CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and Headway Announce Collaboration to Enhance Mental Healthcare System

Initiative will leverage technology to remove barriers to providing and accessing mental health care

BALTIMORE, M.D./WASHINGTON, D.C. and NEW YORK, N.Y. Today, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst), the largest not-for-profit health plan in the mid-Atlantic region, announced a collaboration with Headway, a tech-enabled company that expands access to in-network mental health care by removing barriers faced by providers, payers, and the people they serve, to support CareFirst’s mental healthcare system. CareFirst identified the opportunity to better enable independent providers through technology and launched a search for this critical capability late in fall 2021. This initiative with Headway will bring a technology-first approach to CareFirst’s services, eliminating obstacles to providing and accessing behavioral health while delivering quality, easy-to-access mental health care for all members.

"CareFirst has thousands of incredibly dedicated behavioral health professionals who, in solo practice, don’t generally have scheduling websites or office staff, making it difficult for members to access their services. Many other professionals decide not to contract with insurers because of the need to file claims," said Brian Wheeler, Vice President of Provider Collaboration and Network Transformation at CareFirst. "By linking independent providers with the infrastructure to support their businesses, Headway allows members to access the care they need and allows providers to better serve CareFirst members and more efficiently manage their businesses."

Headway’s secure online platform is available to CareFirst’s network of mental health providers at no cost and will enable efficient scheduling, billing and more. This allows providers to focus on quality care delivery, rather than administrative tasks. In turn, a better supported practitioner network creates a seamless experience for members when they connect with a robust network of independent providers or small mental health practices. Members can browse and book appointments with clinicians based on specialty, demographic information, and real-time availability – and obtain immediate price transparency.

"Headway is singularly focused on building an in-network mental healthcare system that everyone can access. We do this through our single technology infrastructure that removes the barriers faced by mental health providers, health plans, and the patients they serve,” said Andrew Adams, Founder and CEO, Headway. “We are incredibly excited to work with CareFirst across the Mid-Atlantic to build a better experience for both providers and members. This value-oriented collaboration will enable CareFirst providers to build thriving practices, members to enjoy an improved consumer experience and easily find an in-network practitioner, and the health plan has the network capacity data and insights to drive optimal access.”   

"Practitioner-patient matching is important in mental health, maybe even more so than in other types of care," said Wheeler. "Through this initiative, we will further invest in mental health providers, and double down on our efforts to advance equitable care, leveraging data to direct more resources and providers to communities in need." 

Headway is providing options for behavioral health providers to participate in CareFirst networks and all existing CareFirst providers will be given the option to voluntarily join Headway. This collaboration with Headway, launching in August 2022, reflects CareFirst's commitment to bolstering mental health resources in the mid-Atlantic region by providing more visibility to the resources available in communities to make mental health support more accessible for all.

About CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield 

In its 85th year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit healthcare company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to 3.6 million individuals and employers in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. In 2021, CareFirst invested $26.2 million to improve overall health, and increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of healthcare throughout its market areas. To learn more about CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, visit our website at and our transforming healthcare page at, or follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn or Instagram

About Headway 

Headway expands access to in-network mental health care by removing the barriers faced by providers, health plans, and the patients they serve. Through custom-built technology, the Headway platform simplifies how providers, patients and health plans work together to deliver measurable, value-oriented care. More than 15,000 credentialed mental health providers across race, gender, ethnicity and specialty deliver quality care through Headway, which currently operates in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Patients can book care in just one click at, with most attending their first appointment in less than six days. Headway has received venture funding from top investors including Andreesen Horowitz, Accel, Thrive Capital, and GV (formerly Google Ventures).