Tag Archives: Geoffrey Boyce

Crisis Behavioral Health Readiness

Behavioral health emergencies affecting whole communities can arise suddenly and can be as unpredictable as the weather. Recent natural disasters such as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria serve as reminders that all communities are vulnerable to the kind of crisis exposure that turns lives upside down and results in extensive emotional turmoil.

In such situations, the overall readiness of a healthcare provider organization is determined by its ability to respond not only to medical needs but also to psychiatric trauma within its community, with a solid plan of action in place. Implementation and deployment of mobile crisis teams are essential in addressing behavioral health needs at any time, but especially when a disaster strikes. By leveraging telepsychiatry and telebehavioral health within these care models, forward-thinking health systems can help ensure rapid response to mental health needs and the best outcomes.

Community Mental Health Response

To be able to respond quickly to community needs in a disaster, health systems should have dedicated mental health teams in place composed of specially trained professionals who know how to respond to specific mental health issues that develop as a result of a disaster or other community trauma, such as severe destruction or loss of life.

Another way health systems can act to support mental health response in a disaster is through the use of mental health mobile crisis teams. The purpose of such teams should be to intervene with individuals who may be experiencing or are about to experience a mental health crisis in the community by offering real-time support and determining the best course of action for these individuals.

All U.S. states are currently experiencing professional behavioral health shortages, however, making access to needed services and providers a challenge, especially in times of crisis when many people may need help quickly. An effective model for addressing this challenge is the use of telepsychiatry to improve access to care. Such a model also can provide support not only when a disaster hits, but also on an ongoing basis.

Telepsychiatry Advantage

Telepsychiatry allows sessions to be conducted from the anywhere in the community, including individuals’ homes, shelters, and other locations where privacy is possible. Crisis response teams who are deployed in the community can set up consultations with remote telepsychiatry providers on an iPad or other mobile device, allowing individuals in need of immediate evaluation to speak with remote providers on the spot.

Access Services, a not-for-profit organization in Pennsylvania that delivers support services for individuals with special needs, offers an example of how one mental health crisis team is improving its ability to respond to a mental health crisis. In 2014, the organization launched one of the nation’s first models of remote crisis behavioral health care.

According to Brenda Boorse, vice president of digital operations and communications at Access Services, the program reduces the time consumers spend awaiting care and lessens the strain on the psychiatric resources of area hospitals.

“Mobile crisis intervention paired with telehealth is a more immediate support for people,” Boorse says. “It helps resolve the immediate crisis in many cases without unnecessary and costly hospitalization.”

Telepsychiatry can empower local provider resources and elevate readiness strategies by complementing provided services through disaster relief organizations. Although critical to any response strategy, many national disaster relief organizations require a lengthy vetting processes for local behavioral health providers to volunteer their time, which can delay access. Leveraging telepsychiatry provides an effective means of ensuring behavioral healthcare providers will be available in the immediate aftermath of an emergency.

Getting Started

Hospitals or health systems considering a telepsychiatry response program can get started by working with local government officials to conduct a community needs assessment to identify current gaps and opportunities. An organization should look at its existing technological capabilities, define the profile of its population, evaluate the capacity of its existing provider network, make volume projections, identify funding sources, and create action plans around the potential disasters or crises their community may face.

Crisis situations are inevitable across any community, and effective response and remediation often hinges on readiness. Telepsychiatry offers a key resource for addressing the behavioral healthcare needs in emergency situations, and healthcare organizations should consider how to leverage the advantages of this emerging model to meet the mental health needs of their communities.


Geoffrey Boyce is executive director of InSight Telepsychiatry, Marlton, NJ.

Original article published on Healthcare Financial Management Association.

Telepsychiatry: Closing Care Gaps for More Connected Health Care Communities

Geoffrey Boyce, Executive Director of InSight

By: Geoffrey Boyce

Value-based care and the concept of connected health care communities go hand-in-hand. It is simply not possible to extract the full “value” of forward-looking care delivery models without a strategy that addresses patients’ whole health—both physical and behavioral—across the entire continuum. Connected community models achieve this objective through a comprehensive, sustainable and multi-faceted behavioral health strategy that improves treatment access at key entry points and across all levels of care.

Health care stakeholders increasingly recognize the power of connected community models, yet behavioral health remains significantly fragmented due to supply and demand challenges. While rapid evolution of integrated delivery networks is increasing scale and synergies on the medical side of the house, behavioral health lags behind partially due to professional shortages that exist in all U.S. states. These shortages are felt across the continuum, beginning in the most acute settings and flowing into outpatient care and referral networks.

Telepsychiatry models have emerged as one solution that holds great promise for changing this dynamic. Through video conferencing sessions that enable anytime, anywhere access, this model is opening new gateways to care and disrupting traditional approaches to behavioral health.

The Telepsychiatry Advantage

Providers and patients are embracing telepsychiatry as a viable treatment alternative for good reason: it meets the standard of traditional in-office care for diagnostic accuracy and quality, while also improving care continuity, outcomes and patient satisfaction.

Patients appreciate the convenience and privacy afforded by direct-to-consumer (D2C) telepsychiatry sessions that can be accessed at home or other comfortable locations that are private. By empowering patients with greater choice in location and time, telepsychiatry models help tear down communication barriers and reduce stigma—a key factor that keeps many from seeking treatment. Appointments are easily scheduled outside of traditional office hours where a reliable Internet connection exists. Additionally, patients can look outside of local areas to access services, expanding provider options.

In tandem with patient benefits, behavioral health providers often find telepsychiatry a good fit for work-life balance. Today’s health care communities rely heavily on existing behavioral health professionals to fill care gaps. As such, it’s not uncommon for those in the field to have upwards of three to four different jobs. Telepsychiatry relieves some of the pressure by allowing existing providers to schedule sessions in more convenient, creative ways.

In addition, many providers want to address the urgent need for services in rural communities and desire to fill care gaps. Yet, they often prefer to live in urban areas or are unable to relocate. Telepsychiatry allows them an outlet to reach those locations where the greatest need exists without moving their practice or making long commutes.

Leveraging Telepsychiatry Across the Continuum

Communities are realizing notable gains by integrating telepsychiatry across the continuum in various ways including:

Emergency departments (EDs)

Busy ED physicians often lack the psychiatric resources needed for timely evaluations of critical-need patients. As a result, patients are stuck waiting in the ED or transferred to a med/surg unit until a qualified provider is available. This scenario leads to higher costs associated with longer wait times and inappropriate admissions. Telepsychiatry relieves this pressure by ensuring timely evaluation and quick triage to the most appropriate level of care.

Other hospital-based applications

Telepsychiatry can also be used on medical floors of the hospital for psychiatric assessments of medical patients. Some hospital inpatient units utilize telepsychiatry providers to augment their in-person staff and ensure units have 24/7 psychiatric coverage.

