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Get Smart! MHVC Offers Full Scholarships for Valera Smartphone App

MHVC is pleased to announce that we are offering partners a full scholarship for use of Valera Health, an evidence-based smartphone application that provides significant care management and self-management support for patients’ integrated behavioral health care needs. This is a key part of our continued effort to support tools that prepare partners for value-based payment (VBP), further the development of a sustainable Integrated Delivery System (IDS), and our partners’ ability to improve performance.

The Valera smartphone technology increases patients’ knowledge and self-management of their condition and supports timely and more seamless communication with clinical staff. The goal is to increase engagement and improve treatment adherence and quality outcomes. The app offers comprehensive features to support the key elements of integrated care, such as symptom and functional monitoring with patient-reported outcomes, timely follow up, goal-planning strategies, health education materials, a chat function (secure text messaging) for self-management support, and appointment and medication reminders. Patients can also opt in to passive data collection to help inform individualized coaching (step counts for exercise, for instance, and even an alerting function to the health care team if a patient does not leave their home after 2-3 days, a sign that the individual’s symptoms may be worsening.)

The app has been piloted at Montefiore’s federally-funded Behavioral Health Integration Program (BHIP) for over two years with impressive results. “We are pleased with the results of Valera’s technology platform. The patients feel better connected to their providers, and the care managers appreciate the efficiency of being able to monitor patient progress with less voicemail phone tag and no-show visits,” said BHIP’s Executive Project Director and Director of MHVC’s Behavioral Health Learning Collaborative, Henry Chung, M.D. “Seventy-percent of users have actively engaged in the app, with a 76% patient satisfaction rate and patient-clinician monthly contacts increasing three-fold.”

“Perhaps the most important result is that the majority of patients report that using Valera has helped them to accomplish more of their healthcare goals,” reports Kelly Carleton, Project Manager for Behavioral Health Integration. The technology also has the ability to potentially help partners improve their performance on quality measures such as HEDIS measures, antidepressant medication management, adherence to antipsychotic medication for people with schizophrenia and diabetes, and engagement in alcohol and other drug dependence services.

MHVC partners will help expand Montefiore’s pilot by introducing the app to new patient populations in different settings. Most of the MHVC’s partners participating in the pilot include behavioral health organizations treating people with serious mental illnesses. There are currently five MHVC partners participating in the launch: Access: Supports for Living, Mental Health Association of Rockland County, Mental Health Association of Westchester, St Vincent’s Hospital, a division of St Joseph’s Medical Center, and Westchester Jewish Community Services. “The Valera Health app will enhance our services to ACT and Care Coordination clients at St. Vincent’s,” states John Francis, LCSW, Administrative Director, Care Management and Community Services. “The educational materials and screening and monitoring tools will help engage more clients in their care, and hopefully strengthen our connection with clients who are often reluctant to engage with behavioral health services.” Despite the differences in patient populations, the partners expect to see similar engagement rates.

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