Ontrak, Inc. (NASDAQ:OTRK) ("Ontrak" or the "Company"), a leading analytics and telehealth-enabled behavioral health outpatient program, today released a new report, "The Overlooked Patient," which examines the barriers preventing many Americans from accessing needed behavioral healthcare, despite having access to health insurance. The Ontrak report not only identifies and quantifies the problem, but also outlines a three-part strategy for health plans to address this high-cost, complex population with unaddressed behavioral health and co-morbid conditions.
Lack of participation in care is often worse among people experiencing behavioral health issues such as anxiety and depression, which are significantly on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. Effectively identifying, engaging and treating these individuals can potentially save upwards of $68 billion in costs according to a recent Milliman research study. The study found, out of a population of 21 million commercially insured individuals, that those with both behavioral health conditions and high medical costs comprised 5.7% of the population (1.2 million people) but accounted for 44% of overall healthcare costs. Behavioral healthcare accounted for just 4.4% of total healthcare costs for the entire population.
Dr. Julia Wright, Chief Medical Officer of Ontrak, stated, "The consequences of not participating in care can be dire. Forgoing medical care can result in late detection or treatment of disease, reduced survival, increased costs and potentially preventable human suffering. For Ontrak's health plan partners this can mean untreated chronic conditions that grow worse over time, creating avoidable emergency department visits and inpatient stays. Our new report and recommendations are based on over a decade of Ontrak experience specializing in helping care-avoidant populations through a program that generates engagement levels that are twice as high as approaches focused solely on care management, and delivering significant cost savings to our health plan partners."
The Ontrak report notes that successfully engaging members will depend on addressing individual concerns, including barriers to care and other factors that keep some members from accessing the healthcare system. For some individuals, engagement may occur quickly, while for others, the process may take weeks, if not months. Treatment also will vary according to individual needs and circumstances – and may take months longer for some.
Ontrak highlights the importance of establishing trust with members, addressing systemic, social, and personal barriers, and providing a supportive care plan to ensure lasting participation and durable behavioral change.