Even though Black and Brown people experience mental health conditions at similar rates to more privileged populations, they are less likely to seek treatment, access quality care and finish treatment. One major reason for this is that patients are much more apt to seek care when they can easily find a provider that can relate to their lived experiences, but just 0.4% of psychiatry practitioners come from underrepresented groups. Another significant factor is psychiatry practitioners’ poor reputation when it comes to insurance acceptance — just 62% accept commercial insurance and 36% accept Medicaid.
ReKlame Health launched in 2020 to address this problem by providing culturally competent behavioral healthcare to Black and Brown communities in New York. On Monday, the startup announced it is now serving patients in two additional states — New Jersey and Florida.
The company offers telehealth-based psychiatry services and addiction medication management to Black and Brown patients. ReKlame’s clinicians — who look like the patients they serve — treat a range of mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, addiction, ADHD, trauma and mood disorders.
“We understand the tremendous amount of stigma that comes with seeking mental health treatment, and the stigma in minority communities is at its highest. So having a provider who can understand the lived experience and culture that the patient is coming from helps to achieve better treatment outcomes. We see that there’s more engagement, less drop off and more understanding. And we’re able to make more improvement within the care quickly. Given that this is healthcare, sometimes that’s a difference between life and death,” Evans Rochaste, ReKlame’s founder and CEO, said in an interview.
ReKlame is not only dedicated to hiring Black and Brown clinicians, but the company is also committed to making its care affordable for its patients.
The startup’s services are covered by the country’s largest commercial payers, including Optum, United Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Oxford and Oscar. The company is also looking to expand into Medicaid coverage. For patients without insurance, ReKlame’s pricing for cash-pay visits is half the national average or less.
Roughly 2,000 patients use ReKlame’s services. About 80% of them are able to get those services covered by their health plan, Rochaste said.
Though most of the company’s services are delivered via telehealth, ReKlame recently launched a program in which nurses deliver Vivitrol — a medication that treats alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder — to select New York patients in their homes.
Not only does ReKlame provide its patients with culturally competent care, the startup also recognizes the important role that addiction medicine often plays in achieving optimal behavioral treatment outcomes. As the opioid crisis continues to rage across the country, this consideration cannot be undervalued, Rochaste pointed out.
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