach. Insel said there is a business case for caring for people with MCH through a community support model. Specifically, this model could reduce care costs and scale, Insel said in a previous interview.

“We absolutely believe there’s a business case to be made because these are the most expensive patients in many health plans, including Medicaid,” Insel said. And we’ve seen that in the markets we’ve looked at – they’re very expensive patients. Importantly, the expense is not on the side of behavioral health; it’s on the medical side.

The estimated lifetime burden of IMS is $3 million per patient, according to a study by the Addiction and Mental Health Services Administration.

The traditional fee-for-service model lacks some key points, Insel noted. For example, many wrap-around services do not have CPT code.

Think about it: if a patient is costing you $45,000 a year, that’s what we’re paying for under the current system with terrible results. Absolutely direct results. For $45,000 a year, you could do a lot for that person,” Insel said. “They may have a concierge social worker, they may have rather nice accommodation. I mean, there’s really a lot of opportunity to serve them in a different way, if you really focus on the people, the place and the purpose, not just making sure they get another ER visit. or to make sure they have a hospital stay.”

Vanna Health isn’t the only startup looking to cure patients with IMS. Based in California Amae He works to unify behavioral health, primary care and community support for patients with serious mental illness.

Also, based in New York firsthand seeks to help patients with MMS take the first step towards care. It does this by using peer support networks to help patients with MMS access community care.

This year, those who follow the behavioral health industry can expect to see Vanna test her model, see what works and what doesn’t.

“2023 is really about proving the model and really developing what we think is a new model for how we manage populations with serious mental illnesses,” Insel said. And it’s going to take us at least a year to figure out how to do that in a scalable way.