Headway vs. Alma: Navigating Digital Platforms for Your Growing Psychotherapy Practice

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Headway vs. Alma: Navigating Digital Platforms for Your Growing Psychotherapy Practice

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Published: Sep 14 2023

Have you been scratching your head wondering what the differences are between Headway and Alma? 

They both seem to be a directory of therapists, so you might be wondering…

“Does it matter which I choose?” or “Can I sign up for both?” or maybe “Do I need either?

With digital products becoming increasingly popular and clients searching for therapists online – our industry professionals have been turning to popular platforms like Headway and Alma.

These products are specifically suited for therapists and mental health professionals to help with some aspects of practice management, client communication, and administrative tasks. 

So, back to the real question – which is better for therapists looking to grow their private practice? 

Let’s take a closer look at our comparison of Headway vs. Alma and see if one of these platforms is right for your private practice. 

How can Digital Platforms for Therapists like Headway and Alma Benefit My Practice?

Headway and Alma are both well-established digital platforms for therapists, offering different benefits for therapists in private practice. Here are the ways in which they are similar:

Insurance Credentialing

One major advantage is that they both facilitate credentialing with major insurance companies, allowing you to expand your client base and ensure seamless reimbursement. 

It's important, however, to note that if you decide to leave either Headway or Alma, your credentialing status won't follow you, and you’ll have to go through the process on your own. 

However, this needn’t deter you from considering these platforms, as they provide a host of features that can accelerate your therapy practice, especially if you’re just getting started. 

Automated eligibility checks can easily determine if clients have insurance coverage

Automated Eligibility Checks

Headway and Alma both offer automated eligibility checks for clients, meaning you can easily determine if they have insurance coverage. This can save you lots of time as you don’t have to deal with insurance companies and verify your client’s policy yourself. 

Telehealth Coverage Isn’t Guaranteed

When it comes to insurance and telehealth, it's worth mentioning that coverage for these services depends on each client's specific policy. While it's not guaranteed, both platforms acknowledge the importance of telehealth and work towards maximizing insurance coverage for clients.

Optimized Therapist Directory

To help clients find you, both Headway and Alma provide directories with therapist profiles, increasing your online visibility to attract potential clients. Additionally, they both prioritize search engine optimization (SEO), increasing the chances of your profile appearing in relevant search results.

HIPAA Compliance

Both products were created for mental health professionals, so being HIPAA compliant is a must.

Appointment Scheduling

Streamlining administrative tasks is another area where Headway and Alma can help therapists struggling with running their practices. They offer client calendars for easy appointment booking and send out automated appointment reminders through their systems. Hopefully, this helps reduce no-shows and keeps your schedule centralized. 

Managing Payments 

Conveniently managing payments is a priority of Headway and Alma, as they also enable you to see private pay clients through their portals and centralize billing. 

Clients can securely store their credit card information in the system, and the platforms will automatically bill their card after each session, eliminating the need for manual payment processing. 

These platforms also allow you to generate superbills for clients, eliminating another step in the billing process.

Progress Notes

While storing progress notes in these platforms isn’t mandatory, both Headway and Alma provide the option to do so. Remember, it's still required to keep your progress notes stored somewhere else HIPAA compliant if not through these platforms. If you’re audited, you’ll have to readily access and provide these records. 

Key Features of Headway

Now that we’ve gone through what Headway and Alma both similarly provide, let’s go through some of the unique aspects of each cloud-based platform. 

Regular Pay Schedule

Headway guarantees a payout every two weeks, on a regular schedule of the 15th and 30th of every month. If you like to know exactly when you’ll get paid, this could be a good platform for you, so you can count on a steady flow of income.

Not Integrated with Telehealth

Now, one thing to keep in mind is that Headway doesn't come with an integrated telehealth platform. If telehealth is a requirement for you, you’ll have to sign up for an additional service.  

Single State Billing

With telehealth becoming more common, many of us work across state lines. When it comes to billing, Headway doesn't do multi-state billing. So if you're working across multiple states, you'll have to find an alternative method for managing those billing needs.

