As the coronavirus pandemic has attacked the world by storm, health problems concerning addiction and psychological well-being have seemingly fallen by the wayside.
In the US, telehealth company PursueCare is working to provide virtual treatment services to those suffering from substance abuse during this time. With worst of the COVID-19 outbreak still to come, the Connecticut-based startup has announced a Series A funding raise to help fulfill the growing demand for its virtual medication-assisted treatment programs.
Through its iOS/Android mobile app, the company’s platform integrates medication treatment, counselling, and mail-order pharmacy services. The “Tele-MAT” programme offers access to care from the comfort of their homes, medical practitioners to receive prescriptions, addiction counselors, behavioural therapists, and at-home toxicology screening.
PursueCare establishes transition-of-care programmes with local community health centres, hospitals, primary care centres, and residential programmes through the “PursueCare Connect” portal. Through this system, patients get started with a treatment plan and smoothly transition to at-home virtual care.
The company will be waiving its typical portal implementation fees to support adoption and use by health partners during the COVID-19 outbreak to refer patients to PursueCare’s telehealth providers.
“People with OUD and other substance use disorders may be at greater risk due to the effects of those substances on lung and heart health,” said PursueCare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steven Powell in a statement. “By transitioning patients out of physical interaction and ensuring they can safely receive consistent care from home, we can help reduce unnecessary exposure for vulnerable populations.”
In addition, the company’s accredited pharmacy CompreCare Rx can ship medications directly to users’ homes in 25 states. Pursue accepts many private health insurance plans, Medicare and Medicaid.
The company launched in 2019 to provide addiction treatment services to patients in underserved rural areas in Kentucky and West Virginia. PursueCare has since expanded to serve the states of Connecticut and Vermont, which have been among those hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, and has plans to soon offer its full platform to users in Virginia, Ohio, Maine and Pennsylvania.
“We already work with healthcare organisations in rural and underserved areas that are short on resources and don’t ordinarily treat substance use disorders directly,” said co-founder and CEO Nick Mercadante. “We can immediately take some of the burden off of emergency departments and walk-in centers that anticipate being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. By increasing availability to our partner portal, we hope more facilities take advantage of our ability to immediately triage patients into effective evidence-based treatment so they can free up staff and resources for COVID-19 care.”