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HomeUncategorizedHorizon Healthcare Services Taps Talkiatry for Virtual Psychiatric Care - MedCity News

Horizon Healthcare Services Taps Talkiatry for Virtual Psychiatric Care – MedCity News

Marissa Plescia

After experiencing a home invasion in 2016, Robert Krayn, co-founder and CEO of Talkiatry, found himself in need of psychiatric care. But even in a metropolis like New York City, where he lived, he struggled to find a psychiatrist.

“I could not find [a psychiatrist] — believe it or not in Manhattan,” he said in an interview. “I emailed 20 people and only one person responded and I had to pay $400 out-of-pocket to see them.” 

This experience led him to founding Talkiatry, a virtual psychiatric care company, in 2020. The company is in-network with more than 60 health insurers, including Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield and UnitedHealthcare. Talkiatry is now expanding in Krayn’s home state of New Jersey by contracting with Horizon Healthcare Services, the New York City-based company told MedCity News exclusively. 

Talkiatry is available to Horizon’s commercial members at no additional cost, giving 3.6 million people access to the virtual mental health services. The company treats patients ages 5 years and older for conditions including anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. 

Patients who want to book an appointment start on Talkiatry’s website by filling out a short assessment. They are then matched with a psychiatrist and have their first video or audio appointment — which is typically about an hour and fifteen minutes. During this visit, the psychiatrist determines if Talkiatry is the right fit for the patient.

“That might result in Talkiatry not being the right place for you,” Krayn said. “Maybe you don’t need mental healthcare. It’s our job to really provide that consultation for you and help you understand what is the right place you can get the right level of care.”

If it is determined that Talkiatry can help the patient, the psychiatrist creates a treatment plan, which includes follow-up video/audio visits and medication. Follow-up visits are typically about 30 to 45 minutes, and are always with the same doctor, Krayn said. 

The news comes at a time when the U.S. is facing a mental health crisis: about 50 million Americans are experiencing a mental illness, according to Mental Health America. About a quarter of those with a mental illness are unable to receive treatment because of a lack of insurance, lack of providers or other factors.

By working with Horizon, Talkiatry is aiming to expand access to mental healthcare and ensure that it is covered by insurance. All of its 400 providers are W-2 employees, mostly work full-time for the company and take insurance from all of Talkiatry’s health plan partners, Krayn said.

“We can ensure that when we partner with a health insurer like Horizon, for example, they know that every time they send a member to Talkiatry or to one of our providers, it will be covered in-network,” he said.

Other virtual mental health companies include Brightside, Headspace Health and Talkspace.

Photo credit: Bohdan Skrypnyk, Getty Images

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