Health Tech

Pelago Launches Inpatient Centers of Excellence Network

Pelago’s new Inpatient Centers of Excellence network offers Pelago members access to a nationwide network of inpatient substance use disorder treatment centers. The network includes organizations like the Recovery Centers of America and Banyan Treatment Centers.

Doctor virtual network to answer questions concept.

Pelago, a digital substance use management clinic, unveiled its new Inpatient Centers of Excellence network last week. The network includes organizations like the Recovery Centers of America and Banyan Treatment Centers.

New York City-based Pelago serves employers and health plans and supports members struggling with tobacco, alcohol and opioids. It provides behavioral therapy and medication-assisted treatment programs and serves patients in all 50 states.

The new Inpatient Centers of Excellence network offers Pelago members access to a nationwide network of inpatient substance use disorder treatment centers. Pelago identifies patients in need of higher-level treatment, and these patients complete a comprehensive multidimensional assessment and Prioritization, Assessment, Categorization and Triage review. The assessment and review determine the diagnosis, severity of the diagnosis, suicidality risk, mental health and physical health.

Based on the assessment, Pelago matches patients with the best facility in its network for their needs. The company helps with the transition to inpatient treatment through services like travel coordination. After the patient is discharged from the facility, Pelago provides follow-up treatment to prevent relapse.

“This addresses the primary cause for inpatient treatment failure: patient-facility mismatch, which means one’s inability to find and attend the facility that’s right for them. … By creating a network of pre-vetted, high-quality inpatient centers, Pelago aims to eliminate these mismatches, ensuring that patients get the right level of care at the right time,” said Dr. Yusuf Sherwani, co-founder and CEO of Pelago, in an email. “This initiative also tackles the complexity and inaccessibility of the current system, providing patients with expert guidance and a streamlined pathway to effective treatment.”

Sherwani added that Pelago’s vetting process for inpatient centers includes three phases: market screening, a detailed assessment and Care Advisory Committee approval. Inpatient centers are evaluated based on four criteria: care outcome and performance measurement, organizational accreditation and clinician qualification, evidence-based treatment programs, and communication practices.

Research shows there is a need for better matching to inpatient treatment centers. Currently, 45% of inpatient substance use disorder patients don’t complete treatment. According to Sherwani, this is due to “mismatches between patient needs and facility capabilities, magnified by a lack of professional guidance to the right facility and facility prioritization of admission over assessment.” A 2021 study found that a third of prospective patients of residential treatment programs were offered admission before they received a clinical evaluation.

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With the new Centers of Excellence network, Pelago ultimately aims “to increase treatment completion rates, improve patient outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and maximize post-discharge follow-up,” Sherwani said.

Other companies that provide substance use disorder treatment include Bicycle Health and Boulder Care.

Photo: Natali_Mis, Getty Images