Discharge Planning

Telepsychiatry is increasingly an important resource for discharge planners, who are tasked with helping patients access post-discharge services in a timely manner. Consider, for example, that patients are often discharged from hospitals, correctional facilities or other residential programs with a 10-day “bridge” prescription and are required to continue treatment with a community-based psychiatrist. In these instances, discharge planners can face notable challenges to securing a timely follow-up appointment as waiting lists for psychiatrists at some community clinics can reach upwards of several months.

Medication lapses are common, and if the patient misses a follow-up appointment, the situation is exacerbated, opening the door for conditions to deteriorate. Ultimately, this scenario results in a vicious cycle of patient readmissions.

Community based referrals

For under-resourced clinics, telepsychiatry provides a lifeline of support through remote providers who serve a regular caseload of new and existing patients just like an in-person psychiatrist. This enhanced provider pool increases a clinic’s psychiatric capacity and potentially shortens the long wait periods for psychiatric appointments that exist in many communities.

Provider referrals

More than half of all psychiatric drugs today are actually prescribed by non-psychiatrists due to provider shortages. Primary care doctors are increasingly sought for psychiatric care, although many are uncomfortable with or lack expertise with psychotropic drugs. Telepsychiatrists provide both an attractive referral option and consultative partnership, where knowledge and expertise can be shared.

Forward looking

While telepsychiatry is not a “magic wand,” it does provide an effective option for improving the fragmented behavioral health continuum. Communities are wise to consider effective telepsychiatry partnerships that can bolster behavioral health service lines. When these services are effectively integrated, communities achieve a more connected health care continuum that drives better outcomes and lower costs.

Geoffrey Boyce is Executive Director of InSight Telepsychiatry.

Original article from Healthcare Business Today

Geoffrey Boyce Speaks on InSight’s Role in Telepsychiatry Industry at NGA Rural Health Meeting

WASHINGTON, DC – Geoffrey Boyce, Executive Director of InSight Telepsychiatry, spoke at the National Governors Association (NGA) Rural Health Learning Collaborative meeting on August 9 in Washington, D.C.

A renowned national thought leader in the telemedicine industry, Boyce was invited to speak of a range of topics about InSight and telepsychiatry, which included:

  • InSight’s telepsychiatry models and service lines
  • Program level barriers and opportunities for telepsychiatry
  • Regulatory and legislative landscape
  • The state’s role in advancing telepsychiatry

I was honored to accept the invitation to speak to this group about the telepsychiatry industry,” says Boyce. “InSight prides itself on sharing industry level best practices and education for this growing field.”

The meeting took place at the Hall of the States on August 9 – 10. The NGA Center brought together leaders from five states: Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, New York and Nevada during a one-and-a-half-day meeting focused on strategies states may consider to meet behavioral health care needs in rural areas. State participants and attendees broke into teams and took part in sessions, where they met with speakers and NGA facilitators to ask questions and work on action plans. The teams presented their action plans and key takeaways at the end of the meeting.

Boyce spoke during a session called, “Using Telehealth and Telemedicine to Meet Behavioral Health Care Needs.” The session highlighted strategies to build and sustain successful telehealth models and addressed topics such as Medicaid reimbursement, the scope of practice policies and best practices and misconceptions about telehealth.

Other speakers during Boyce’s session included Latoya Thomas, Director of State and Policy Resources at the American Telemedicine Association and Brian Cooper, Telepsychiatry and Rural Health Specialist for the North Carolina Office of Rural Health, Department of Health and Human Services.

About InSight Telepsychiatry

InSight is the leading national telepsychiatry service provider organization with a mission to increase access to quality behavioral health care through telehealth. InSight’s behavioral health providers bring care into any setting on an on-demand or scheduled basis. InSight has 18+ years of telepsychiatry experience and is an industry thought-leader. More information can be found at www.InSightTelepsychiatry.com.

About the National Governors Association

The National Governors Association (NGA) is the bipartisan organization of the nation’s governors. Through NGA, governors share best practices, speak with a collective voice on national policy and develop innovative solutions that improve state government and support the principles of federalism.

ATA President’s Award Winners: Pushing the Needle in Telehealth

By Christina Hernandez Sherwood

One is a father who knew there had to be a way to remotely diagnose his daughter’s chronic ear infections. Another is a metropolitan healthcare system expanding its reach through virtual care. There are telehealth advocates working to promote the field across the country, and a team of experts spreading the word to pediatrics.

These are the winners of this year’s American Telemedicine Association President’s Awards, which recognize substantial contributions in telehealth advancement. Discover how the awardees are propelling telehealth forward:

Innovation in Remote Healthcare: Tyto Care

Video conferencing with a doctor has significant value, but it can’t replicate the medical exams done in the doctor’s office, says Dedi Gilad, co-founder and chief executive. Tyto Care’s device can examine the ears, throat, heart, lungs, abdomen and skin, as well as record heart rate and temperature, then forward the data to a provider. It’s meant to replicate an in-office exam and consult, no matter the patient’s location.

“My daughter… suffered through chronic, painful ear infections at a young age, which resulted in countless middle-of-the-night and weekend trips to the emergency room,” Gilad says. “With all that hassle, the diagnosis and treatment always ended up the same.”

The technology not only has implications for harried parents and their oft-sick kids, but also for patients with chronic conditions, post-operative patients and patients who frequently visit the doctor and ER, Gilad says. “By enabling a comprehensive remote examination, the types of medical conditions that can be diagnosed using telehealth can greatly expand,” he says. “We envision a world where it is second nature for consumers to connect with their physician for a remote exam and diagnosis.”

The company received FDA clearance in the fall and is rolling out its solutions to health systems, telehealth providers and strategic partners. The launch for U.S. consumers is expected this year.

Transformation of Healthcare Delivery: NewYork-Presbyterian

NewYork-Presbyterian developed NYP OnDemand, a suite of telemedicine services, to expand its reach from beyond the Big Apple. Its offerings include:

  • Express Care: video care delivered to emergency department patients
  • Urgent Care: acute care delivered via smartphone, tablet or computer to patients in their homes in four states
  • Peer-to-Peer Consults: consults by specialist physicians in psychiatry, neurology and pediatric medicine to patients in NewYork-Presbyterian emergency departments
  • Second Opinions: Weill Cornell and Columbia physicians can asynchronously review labs, imaging and other data to deliver a second opinion
  • Mobile Stroke Unit: mobile unit allows potential stroke patients to receive curbside CT scans with results sent to a neurologist for reading and immediate treatment

The first five offerings of NYP OnDemand have proven the viability and potential for digital medicine, says Daniel Barchi, NewYork-Presbyterian’s chief information officer. Express Care, for instance, cut the average emergency department visit time from more than two hours to 30 minutes with a 95 percent patient satisfaction rating.

The medical center will now use the insights and lessons learned to expand direct patient and physician digital appointments for routine care, acute visits and both pre- and post-surgical visits, Barchi says. “NYP OnDemand has, in a matter of months, moved from vision to test to operational stages and is now a key part of NYP’s growth,” he says. “The program will continue in scope and, more importantly, in volume to meet the need of more patients nationally and globally.”

