Lantern, UPMC announce new $17 million investment in online mental health services

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 - health IT, Stimulus, money

San Francisco-based Lantern has announced a $17 million investment into its numerous online mental health services. The investment was led by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), with “all previous Lantern investors” also playing a role.

Tal Heppenstall, UPMC Enterprises president, said in a prepared statement that this investment will help more individuals benefit from Lantern’s services than in the past.

“We are excited about reaching more people with behavioral health issues through this readily accessible, scalable, and cost-effective platform,” Heppenstall said. “This partnership is an excellent example of our mission at UPMC Enterprises: finding creative solutions and technologies to solve some of the most challenging problems in healthcare.”

Alejandro Foung, Lantern co-founder and CEO, said the two organizations were a perfect fit for one another.

“UPMC has a unique view into the continuum of care, from insuring more than 2.8 million individuals, to administering care preventatively and when patients need it most through its more than 20 hospitals and 3,500 employed physicians,” Foung said in the same statement. “A large part of UPMC’s appeal to Lantern is its focus on disease prevention, a sharp contrast to the fee-for-service model that currently dominates the behavioral health landscape. Because of our shared focus on prevention to solve health challenges before they even arise or manifest, Lantern and UPMC are the perfect match.”

As part of the investment, UPMC’s clinicians will work with Lantern on potentially expanding the company’s programs to patients with especially complex conditions.

“Integrating behavioral health into broader medical care and focusing on prevention for large groups of patients is the only way that we can deliver high-quality, cost-effective mental healthcare,” Eva Szigethy, MD, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry, pediatrics, and medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said in the statement. Szigethy will be working closely with Lantern employees.