Tag Archives: CFG

Dena Ferrell: A Decade of Service, Leadership and Impact in Behavioral Health

Dena Ferrell, Operations Director of InSight Telepsychiatry

Over the course of a decade, the use of online health care has evolved rapidly both in popularity and technologically. Today, there is a widespread acceptance for easy access to care across the continuum through telehealth, especially with the treatment of behavioral health. Telepsychiatry has given those that have limited access to behavioral health care a chance to seek care at their convenience from any location. Dena Ferrell is no stranger to this progression. Celebrating her 10-year anniversary with the CFG Health Network and InSight Telepsychiatry this year, she has witnessed the expansion of telehealth and telepsychiatry, as well as the increased access to behavioral health treatment.

At the outset of her freshman year of college, Ferrell stepped onto the campus of Rutgers University with dreams of conquering the corporate business world. She enrolled in all of the pre-requisite classes she would need to pursue a business degree, as well as one psychology course.  Ferrell soon discovered business was not the right fit for her. She followed her gut and changed her major to what she knew she would enjoy more – psychology.

“I had some family members with mental illness and always wanted to help people in general, so it was a great fit,” said Ferrell.

Ferrell’s educational background provided the basis for what would result in a long career of service in the behavioral health field.  As InSight’s operations director, Dena is an influential and respected leader across the organization.

Ferrell’s first job out of Rutgers was at a partial care program in a community mental health center, where she worked with a small group of patients with severe and persistent mental illness in a vocational rehab setting. Ferrell continued her career in behavioral health at Newpoint Behavioral Health Care in 1995, where she spent 12 years as a New Jersey state Certified Mental Health Screener. She conducted evaluations of adults and children in emergency department (ED) psychiatric crises, consulted with psychiatrists and appropriate dispositions and provided 24 hour coverage on their suicide hotline. Newpoint was a partner of CFG and one of the first organizations to pilot telepsychiatry, so Ferrell was able to be an early telepsychiatry adopter during her work there.

“Telepsychiatry allowed me to establish a treatment plan for a crisis patient very quickly,” said Ferrell. “It was clear to me way back then that telepsychiatry was going to be a very important part in behavioral health moving forward.  Telepsychiatry was not widely used back then and it is so nice to see other programs and services utilizing it now.”

Today, Ferrell still has close ties to the team at NewPoint, who have remained a valued InSight Telepsychiatry and CFG partner since those early days.

Following her stint at Newpoint, Ferrell began her career with the CFG Health Network as an intake coordinator and ED case manager for Virtua Behavioral Health. She coordinated patient referrals to Virtua’s behavioral health unit from crisis centers, medical hospitals and clinicians, gathered all pertinent clinical, medial and demographic information and presented each case to the psychiatrist.

Overtime, Ferrell took on the role of managing CFG’s call center, the Access Center. The Access Center at that time primarily served CFG’s clients, while a small part of the call volume was dedicated to InSight Telepsychiatry, CFG’s growing telemedicine arm. However, as time passed and InSight expanded, a growing amount of the Access Center’s work was dedicated to InSight. InSight grew from serving just a few partners in surrounding states to a national operation with hundreds of partners across 28 states. Today, the Access Center is the main hub for monitoring InSight’s on-demand 24/7 telepsychiatry services.

In early 2017, the Access Center rolled-out a new telepsychiatry platform, AccessInSight. Partners generate requests via AccessInSight and cases are automatically assigned to the InSight telepsychiatry provider best suited for that interaction. AccessInSight improves efficiencies for telepsychiatry encounters and allows for advanced data tracking – certainly a big change from the Access Center’s early days!

“The technology for telepsychiatry and telehealth has improved so much since my start,” said Ferrell. “Years ago, we used large, cumbersome equipment that had to be plugged in to various outlets and at the time it was not the norm to talk to someone via video. Today the equipment is much more streamlined and a connection can be made by the click of a button.  Since many people use video in their day to day communications, it is much more accepted now.”

She expects the use of telepsychiatry will continue to grow, especially the direct to consumer services.