Individual Leadership: Elizabeth A. Krupinski, professor and vice chair of research, Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Emory University

Krupinski_Elizabeth

Elizabeth Krupinski

The last year has been exciting for Krupinski, who works with colleagues at the University of Arizona to promote telehealth in the Southwest and recently joined the virtual patient care team at Emory in Atlanta, Georgia. As chair of the ATA’s Practice Guidelines Committee, she led the effort to produce important new guidelines and update others to better reflect the evolving field of telehealth. And as part of the ATA’s Human Factors Special-Interest Group, Krupinski helped initiate a series of “Telehealth Quick Guidelines” with easy steps to optimize telehealth encounters by focusing on the human side of the equation.

“The next big hurdle is to help delineate and guide the future directions of research efforts in telehealth,” Krupinski says. “Our goal should not be to simply assess the ‘tele’ part of telehealth care, but to study healthcare as a system and the optimal integration of the various tools and techniques that telemedicine offers.”

Industry Leader Award: Geoffrey Boyce, executive director of InSight Telepsychiatry

Geoffrey Boyce

Geoffrey Boyce

A national telepsychiatry organization, InSight Telepsychiatry works in 27 states across the country. “As InSight has grown into new states,” Boyce says, “we have often had to work with partners and state officials to update policies that were written before anyone ever contemplated telemedicine.” In fact, Boyce has spent much of the last year working with policymakers in the company’s home state of New Jersey to develop telemedicine friendly regulation.

Other accomplishments for Boyce include the growth of Inpathy, the company’s direct-to-consumer division, as well as significant work with the ATA, including helping to draft comments on the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act and reviewing the ATA’s Guidelines for Child and Adolescent Telemental Health.

While his work to expand telehealth reimbursement to new states and new applications, including direct-to-consumer telehealth, will continue, Boyce is also pushing for increased telehealth training and education.

“The industry has produced some great guidelines for telehealth best practices in the past year,” he says, “and I look forward to seeing more training programs and existing providers utilize these tools to stay up to date on the most appropriate ways to practice through this medium.”

Special-Interest Group (SIG) Achievement Award: Pediatric Telehealth

Webster_Kathy

Kathy Webster

This year’s honor went to ATA’s Pediatric Telehealth SIG, which worked to strengthen its relationship with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ telehealth section, say chair Kathy Webster and co-chair James McElligott. “As our membership grows and becomes more active in both organizations, we focused this past year on SIG member engagement,” they say.

James McElligott

James McElligott

 

Subgroups structured around evidence and quality approaches that would be synergistic to the conversations in the AAP were formed to mobilize SIG members. Most of these subgroups remain active now — a year later — and the group has seen more engagement on its monthly calls. Each subgroup has a specific focus, leading to ongoing conversations among members that would otherwise occur only at annual meetings.

“Our research collaborative provides a platform for sharing ideas and advancing the evidence base for telehealth,” the chairs say, “while strong advocacy efforts help to educate lawmakers and promote legislation to remove barriers to telehealth, as well as educating members on how to spread these efforts both regionally and nationally.”

 

Original story posted on MedCity News.

InSight Executive Director Receives 2017 Industry Leader Award

The American Telemedicine Association recognizes Geoffrey Boyce as a proven leader in the advancement and advocacy of telemedicine.

g boyce headshot

Geoffrey Boyce- ATA Industry Partner Honoree 2017

MARLTON, NJ – Geoffrey Boyce, Executive Director of InSight Telepsychiatry, is the recipient of the American Telemedicine Association’s 2017 Industry Leader Award.

The Industry Leader Award is presented each year to an individual or company that has made significant contributions to the advancement of telemedicine a federal, state and international level.

“Geoffrey has worked extensively in the promotion of telemedicine in a number of arenas,” says Les Paschall, CEO of InSight’s sister company, CFG Health Network. “This award recognizes his many accomplishments and tireless work to champion telemedicine and transform access to health care.”

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) is the largest telehealth-focused organization. The non-profit organization is the leading telehealth association helping to transform healthcare by improving the quality, equity and affordability of healthcare throughout the world.

InSight Telepsychiatry is the leading national telepsychiatry organization with a mission to increase access to quality behavioral health care through innovative applications of technology. InSight has been practicing telepsychiatry for the past 18 years and runs telepsychiatry programs in settings than span the continuum of care across 27 states.

As executive director of InSight, Boyce has been active in telemedicine advocacy, education and reform initiatives. At a federal level, Boyce is an active leader in advocating for telemedicine-friendly changes to the Ryan Haight Act. He’s met with the DEA about the issue, spoke on the issue at several events and helped lead an ATA committee that produced comments on the Act that would make it telemedicine-friendly.

At the state level, Boyce played a crucial role in drafting a proposed telemedicine bill in New Jersey, which introduced significant regulations for the efficient delivery of health care services through telemedicine. He was among experts to testify before the New Jersey state Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on the current and potential applications of telemedicine services and has continued to be a resource to the policy makers throughout the process.

Boyce also played a key role in advocating for New Jersey’s change in commitment laws to allow for electronic signatures in 2012. The revision represented significant improvement to the logistical challenges faced when screening and placing individuals appropriately, particularly in the delivery of the psychiatrist’s screen certificate.

Boyce worked with the Delaware Telehealth Coalition and the Delaware Medical Society to draft legislation making telemedicine more accessible through Delaware’s House Bill 69. He also helped design several innovative telemedicine partnerships within the state, including a 2014 pilot with the DSCYF to bring child and adolescent psychiatry to southern Delaware.

Through his work at InSight, Boyce has developed and implemented a number of innovative telepsychiatry and telebehavioral health programs for hospitals, health systems, outpatient health facilities and various other healthcare organizations. He launched the Adult Mobile Crisis Program and Children’s Crisis Psychiatry Program, allowing trained crisis support specialists to bring laptops equipped to connect a telepsychiatrist to the homes of callers experiencing psychiatric crisis in Pennsylvania. He launched the first ACT program to utilize telepsychiatry in Delaware. He also played a key role in the design of Inpathy, one of the nation’s first direct-to-consumer telebehavioral health platforms, and is currently working to expand into new areas through partnerships with health plans and insurance companies.

Boyce is an active public speaker on telehealth through presentations, webinars and events. Boyce has spoken on the topic of telemedicine at over 25 events in the past 5 years including presentations on the topic of Telepsychiatry to the American Telemedicine Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the National Association of Rural Health Associations, The Center for Telehealth and e-Law and many others.

Boyce also serves on the board of the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center.

“I’m humbled by this honor. I’ve been involved with ATA for close to ten years and seen the organization and the telemedicine industry come into its own,” says Boyce. “We are no longer spending time convincing people that telemedicine isn’t voodoo and are now seeing real change. Telehealth is at that tipping point.”

Boyce will be presented with his award during the Industry Council Meeting at the 2017 International American Telemedicine Association Conference in Orlando, FL on Sunday, April 23.

