Mental Health Partnership LLC has raised $5 million in funding to help expand the mental health provider’s growth strategy.
Scott Farber, CEO and founder of Mental Health Partnership, told Behavioral Health Business the Ames, Iowa-based organization is looking to invest in technology, M&A, de novo expansion and add value services to private practice.
And the Mental Health Partnership is creating this environment with small scale treatments and in underserved settings.
Mental Health Partnership made its first acquisition – in Central Iowa Psychological Services – in 2020. Today, the company operates about a dozen offices and four practices across Iowa, Idaho and Texas.
It operates out of the OHM Mental Health Wellness Center in Lewiston, Idaho and will soon open a location near the military base in Fort Hood, Texas, called Mindset Counseling Group. The Texas and Idaho operations are the company’s first.
Mental Health Partnership used the money to acquire a minority ownership in health technology startup TheraManager LLC.
TheraManager provides integrated health records, financial management, telehealth and practice management tools specifically for healthcare systems. It is used by about 1,000 systems and used by 7,000 providers, Farber said.
Participating as an investor in TheraManager gives Mental Health Partnership access to the technology tools necessary for the type of care and management they want to provide.
“Having technology as part of the game makes a big difference because now you can create digital marketing strategies to drive better care — you can improve the return on investment to get better margins and hire more people,” Farber said. “We’re seeing mental health play as an opportunity to increase employment… You combine the procurement process, you add technology, and now you have a positive environment that is self-reinforcing.”
The use of technology is an important but painful issue for healthcare providers. Technological solutions, especially electronic health records, are seen as essential tools while at the same time they are used at very low costs compared to the health sectors.
The Mental Health Partnership focuses on finding small mental health providers who are limited but not necessarily depressed. Farber described them as “things that were slightly compressed.”
To push the boundaries, the Mental Health Partnership adds lines of support such as esketamine therapy and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). They also offer inpatient and outpatient treatment programs and medication management.
The company also needs to better integrate these practices into the healthcare system through partnerships with local hospitals, other medical groups, prisons and schools.
“Community health often exists in silos,” Farber said, adding that smaller hospitals and schools often need the expertise of health care providers to meet immediate needs and direct patients to the care they need.
The investment also helps the company to have capital to pay, build a leadership team and acquire more resources. The company pays donors through fees rather than recruiting them.
“Part of what we wanted to do was move to a payment system with incentives,” Farber said. “And that costs money because you’re not covered by Day One insurance.”
Hopefully, the company hopes to establish a partnership with the people involved in the first quarter of 2023. It will acquire many systems but “will not just buy.”
“We love the land and develop the trail,” Farber said. “The areas we’re most excited about are Oregon with psilocybin coming online this year and Colorado next year … We’re trying not to panic.”
Farber sees Idaho’s proximity to Oregon as another reason to be excited about the state.
Farber acknowledges the different strategies his company is taking to grow by focusing on smaller systems. His goal is less to build a behemoth platform company and more interested in building a sustainable and flexible business that can be replicated in areas that require increased attention.
About 48% of Americans live in an area that the government has identified as a mental health crisis.
He said he hopes that this method will work in towns, villages and rural areas that are not fully utilized. The Mental Health Partnership model can provide a useful alternative to other large-scale investment projects, Faber said.
“How can we continue to think about being our brother’s or sister’s keeper, if we’re saying it’s not good enough from a business perspective,” Farber said. “What we want to prove is that this is [an attractive model] and that it is possible to do this and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to any type of mental and behavioral health, because this can be done without raising 100 million dollars.”