“Lawmakers, regulators and insurance payers are now recognizing telehealth as a covered benefit that provides a much-needed service,” said Ferrell. “It seems everyone is recognizing there are better ways of doing things, and telehealth is one of them.”

Along with the growing use of telepsychiatry in the past 10 years, Ferrell has seen growth within InSight as well. She described how InSight has become much more sophisticated in recruiting, onboarding new providers and implementing new programs. The addition of staff over the past decade has been beneficial in keeping up with the volume of partner sites and providers joining the InSight team. InSight has also smartly stayed focused on partnering with like-minded organizations that share InSight’s vision of increasing access to care.

Most people fail to realize what goes on behind the scenes, and the passion that goes into the work and dedication of providing access to behavioral health care. Ferrell’s motivation lies in knowing that in every contract InSight serves for any service line, there is a patient and their family in need of help during a very difficult time of their lives. “I am so happy to be part of that service,” said Ferrell.

Ferrell envisions a bright future for telepsychiatry. She believes the stigma for mental illnesses will decrease, and more people will be open to receiving behavioral health care both in-person and online.

Where does Ferrell see herself in the next 10 years? “I’d love to say retired! I will still be in the mental health field in some capacity.  I have a very good understanding of behavioral health needs and like using that experience to help the patients who need it most.”

Center for Family Guidance, PC to Present at OPEN MINDS Management Best Practices Institute

LONG BEACH, CA – Center for Family Guidance, PC, a comprehensive behavioral health organization (stylized as CFG), will be presenting at the OPEN MINDS Management Best Practices Institute, taking place from August 15-16 in Long Beach, CA. The OPEN MINDS Management Best Practices Institute brings together executives, thought leaders, industry experts and program innovators to focus on management best practices and clinical treatment tools.

On Wednesday, April 15, the clinical director of CFG will present during the session called Using Technology to Improve Consumer Engagement: A Look at Successful Models for Engagement. This session will feature “Getting Ahead of the Curve: Layering Home-Based Telehealth into an Existing Outpatient Mental Health Clinic” presented by Joel Freidman, PhD.

CFG recently implemented home-based telehealth into an existing outpatient mental health clinic in order to keep up with the national provider shortage, address consumer demand and stay competitive in an ever-changing healthcare landscape.

The program utilizes telehealth in two ways: providers are set up with access to a secure, web-based telehealth platform and are able to offer night and weekend appointments to new and existing consumers; consumers can be referred to CFG’s telehealth partner, Inpathy, if the individual is unable to make an in-person appointment or if CFG does not have resources available. This case study presentation will look at the design, implementation and ongoing lessons of this innovative program. Dr. Friedman will discuss challenges, advantages and important buy-in elements for the providers, consumers, administrators and intake coordinators involved.

The benefit of this program for is that it does not require travel and there are more appointment availabilities than in an in-person office setting. The benefit for providers is the convenience of seeing consumers from their own private home office.  Providers can also utilize Inpathy, an online psychiatry resource, for referrals.

Other speakers in this session include Richard Louis, III, Senior Associate at OPEN MINDS, and Larry Smith, CEO of Grand Lake Mental Health Center, Inc.

CFG is a broad based healthcare provider that is dedicated to increasing access to care via innovative applications of technology like telepsychiatry and virtual environments.


Live & Practice: Small Towns and Cities

(Original story published in PracticeLink Magazine—Spring 2017)

Marlton, New Jersey

Just 30 minutes from Philidelphia, 90 minutes from New York City and 2 hours from Baltimore, Marlton is popular among people who want to be near family in one of these major geographic areas while enjoying a small-town lifestyle. Marlton has strong community spirit, with several annual festivals sponsored by local government and scores of free exercise facilities, family activities and classes such as yoga and karate for residents.

Small towns and rural areas sometimes present a challenge for health care providers. That was the case when a rural southern New Jersey community first contracted with CFG Health Network, which is based in Marlton.

The community asked CFG to cover its psychiatry needs. But a week before the contract was to begin, there was a new requirement: all physicians had to be able to get to the facility within an hour of getting a call.

To continue reading, click here.

PracticeLink article