Headway is currently offered in the following states: AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IL, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OR, PA, TN, TX, VA, WA, and DC

It’s Free, But…

Everything good comes at a cost though. 

They’ve basically done the work for you and negotiated a rate with each insurance company to ensure you’re getting fair payment for your services. 

There is a set reimbursement amount for each CPT code that is billed. Their way of collecting a fee is by taking a small cut of each payment.


Although the feature of Headway claims to provide referrals, this isn’t the main focus of the platform. As a result, many therapists have reported feeling disappointed in the lack of referrals that come their way. So if you're hoping to get referral clients solely through their platform, you'll also have to put in the extra effort elsewhere. 

Luckily, there are plenty of other online directory options available. Major ones like Psychology Today draw in a significant number of potential clients, so Headway may still be a good option. 

Credentialing Speed

One thing to note about Headway is that their credentialing process can take a bit of time. It can range anywhere from 30 to 120 days for them to get you fully credentialed as an in-network therapist. 

So, if you're planning to jump on board with Headway, make sure to factor in this timeframe and be patient while they work on your credentialing behind the scenes. 

Key Features of Alma

Alma has some unique features that therapists can benefit from, too. 

Guaranteed Payout 

First things first, they guarantee a two-week payout. This means you’ll get paid within two weeks— some therapists have reported getting paid just two to three days after a session, as soon as the reimbursement comes through. 

A Higher Fee, With Perks

Alma offers a monthly or annual subscription. As of the date of this blog post, their rates are $125/month or $1,140 for a year, which is 25% in savings. 

Credentialing Speed

The credentialing process with Alma usually takes up to 45 days. If you're eager to start accepting insurance and expanding your client base, keep that timeline in mind. Again, we’ve heard that others have reported getting credentialed faster, so it’s possible you could even take on a client within days. 

Multi-State Billing

Unlike Headway, the features of Alma support multi-state billing. If you're licensed to practice in multiple states, as long as Alma is available there, you won't have to worry about any billing roadblocks.

Integrated Telehealth

A unique feature to Alma is their integrated telehealth capabilities. They also provide you with a HIPAA compliant Zoom subscription. This is a $199/per user, per year account, for free. You can provide virtual therapy sessions while keeping everything secure and confidential in one place. 

A feature of Alma is their integrated Telehealth capabilities.

Client Referrals

Alma helps to connect you with new clients and boost your practice by sending you client referrals. These referrals might not be as frequent in cities where there are a large number of providers, for example, New York City. So, it’s still a good idea to put a profile up on PsychToday and other directories. 

Paperless Assessments

Alma also provides paperless assessments, like the GAD-7 and PHQ-9, making it easier for you to gather important information from your clients without dealing with heaps of intake assessment paperwork. This also includes online consent forms and other questionnaires. 

A Community Network

Alma offers a community and support for therapists. They have members-only meetups and events where you can connect with other professionals in the field. They also host forums on the platform, giving therapists a space to engage in discussions and share insights with your peers.

Continuing Education Credits

If you're interested in continuing education, Alma provides some. They offer CEU (Continuing Education Unit) classes through NYU, and there's a chance these classes could be included in your membership fee.

Headway vs. Alma, Who is the Winner?

Both Headway and Alma offer valuable features to therapists, but the ultimate decision of which is better for your practice and needs  – well, that’s up to you. 

Is integrated telehealth and a Zoom subscription important to you? Or, are you more budget conscious, and looking for a free account? Ultimately, take into consideration your unique requirements and budget to make an informed decision. 

If you’re a therapist working in multiple states and want to use one platform to handle your private practice needs, then Alma may be the better choice for you. If you’re on a tighter budget, work in a single state, and want insurance credentialing and billing taken care of for no fee, then Headway may be the right one for your practice. 

Ultimately, if you decide to be free of therapy platforms, then check out some of our resources on Debunking the Myths of Becoming a Private Pay Therapist, our free Charge What You’re Worth Fee Calculator, and our professional-level Out of Network Reimbursement Calculator to help - whether you’re just getting started in private practice or you’re looking for change.

For more resources and community support with insurance billing and therapy platforms, check out Clarity Cooperative’s Pro level subscription with a free 30 day trial.

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