InSight Telepsychiatry to Present at the American Telemedicine Association Annual Conference

InSight Telepsychiatry representatives are presenting at the American Telemedicine Association’s Annual Conference and Trade Show in Orlando. Their presentations, will address innovative telebehavioral health programs in a variety of settings, drawing on InSight’s experience as the leading national telepsychiatry provider organization.

ORLANDO, FL – InSight Telepsychiatry, the leading national telepsychiatry provider organization with a mission to increase access to behavioral health care, today announced thought leaders from the company, along with CFG Health Network and InSight partner, Access Services, will give presentations on a variety of telepsychiatry topics during the American Telemedicine Association’s (ATA) Annual Conference and Trade Show, taking place in Orlando, FL from April 23 to 25. ATA is the industry’s leading event for insights into the latest telemedicine and mobile health trends.

On Monday, April 24, representatives from InSight, CFG and Access Services will present during the session called The Use of Consumer-Based Telemental Health for Acute and Long-Term Needs. This session will feature “Bringing Help Home: The Use of Telepsychiatry in a Mobile Crisis Program” presented by Dan Khebzou and Jessica Fenchel, and “Getting Ahead of the Curve: Layering Home-Based Telehealth into an Existing Outpatient Mental Health Clinic” presented by Joel Freidman, PhD, that discusses the use of Inpathy, InSight’s direct-to-consumer division.

Dan Khebzou, a regional account executive for InSight, and Jess Fenchel, the senior director for adult behavioral health and crisis at Access Services, will give details on the partnership that facilitated the nation’s first mobile crisis program to utilize telepsychiatry.

Access Services and InSight work together to connect individuals in crisis and crisis team members with a remote telepsychiatry provider who is able to rapidly meet the person where they are – all through telehealth. This case study will review the implementation steps the partners went through to develop and roll out a successful program including designing workflows, selecting providers, overcoming hurdles, informing payers, choosing their technology and educating their teams. In addition, they will discuss lessons learned.
In the second presentation, Joel Friedman, PhD., the clinical director of CFG Health Network, will give details on how Center for Family Guidance, an outpatient mental health organization with three offices, is utilizing Inpathy, in order to meet the increasing needs of consumers.

Additionally, InSight Executive Director Geoffrey Boyce will present the e-poster, “Do You Know Ryan Haight?” on April 23. This poster will break down the confusing elements of the Ryan Haight Act into digestible and applicable pieces.

Visit booth 1506 for more information and to connect with InSight. To schedule a time for a meeting, contact Olivia Boyce at oboyce@in-sight.net or 770.713.4161.

InSight Telepsychiatry is the leading national telepsychiatry service provider organization with a mission to increase access to quality behavioral health care through innovative applications of technology.

Winona Health’s Telepsychiatry Program Proves Successful In First Few Months

Winona Health recently implemented a telepsychiatry program in partnership with InSight Telepsychiatry. The program has received praise from both patients and staff.

WINONA, Minn.— Winona Health recently launched a telepsychiatry program in their outpatient department as part of a partnership with InSight Telepsychiatry.

Winona InSightTelepsychiatry is the application of telemedicine to the specialty field of psychiatry. The term typically describes the delivery of psychiatric assessment and care through secure videoconferencing.

Winona Health’s outpatient telepsychiatry program increases access to psychiatric appointments for people in the Winona community seeking mental health treatment. There are more than 4,600 health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) in the U.S. today, and in Minnesota, only 30 percent of mental health HPSAs are met.

Patients who have received treatment through the new telepsychiatry program have praised this delivery of care in post-appointment surveys, noting the ease of use of the technology and satisfaction with InSight provider, Dr. Maaz Siddiqui.

“This new program is essential in providing the best quality care to our mental health patients,” said John Rislove, Co-Director of Inpatient Medical Services at Winona Health. “We have 100 percent approval ratings for the new telepsychiatry program so far, which attests to the quality and effectiveness of care Winona and InSight’s Dr. Maaz Siddiqui provides.”

In the survey, 90 percent of patients surveyed reported that they were “Comfortable” or “Very Comfortable” with the telemental health technology they used and 100 percent planned to return to the service. Additionally, 98 percent of respondents reported that their treatment by Dr. Siddiqui and the onsite staff was either “Very Good” or “Good.”

Over 50 percent of adults in Minnesota with a mental illness do not receive treatment or counseling. The telepsychiatry program at Winona has provided care for over 200 patient visits since December.

“We’re excited to supplement Winona Health’s current system of mental health care in the treatment and support of individuals in the Winona community,” said Geoffrey Boyce, executive director of InSight Telepsychiatry. “Our goals are to maintain the high quality of care we’ve seen so far while continuing to increase access to psychiatry through our partnership.”

About Winona Health

Winona Health is a community-owned, not-for-profit healthcare system nestled among the bluffs along the Mississippi River in picturesque Winona, Minn. The healthcare system provides comprehensive care for individuals through all stages of life. In addition to a primary care and multi-specialty clinic in Winona, Winona Health has a primary care clinic in Rushford, Minn. Winona Health also provides care for the community through its 99-bed hospital and senior services including assisted living, long-term care and hospice services. For more information about Winona Health, visit www.winonahealth.org.

About InSight Telepsychiatry

InSight is the leading national telepsychiatry service provider organization with a mission to increase access to quality behavioral health care through telehealth. InSight’s behavioral health providers bring care into any setting on an on-demand or scheduled basis. InSight has 18+ years of telepsychiatry experience and is an industry thought-leader. More information can be found at www.InSightTelepsychiatry.com.

St. Joseph’s Villa Receives Telehealth Innovation Award

Telehealth Innovation Award from the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center recognizes effective use of telepyschiatry in the Villa’s Crisis Stabilization Unit.

RICHMOND, VA — St. Joseph’s Villa (SJV) of Richmond, VA received the prestigious Telehealth Innovation Award from the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center (MATRC). The award recipients were announced on April 3, 2017 during the 2017 MATRC Telehealth Summit. The award is given to organizations that demonstrate an innovative application of telehealth and contribute to improved health outcomes and/or quality of life in the Mid-Atlantic region.

SJV partners with InSight to bring telepsychiatry to children receiving mental health services at their facility. One of SJV’s many innovative and effective programs is their Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU), where children experiencing mental health crises can receive treatment in an environment that feels like home — all with the goal of preventing costly, unnecessary hospitalization. Since opening in 2012, the CSU has served nearly 500 children and has successfully diverted nearly 90 percent of them from hospitalization. InSight has helped the CSU work toward this goal for nearly two years with the help of telepsychiatrist Dr. Ashika Kapoor.

As one of the first crisis stabilization units for children and adolescents in Virginia, and one of the first crisis stabilization units in the country to use telepsychiatry, St. Joseph’s Villa exemplifies how combining modern technology and a personal touch can offer a meaningful and potentially life-changing service to patients and families in their time of need. The Villa is able to help children and families through a difficult time in their lives and provide them with opportunities to succeed because they have a telepsychiatry provider.

