HealthLinkNow awarded $7.7 million CMS Innovation Grant to provide online mental health services in Montana and Wyoming

SACRAMENTO, CA – June 15, 2012 – HealthLinkNow Inc, announces its successful bid to provide an innovative “Patient Centered Medical Home Program for mental health services in Wyoming and Montana.” The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Awards, a federal program seeking to fund promising new models of healthcare delivery, has awarded $7.7 million to HealthLinkNow over the next three years to provide online mental health services in Montana and Wyoming where there is a severe shortage of psychiatrists and other mental health providers.

The company will partner with a number of local provider groups and health networks to provide mental health and substance abuse services where geography and lack of psychiatrists and psychologists complicate access.  The HealthLinkNow Patient Centered Medical Home Program will offer secure videoconferencing linking patients and HealthLinkNow psychiatrists/therapists; instant messaging, email, telephone calls and health education.  The fully-integrated HealthLinkNow Telemedicine and IT platform also allows billing, ePrescribing, and practice management.

First and foremost we are about connecting people to the right care, when and where they need it.

Lower costs through reduced hospital admissions and emergency room visits are anticipated, resulting from improved access to psychiatric consultations, therapy, and long-term mental health case management.  Over the three year period of the grant, HealthLinkNow will hire 24 health care providers, including both psychiatrists and therapists, with estimated savings of $8.1m to CMS through the use of this highly innovative approach to mental health care.

The CMS Innovation Center announced the second batch of preliminary awardees for the Health Care Innovation Awards on June 15, 2012.  HealthLinkNow is among several organizations tabbed to implement projects in communities across the nation.  The aim is to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, particularly those with the highest health care needs.

Barb Johnston, HealthLinkNow CEO and co-founder is delighted that the company has received this award.  “We are honored to have won this award and to be able to provide much needed mental health services to patients in Montana and Wyoming who would otherwise not have access to such care”, shared Johnston.  “First and foremost we are about connecting people to the right care, when and where they need it.  The HealthLinkNow online clinic and the care we bring through telemedicine to hospitals, health systems and organizations, as well as to people in their homes, are ideally suited for patients like these who live in geographically inaccessible areas.”

“The project described was supported by Funding Opportunity Number CMS-1C1-12-0001 from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.”

“This press release is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of HHS or any of its agencies.”