MATTER Member Profile: David Cohn of Regroup Therapy
Posted May 10 by Ornella Hernández
MATTER Journalism Resident
Medill School of Journalism, Class of 2016
There is a crippling shortage of mental and behavioral health providers in the United States. More than half of U.S. counties have no practicing psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, or therapists, according the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Millions of Americans with mental health issues – from mild depression to schizophrenia – are not receiving adequate treatment. “If you are sick, who do you call? You call your primary care doctor. But if you have a mental illness, who do you call? Too many people don’t know what to do,” says Regroup Therapy founder David Cohn.
Founded in 2011, Regroup Therapy is a web-based video service that virtually connects therapists and psychiatrists to patients within a healthcare entity – for now, at primary care clinics, inside emergency departments, and at outpatient mental health entities. “We act as a staffing agency,” explains Cohn. “Let’s say you are a hospital and you need a certain provider type that you aren’t able to hire locally. We come in and we give you capacity.”
Cohn knows firsthand about the value of talk therapy, growing up with two social workers for sisters and regularly attending therapy sessions as a student. Cohn understands the pain Regroup alleviates from personal experience, as his venture strives to match patients with the specialists best-equipped to provide necessary mental and behavioral healthcare.
The ongoing shift in the healthcare industry from a fee-for-service model to one of value-based care presents an momentous opportunity for Regroup Therapy. Since it’s less expensive and more effective to consult behavioral and mental health specialists in treating patients with mental illness, health entities are now incentivized to fill behavioral health specialist positions that were long left empty. “If you don’t treat behavioral health, you can’t effectively treat diabetes, for example, because a lot of care is self care. It’s: ‘I’m so depressed that I can’t get out of bed and give myself insulin, so I end up in the hospital,’” says Cohn.
Regroup joined MATTER as a founding member in 2015, and landed a pilot six months later. Through the connections Cohn made at MATTER, Regroup soon signed contracts to work with Sinai Hospital System and OSF HealthCare. Regroup fills a specific and pressing need for health entities and furthers the conversation in a society that still stigmatizes mental health conditions. Emergency room doctors and primary care physicians increasingly understand the importance of specialized behavioral healthcare, and many now routinely have their patients consult behavioral health specialists via video conference.
Regroup recently raised capital from a group of investors including Hyde Park Angels, OCA Ventures, Impact Engine, and Harvard Business School Alumni Angels. The team is now scaling the business to help more patients get the help they need.
Cohn looks back on the last few years and recalls, “There were so many questions at the beginning. The only way to figure something out is to dive in and do it!” To connect with David Cohn, visit his LinkedIn or Twitter.