“St. Joseph’s Villa is committed to providing high quality behavioral health services to children and their families in innovative new settings. Our partnership with InSight has allowed us to expand our provider capacity,” said Kathleen Burke Barrett, CEO of St. Joseph’s Villa.  “We’re delighted that our efforts to provide care beyond the confines of an office were recognized by MATRC.”

Telepsychiatry allows children in the CSU to see psychiatry providers through videoconferencing. It has been proven an effective and cost-conscious way to bring psychiatric care to children and many other populations.[1]  With the option to utilize remote providers, telepsychiatry and other telemedicine services represent unprecedented access to specialists who are typically difficult to staff in rural and underserved areas. When the CSU opened in partnership with the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA) Region IV, SJV found that it was challenging to locate a qualified local child psychiatrist. In terms of mental health providers, several of the counties SJV’s CSU serves are Designated Health Professional Shortage Areas, according to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.  Ultimately, SJV turned to telepsychiatry as the solution for bringing psychiatric care to their facility.

“InSight prides itself on developing partnerships with innovative, like-minded organizations and works hard to find the right fit between our telepsychiatry providers and our partners,” says Geoffrey Boyce, Executive Director of InSight. “Congratulations to St. Joseph’s Villa on this accomplishment and we look forward to sustaining a productive partnership.”

About InSight Telepsychiatry

InSight is the leading national telepsychiatry service provider organization with a mission to increase access to quality behavioral health care through telehealth. InSight’s behavioral health providers bring care into any setting on an on-demand or scheduled basis. InSight has 18+ years of telepsychiatry experience and is an industry thought-leader. Forty percent of InSight’s telepsychiatry providers are child and adolescent psychiatrists. More information can be found at www.InSightTelepsychiatry.com.

About St. Joseph’s Villa

Established in 1834, St. Joseph’s Villa is the longest serving nonprofit for children in the country.  The Villa impacts 3,000 children and families each year facing homelessness, autism and developmental disabilities, mental illness, and other challenges.  Villa programs help them believe in themselves while providing them with the tools they need for long-term independence, stability, and success. For more information, visit www.NeverStopBelieving.org.

[1] Myers, K. M., Valentine, J. M., & Melzer, S. M. (2008). Child and Adolescent Telepsychiatry: Utilization and Satisfaction. Telemedicine and EHealth, 14(2), 131-137. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2007.0035

News on Telemental Health Services

(Original story published in Federal Telemedicine News — April 2, 2017)

Advancing critical telemental health services to help individuals with behavioral health issues was discussed at ATA’s Telehealth Capitol Connection (TCC) www.americantelemed.org briefing held on March 28, 2017. The use of technology enables mental healthcare to be delivered to major sectors of the population especially in rural areas in spite of the shortage of professionals.

Neal Neuberger as Senior Policy Consultant to ATA and moderator, opened the event by saying the use of technology in medicine has exploded since providers, patients, and employers see the advantages. However, as he pointed out, there are still policy matters that have to be addressed such privacy, finding eligible providers to deliver mental health care, and reimbursement issues.

Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA) https://murphy.house.gov Practicing Psychologist and Commander in the Naval Reserve reports, “Substance abuse and drug addiction is a major problem in this country, but the fact is that many people aren’t able to get adequate treatment fast enough because there are not enough professionals or facilities available to treat the affected population.

As reported, Congressman Murphy was able to secure an additional $15 billion in AHCA with a requirement that states must use the additional resources for mental health and addiction treatment. “We are continuing to build on our successful record to help families in the current mental health and addiction crisis. This additional $15 billion investment represents the largest surge in behavioral health funding in recent history.”

According to “Twelve percent of the 702,000 veterans have successfully received care using telehealth through the VA program”, according to John Peters, Deputy Director, Office of Connected Care, at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, https://connectedcare.va.gov,

He reports, “Patient satisfaction for 304,000 veterans using store and forward telehealth is 94 percent, satisfaction for 307,000 veterans using video telehealth is 92 percent, and for 156,000 veterans using home telehealth, the patient satisfaction is 83 percent.”

He mentioned the bill “The Care Veterans Deserve Act of 2017” (H.R 1152) that was introduced on February 16, 2017. The bill amends the “Veterans Access Choice and Accountability Act” to make the VA’s Choice Program permanent and includes veterans with a 50 percent service connected disability.

Currently, a number of vital remote psychiatry services are available to community-based organizations, according to Geoffrey Boyce Executive Director, for InSight Telepsychiatry http://insighttelepsychiatry.com “Facing budget constraints, many community-based organizations are choosing to supplement their onsite psychiatric services with remote psychiatric prescriber teams.”

InSight is able to provide correctional facilities 24/7 access to psychiatric treatment within one hour after the request is submitted. InSight is able to respond to on-demand telepsychiatry services quickly to support an inpatient or a home setting crisis situation.

Deborah C. Baker, J.D., Director of Legal & Regulatory Policy in the Office of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, representing the American Psychological Association’s www.apa.org Practice Directorate, wants to see changes in licensing occur that would be specific to psychology.

As Baker explained, “The laws are confusing and a number of questions need to be clarified. To deal with jurisdiction issues, a few years ago, the “Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact” (PSYPACT) was introduced by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.

PSYPACT uses model language to discuss where a psychologist is physically related, where the psychologist is licensed to practice psychology, and where the client patient is physically located. Since PSYPACT is only model language, it would need to be passed in at least seven states to come into existence.

Lauren McGrath Vice President Public Policy for Centerstone, https://centerstone.org, a healthcare organization operating for 60 plus years, offers services for health homes, emergency follow-up services, integrated primary care, help for addiction, hospital and crisis services, intellectual and developmental disabilities services,  and also actively helps veterans suffering from PTSD and combat stress.

Today, Centerstone provides mobile and remote assessments in order to facilitate a quick referral for the coordination of care and appropriate treatments. The team is able to see how each person is doing by using a dashboard and if there is a problem, connections can be made by using a bidirectional app or be connected via telehealth.

— Carolyn Bloch of Bloch Consulting Group

Bloch has researched and reported on Federal government and legislative activities in the areas of science, R&D, defense, telemedicine, and health technology — and has worked with many scientific and technical newsletters, publishing firms, and other companies.

The author of 5 books and many articles based on Federal government activities, Federal funding programs, and university research grant opportunities. Carolyn Bloch has also taught courses in proposal writing for government contracts at a number of colleges and universities.

She is a member of the National Press Club, American Telemedicine Association, and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Maryland Chapter.

InSight Executive Director Speaks at Telemental Health Briefing on the Hill

WASHINGTON—On Tuesday, March 28, InSight Telepsychiatry’s Executive Director, Geoffrey Boyce, appeared as a guest speaker at the American Telemedicine Association’s (ATA) briefing, ‘Telehealth for Improving Mental and Behavioral Care.’

Boyce TCC

The briefing was part of ATA’s Telehealth Capitol Connection series—a bimonthly Congressional briefing for policy makers, federal agencies, national organizations and other interested stakeholders.

