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Health Net Helps Bring No-Cost Mental Telehealth Services to L.A. Schoolchildren

Date: 02/03/23

Partnership with Hazel Health and others will provide services to more than one million students

Health Net has partnered with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), L.A. Care Health Plan and the L.A. County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) to bring no-cost mental telehealth services to Los Angeles school children in grades K-12. The service will be offered through the school-based telehealth company Hazel Health

Health Net and L.A. Care Health Plan will allocate up to $24 million over two years to cover the cost of the program that allows Hazel Health to provide mental health support for more than 1.3 million L.A. County students. 

The partnership comes at a critical time as research shows 1 in 14 California children has an emotional disturbance that limits their functioning in family, school or community activities1.

“This historic partnership will bring much-needed mental health support to our students across the county,” Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Debra Duardo said. “We continue to see the devastating impact the pandemic has had on our children’s mental well-being. This crisis has called us to collective action.”

Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho adds, “The groundbreaking solutions in virtual care made possible by our partnership with Los Angeles County will dramatically increase our support capacity, ensuring all students are ready for the world.”

Hazel Health’s virtual mental health platform enables California-licensed therapists across the United States to make their services more accessible for students in school and at home. This can result in shorter wait times as well as earlier intervention and prevention. 

According to Josh Golomb, chief executive officer at Hazel Health, the program model, “Provides more equitable access to care at an unprecedented rate for students from families who may otherwise not benefit from it – and can truly change lives.” 

All Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in the county may opt-in to participate in the Hazel Health virtual mental health program. LEAs, such as Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and Compton Unified School District, have already decided to use the service. 

Health Net and L.A. Care Health Plan are also committed to connecting students to therapists who reflect and understand needs of diverse populations. More than 60 percent of Hazel Health therapists identify as people of color. Plus, more than 30 percent are bilingual. This commitment to culturally competent care is unique among service providers.

The program also represents a new model of what collaboration between public, private, and community stakeholders makes possible. 

President and CEO of Health Net, Brian Ternan praised the partnership by adding, "Helping more children is why we partner with agencies like the Los Angeles County Office of Education and local school districts…These efforts to bring mental health support to youth builds on our previous work with Hazel Health to increase their presence throughout California. This partnership is another large step in the journey to advancing health equity for the state's most vulnerable residents."

The program will deploy in a phased approach for all L.A. County LEAs that choose to opt-in. District leaders can learn about the rollout process and next steps through information sessions hosted by LACOE and Hazel Health in late January and February. 

Read the full story in the press release here

1Source: 2022 California Health Care Almanac

Last Updated: 02/03/2023