Boyce spoke after telemental health advocate, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), about four telemental health topics—licensing, credentialing, psychiatric commitment law and prescribing—and how policies around those topics shape how InSight and other telemental health providers can deliver services.

“Telehealth is absolutely a keystone in mental health care because it allows a way to mend the shortage of providers, and provide easier and timely access for inpatient admissions and emergency care,” said Murphy. “It also just makes sense in cost savings.”

Telemental health services are growing rapidly. The VA health system estimates that they conducted 427,000 telemental health sessions in 2016 while InSight Telepsychiatry estimates conducting 150,000 telepsychiatry encounters last year.

Telehealth is addressing critical issues in the behavioral health field, such as shortages in mental health professionals, the challenge of remote care delivery, and, national struggles with suicide, PTSD, opioid addiction and other serious behavioral health issues. Some of the common settings for telemental health services are in hospital emergency departments, outpatient clinics, correctional facilities and direct-to-consumer.

“One of the things we as a practice get most excited about is the potential for telehealth to weave all of these different types of health services and sites together to really help provide care across the continuum, and have more consistency and continuity in that care,” said Boyce.

InSight is a telebehavioral health practice that began telepsychiatry encounters in emergency departments in 1999. Since then, the practice has grown to 250 providers who provide services in 27 different states in a variety of settings. Boyce leads InSight in their mission to increase access to behavioral health care by overseeing the operation of hundreds of U.S. locations every year.

Boyce was joined by fellow speakers: Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), John Peters, Telehealth Deputy Director at the Department of Veteran Affairs, Deborah C. Baker, J.D., Director of Legal & Regulatory Policy in the Office of Legal & Regulatory Affairs at the American Psychological Association’s Practice Directorate, and Lauren McGrath, VP of Public Policy at Centerstone.

The briefing was held at Top of the Hill Banquet & Conference Center in Washington, D.C. at 12:00 p.m.

InSight Telepsychiatry Presents at American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Annual Meeting

October 28, 2016 │ InSight Telepsychiatry was proud to present on the legal, regulatory and financial realities of telepsychiatry at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s 63rd Annual Meeting.

New York, NY – InSight Telepsychiatry’s Executive Director, Geoffrey Boyce, and Medical Director, Dr. Jim Varrell, presented at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s (AACAP) 63rd Annual Meeting held in New York City. The AACAP annual meetings are a gathering place for leaders in the field of child and adolescent psychiatry, children’s mental health and other allied disciplines.

Boyce and Dr. Varrell’s presentation, entitled Legal, Regulatory and Financial Realities of Telepsychiatry, was delivered during the “Road Map to Establish and Sustain a Telepsychiatry Practice” clinical breakout session organized by Dr. Kathleen Myers and attended by over 100 child and adolescent psychiatrists. Their presentation covered topics including models of telepsychiatry, reimbursement, licensure, the provider-patient relationship and emergency protocol. Other presentations during this breakout session included Media Training to Develop and Authentic Patient-Doctor Relationship presented by Dr. David E. Roth and Competencies in Telepsychiatry: Residency Training and Maintenance of Skills presented by Dr. Daniel A. Alicata.

Additionally, Dr. Varrell presented on the entrepreneurial side of telepsychiatry during the breakout’s TED-talk style session. He discussed being a thought leader in telepsychiatry and telepsychiatry best practices. Dr. Varrell has been providing telepsychiatry services since 1999 and is one of the founding members of InSight Telepsychiatry, the national leading telepsychiatry service provider.

Boyce and Dr. Varrell also took part in the breakout session’s ‘Genius Bar.’ They hosted a “Careers in Telepsychiatry: Choose Your Own Adventure” station where attendees were encouraged to ask them questions about what a career in telepsychiatry looks like. Telepsychiatry provides a unique opportunity for psychiatric providers because it allows them to work from home, extending their hours to nights and weekends.

Geoffrey Boyce is the Executive Director of InSight Telepsychiatry and an active participant in telemedicine advocacy, education and reform initiatives.

Jim Varrell, MD is the President and Medical Director of the CFG Health Network and InSight Telepsychiatry who has been at the forefront of telepsychiatry across the nation and continues to educate the medical community regarding the benefits of telepsychiatry.

InSight Telepsychiatry is the national leading telepsychiatry provider organization with a mission to increase access to behavioral health care.

Telebehavioral Health Practice Launches in Delaware and New York

AUGUST 21, 2016 | Mental health providers, including psychiatrists are now available for assessment, therapy and medication management through a newly launched behavioral health practice in Delaware and New York called Inpathy. Inpathy is unique in that it operates entirely through telebehavioral health- a convenient, private and effective medium of care that is rapidly growing in popularity.

Telebehavioral health allows individuals to attend sessions with behavioral and mental health providers online through secure videoconferencing. Inpathy is a division of InSight Telepsychiatry, the largest telebehavioral health organization in the nation.

Inpathy providers include adult and child and adolescent psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners that are available for psychiatric assessments, medication management and prescriptions when appropriate. Therapists and counselors are also available for talk therapy sessions through telehealth.

Many of the Inpathy telebehavioral health providers offer night and weekend appointments, which can be accessed through the internet from home using a smartphone, tablet or a computer with a camera. This makes managing behavioral health care more convenient by eliminating the need to travel to in-person appointments and sit in waiting rooms. Another benefit of telebehavioral health is that it is a more private way to access behavioral health services, which makes it a good option for individuals who are worried about a stigma on behavioral or mental health care.

Just like in an in-person office, the telebehavioral health providers who deliver services through Inpathy are fully supported by a clinical and administrative staff that handles their scheduling, billing, intake, general operations and clinical oversight.

Inpathy accepts insurance from several major insurance companies, including Aetna. For in-network telebehavioral health sessions, individuals are only charged their co-pay just like they would be for an in-person session. Inpathy providers are also available for out-of-network and cash-pay appointments.

“There is a huge shortage of psychiatrists across the nation,” says Geoffrey Boyce, executive director at InSight. “Telepsychiatry and telebehavioral health offer a unique solution for making psychiatry appointments easier to book and attend.”

Inpathy has telebehavioral health appointments available with many Delaware and New York licensed providers, including the following:

  • Doug Ikelheimer, MD- an extremely experienced telepsychiatrist with expertise in the psychopharmacologic management of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, chronic mental illness and addictions
  • Lamont Josey, LCSW- a clinical social worker who offers therapy to individuals 8 years old and up and has a specialty in trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Humberto Quinanata, MD- a Spanish-speaking child and adolescent psychiatrist with an interest in psychopharmacology
  • Patti Rodgers, PMHNP- a board certified psychiatric nurse practitioner who serves adults and aims to educate and empower the people with whom she works
  • Catherine Newton, LCSW – a licesnsed clinical social worker who specializes in working with individuals who have experienced trauma and is trained in Eye Movement Desensitiazation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Ragy Girgis, MD – a board certified psychiatrist with an interest in the psychopharmalcologic management of schizophrenia, mood disorders, anxiety disorders and eating disrders in adults
  • Hinna Shah, MD – a board certified adult and child and adolescent psychiatrist with experience working with individuals who have depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorder and ADHD
  • Liz Espinoza, LCSW – a Spanish-speaking licensed clinical social worker who is interested in helping individuals achieve life goals and specializes in anger management, relationship, communication and life transition issues

Telehealth is a rapidly growing industry and more and more insurance companies and providers are offering this form of care. Numerous studies have shown telebehavioral health to be as effective as in-person behavioral health services in most situations.

To get started as an individual using telebehavioral health care, individuals can visit www.Inpathy.com to search the Inpathy provider directory, sign up, select an appropriate provider and schedule a session. Inpathy has a 24-hour technical support line and care navigation team that can be reached at 1.800.442.8938.

InSight is also in the process of developing referral relationships with a number of Delaware and New York organizations that could benefit from additional behavioral health services for their clients. To learn more about this or connect individuals you know to care, visit www.Inpathy.com

Telebehavioral Health Practice Launches in Delaware

August 21, 2016 | Mental health providers, including psychiatrists are now available for assessment, therapy and medication management through a newly launched Delaware-area behavioral health practice called Inpathy. Inpathy is unique in that it operates entirely through telebehavioral health- a convenient, private and effective medium of care that is rapidly growing in popularity.

WILLMINGTON, DE Psychiatry appointments from the comfort and convenience of home are now available to Delaware residents through the launch of a new telebehavioral health practice – Inpathy.

Telebehavioral health allows individuals to attend sessions with behavioral and mental health providers online through secure videoconferencing. Inpathy is a division of InSight Telepsychiatry, the largest telebehavioral health organization in the nation.

Inpathy providers include adult and child and adolescent psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners that are available for psychiatric assessments, medication management and prescriptions when appropriate. Therapists and counselors are also available for talk therapy sessions through telehealth.

Many of the Inpathy telebehavioral health providers offer night and weekend appointments, which can be accessed through the internet from home using a smartphone, tablet or a computer with a webcamera. This makes managing behavioral health care more convenient by eliminating the need to travel to in-person appointments and sit in waiting rooms. Another benefit of telebehavioral health is that it is a more private way to access behavioral health services, which makes it a good option for individuals who are worried about a stigma on behavioral or mental health care.

Just like in an in-person office, the telebehavioral health providers who deliver services through Inpathy are fully supported by a clinical and administrative staff that handles their scheduling, billing, intake, general operations and clinical oversight.

Inpathy accepts insurance from several major insurance companies, including Aetna. For in-network telebehavioral health sessions, individuals are only charged their co-pay just like they would be for an in-person session. Inpathy providers are also available for out-of-network and cash-pay appointments.

“There is a huge shortage of psychiatrists across Delaware and across the nation,” says Geoffrey Boyce, executive director at InSight. “Telepsychiatry and telebehavioral health offer a unique solution for making psychiatry appointments easier to book and attend.”

Inpathy has telebehavioral health appointments available with the following Delaware-licensed providers:

  • Doug Ikelheimer, MD- an extremely experienced telepsychiatrist with expertise in the psychopharmacologic management of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, chronic mental illness and addictions
  • Lamont Josey, LCSW- a clinical social worker who offers therapy to individuals 8 years old and up and has a specialty in trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Humberto Quinanata, MD- a Spanish-speaking child and adolescent psychiatrist with an interest in psychopharmacology
  • Patti Rodgers, PMHNP- a board certified psychiatric nurse practitioner who serves adults and aims to educate and empower the people with whom she works

Telehealth is a rapidly growing industry and more and more insurance companies and providers are offering this form of care. Numerous studies have shown telebehavioral health to be as effective as in-person behavioral health services in most situations.

To get started as an individual using telebehavioral health care, individuals can visit www.Inpathy.com to search the Inpathy provider directory, sign up, select an appropriate provider and schedule a session. Inpathy has a 24-hour technical support line and care navigation team that can be reached at 1.800.442.8938.

InSight is also in the process of developing referral relationships with a number of Delaware organizations that could benefit from additional behavioral health services for their clients. To learn more about this or connect individuals you know to care, visit www.Inpathy.com

Hawaii Teens Go Off-Island for Counseling: Any Other Options?

christian-science-monitor-logo

June 2, 2016 | A report shows Hawaii teens seeking mental health treatment often have to leave the island to find it. What are patients in other remote areas trying?

By Lucy Schouten

Scott Shimabukuro, a clinical psychologist in the Hawaii Department of Health's Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division, and Lynn Fallin, deputy director of behavioral health, pose at the Hawaii Department of Health offices in Honolulu on May 24. Dozens of mentally ill teens are sent to the mainland for treatment each year because they can’t find the proper services in the islands. (Marina Rikder/AP)

Scott Shimabukuro, a clinical psychologist in the Hawaii Department of Health’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division, and Lynn Fallin, deputy director of behavioral health, pose at the Hawaii Department of Health offices in Honolulu on May 24. Dozens of mentally ill teens are sent to the mainland for treatment each year because they can’t find the proper services in the islands. (Marina Rikder/AP)

Many patients in rural or remote areas of the country must travel long distances to meet with a counselor or receive mental health treatment, but some young patients face a much more burdensome trip by plane or boat.

Some Hawaii teenagers have faced such long waits for treatment that healthcare providers send them to the mainland, reports the Associated Press. This takes them away from the support of friends and family, leaving authorities looking for strategies employed by other communities.

An ongoing shortage of mental health providers, especially for those trained to work with specific populations such as adolescents or veterans, has strained public health resources in many communities throughout the United States – especially in rural areas.

Noting the lack of mental healthcare options in many remote areas, the US Department of Agriculture has invested $50 million in rural mental health access, especially for veterans, part of an overall strategy to integrate more mental health services into primary care, to which rural patients have better access.

In some communities, local leaders are being trained to recognize when someone may be in need of immediate mental health services. The Mental Health First Aid course, originally developed in Australia but adapted by the health departments of Maryland and Missouri, trains rural community and faith leaders to recognize signs that a patient is suicidal or in need of other help and to identify counseling resources.

“The course helps participants to not only gain confidence in their capacity to approach and offer assistance to others, but also to improve their personal mental health,” reported the US Department of Health and Human Services after investigating the program.

A 21st-century solution, the growing practice of telepsychiatry, enables patients in remote or underserved areas to meet with counselors over live video stream. The new practice followed telemedicine – where doctors might remotely check a patient’s heart rate – but telepsychiatry shows more promise, Kristine Crane reported for US News and World Report.

Designed for patients whose remote residency limits their access to counselors, telepsychiatry can give patients at busy community hospitals the help they need without adding to patient rolls in already overburdened emergency rooms. In South Carolina, where most therapists live in or near the capital, a 2009 pilot study turned into an ongoing practice. Psychiatrists now have about 400 remote consultations per month, saving $1,400 per episode.

Such remote counseling does have disadvantages, as counseling sessions require a secure connection because of privacy laws, and it makes a “human touch” impossible.

“A caring touch or handing a patient a tissue can never be possible,” noted Hind Benjelloun, a crisis psychiatrist based in Washington, D.C., who meets with some patients via computer, in an interview with US News and World Report. “I am unable to clearly see self-inflicted wounds or tears.”

But where face-to-face counseling isn’t possible, virtual therapy can help fill a much needed void, proponents say.

“In a more rural area, nobody has access [to psychiatric care],” Geoffrey Boyce, executive director of InSight Telepsychiatry, told US News and World Report. “[Telepsychiatry is] enormously more affordable at that point.”

 

View this story on The Christian Science Monitor.

Spectrum Health & Wellness Partners with InSight Telepsychiatry to Increase Access to Psychiatric Care in Franklin County

December 18, 2016 | Spectrum Health and Wellness of Chambersburg, PA has launched a new program to enhance their existing psychiatric services with telepsychiatry providers from InSight Telepsychiatry. This innovative program will ensure that individuals seeking psychiatric treatment at Spectrum Health & Wellness have access to the quality psychiatric care they need.

Chambersburg, PA— Spectrum Health & Wellness is pleased to announce that they now have increased psychiatric coverage in their outpatient behavioral health services. Spectrum Health & Wellness, LTD offers a range of psychiatric and behavioral health services including psychiatric evaluations and psychotherapy in a community setting.

The new scheduled telepsychiatry services allow coverage for psychiatric evaluations, follow-up consultations and medication monitoring for Franklin County residents.

The program is a result of a collaboration between Spectrum Health & Wellness and InSight Telepsychiatry. When an individual comes to Spectrum Health & Wellness requiring psychiatric care, the onsite staff can now connect them with a remote telepsychiatry provider from InSight for regularly scheduled services. InSight’s telepsychiatry provider will be available in regularly scheduled blocks of time to meet with healthcare consumers for services or with onsite staff for consultation.

The relationship between the InSight telepsychiatry provider and onsite staff is vital to the success of this program. Since June 2015, telepsychiatry provider Melanie Pointer, MD has been working with the Spectrum Health & Wellness team.

“InSight believes in the importance of integrating our services into the existing model of care and works hard to find the right fit between our psychiatrists and the partners they serve,” says Geoffrey Boyce, Executive Director of InSight. “Integrating Dr. Pointer onto the Spectrum team has been a wonderful success.”

“Dr. Pointer has been a wonderful complement to our telepsychiatry services. She quickly related to both our unique member population and our staff. Her professionalism and dedication to our agency is beyond comparison,” said Dinen Sanders, Clinical Director at Spectrum.

Because of the option to utilize remote providers, telepsychiatry and other telemedicine services represent unprecedented access to specialists who are typically difficult to staff in rural and underserved areas. A striking 96% of US counties, including Franklin County, where Spectrum Health & Wellness is located, have a shortage of psychiatric prescribers . With the new telepsychiatry program, individuals will not only have more access to high-quality care, but to care that’s appropriate for their specific needs.

Sanders says the program is focused primarily on being able to offer the same quality of care as the onsite doctor services, but with a quicker turnaround time for the patient who is willing to accept telepsychiatry services.

“We’re excited that this program will reduce the stress put on our internal team and help the people we treat get care that meets their needs. “

“Because we’re rural, our system of care has to make use of every viable option,” says Sanders. “Since implementing this program we’ve seen a definitive increase in the amount of people we are able to help.”

InSight Telepsychiatry is the leading national telepsychiatry service provider with a mission to increase access to appropriate behavioral health care.

Telepsychiatry Leader Applauds FSMB’s Newly Enacted Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

May 19, 2015 | The Federal State Medical Board’s Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission was enacted, after Alabama became the seventh state to officially adopt it. The licensure compact will allow a streamlined process for qualified physicians to obtain additional medical licensure in participating Compact states.

With Alabama’s participation, the compact has reached the required number of states for it to go into effect. Alabama joined Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming as states that officially enacted the compact. Nearly 20 states have introduced the compact to their state legislature.

I applaud these states for their participation in this important step towards the future of healthcare.

Telemedicine is a growing industry that provides a space for providers to effectively treat health care consumers in any location. However, the idea of “healthcare anywhere” is significantly challenged by physician licensure requirements that were often established before the idea of practicing across state lines was viable. As telemedicine transforms access to care and providers increasingly seek licensure in multiple states, certain components of current medical licensure requirements have become unnecessarily redundant, time-consuming, and restrictive.

The Compact creates a more streamlined licensing process and increases licensure portability across state-lines for physicians. It will ease the physician shortage in rural and underserved areas and help to bring care to those who struggled to access it previously.

As a company that has built telepsychiatry programs in 24 states, our team is intimately aware of the headaches of getting physicians licensed in multiple states in order to provide telehealth care. The existing process for a physician to obtain a license in another state can take several months to a year. Licensure in multiple states is arduous, expensive and often unnecessarily repetitive since each state asks for nearly the same information.

The Interstate Licensure Compact system opens up new possibilities for state licensing boards to share information and collaborate with one another to reduce redundancy and streamline complicated processes around uniform standards. Ultimately, the licensure process is expected to be quicker and easier.

The Compact will join the ranks of similar professional regulations that facilitate interstate health care like the Nurses Licensure Compact (NLC) which launched in 2000. Other healthcare professions are also following suit and exploring their own licensure compact structures.

As with any new system, there are questions about how the Compact might affect standards for quality care, existing laws and budgets. An Interstate Compact Commission will meet later this year to discuss the specifics of management and administration of the newly enacted Compact, but many important points have already been established.

First, since telemedicine must always be practiced appropriately and within the standards of licensing boards, the Compact maintains the existing authority of all participating state’s licensing boards. Additionally, the Medical Practice Act, which outlines the laws and regulations governing the practice of medicine within state boundaries, is maintained under the new Compact. Lastly, in regards to funding questions, states will still receive the licensing fees associated with physicians applying for and maintaining licensure. There will be no increase in state spending with the Compact.

I praise the FSMB for taking the time to craft, release and advocate for a well-thought out compact and thank them for actively acknowledging the direction that medicine is going.

I call on every state to consider the significant possibilities posed by telemedicine and FSMB’s Interstate Medical Licensure Compact and look forward to more states joining the ranks of those who have enacted or proposed the Compact thus far. The true power of this Compact is large scale collaboration.

Geoffrey Boyce

geoffreyboyceGeoffrey Boyce is the Executive Director of the CFG Health Network’s InSight Telepsychiatry. Since 2008, Boyce has advocated for the appropriate use and value of telepsychiatry and has developed unique telemedicine programs within areas of greatest need. Boyce is an active participant in telemedicine advocacy, education and reform initiatives, regularly interacting with state and local healthcare regulators and administrators. Boyce frequently speaks about the potential of telemedicine and the best practices for establishing new programs. Boyce holds an MBA from Terry College of Business at UGA with a focus on entrepreneurship and business planning.

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