Tag Archives: telemental health

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Launches Telepsychiatry Program

Lake City, IA – Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, a general medical and surgical hospital with 25 beds, launched a telepsychiatry program this week to increase access to psychiatric care. Located in Calhoun County, Lake City is a rural area with a shortage of mental health professionals, as designated by the Rural Health Clinics Program and the Federal Office of Rural Health.[1]

Telepsychiatry is the delivery of psychiatry through real time videoconferencing. It is proven to be an effective form of care delivery and a great way to expand the psychiatric support at a hospital, especially during difficult to staff hours like nights and weekends.

In a primarily rural state such as Iowa, patients often have limited or no access to timely, affordable and quality care. This is especially prevalent in regards to psychiatric care. With telepsychiatry, emergency departments can efficiently address each patient that comes in, reduce admissions and decrease patient wait times.  Having access to telepsychiatry can also help reduce psychiatric boarding and help make sure that those admitted to psychiatric beds actually need them. This is particularly useful in Iowa which, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center, ranks second worst in the country for number of inpatient psychiatric beds with just 64 in the entire state.[2]

The telepsychiatry program is launched in partnership with InSight, a national telepsychiatry service provider organization. Telepsychiatry services are provided in the emergency department to help ensure patients struggling with mental health issues are properly treated. This gives room for other patients that come into the emergency department that may have potentially life threatening illnesses.

“Partners like Stewart Memorial Community Hospital exemplify the great impact telepsychiatry can have at a community level. Telepsychiatry has been shown to increase access to mental health care in rural areas and we’re pleased to expand that within communities like Lake City,” said InSight’s Operations Director Dena Ferrell.

“Stewart Memorial is always looking to incorporate innovative new programs that help our patients achieve a healthy mind and body. Our partnership with InSight will help better address the behavioral health needs in our community,” said Cindy Carsten, CEO of Stewart Memorial.

Stewart Memorial is served by 13 InSight telepsychiatry providers. All InSight telepsychiatry providers are licensed in Iowa and trained to provide care to Stewart Memorial patients in the same way as all onsite providers. Stewart Memorial’s partnership with InSight will help transform care in the emergency department and increase efficiency so that all patients are able to receive the care they need.

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 Stewart Memorial Community Hospital
Stewart Memorial is committed to quality health and wellness for you and your family. Our goal is to transform our communities by providing coordinated care and exceptional experiences.

[1] Rural Health. (n.d.). Retrieved August 07, 2017, from https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/am-i-rural/report?lat=42.26715&lng=-94.74603&addr=1301 W Main St%2C Lake City%2C IA 51449&exact=1

[2] Fuller, D. A., Sinclair, E., Geller, J., Quanbeck, C., & Snook, J. (n.d.). Going, Going, Gone TRENDS AND CONSEQUENCES OF ELIMINATING STATE PSYCHIATRIC BEDS, 2016. Retrieved August 8, 2017, from http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/storage/documents/going-going-gone.pdf


Family Service Launches Outpatient Telepsychiatry Program

Philadelphia, PA – Family Service Association of Bucks County launched an outpatient telepsychiatry program to increase efficiency and access to psychiatric care for adults, children and adolescents across four of their locations in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The telepsychiatry program is launched in partnership with InSight, a national telepsychiatry service provider organization.

Telepsychiatry is the delivery of psychiatry through real time videoconferencing. It is proven to be an effective form of care delivery and a convenient, cost-effective way to safely expand the psychiatric support without the challenge of staffing an in-person psychiatry provider.family service

Prior to implementing a telepsychiatry program, Family Service staffed an onsite psychiatrist that would travel between Langhorne, Doylestown and Quakertown locations. With telepsychiatry, Family Service was able to increase efficiency and reduce costly, time consuming commutes.

“Telepsychiatry allows organizations like Family Service to reduce commute time for providers and patients. This allows for more valuable time with patients,” said InSight’s Operations Manager of Scheduled Services Nate Ortiz.

It is estimated that 1,051,490 individuals in Pennsylvania are living with serious psychological distress including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, panic disorder or anxiety.[1] Telepsychiatry is a great solution in Pennsylvania and in many other states across the nation where there is a shortage of psychiatry providers.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer this innovative new service to our patients. We are dedicated to increasing psychiatric access to all consumers, and this is a smart way to ensure our patients are getting the care that they need on a consistent basis,” said Audrey J. Tucker, Chief Executive Officer.

InSight’s telepsychiatry provider will offer these services to patients in Family Service outpatient behavioral health programs, namely counseling.

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 Family Service Association of Bucks County

Family Service Association of Bucks County is a nonprofit social service organization with locations throughout Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Family Service’s mission is to listen, care and help. Every day. For more than 60 years, Family Service has been improving the lives of children and their families, doing whatever it takes to help them overcome obstacles and reach their full potential. Visit www.fsabc.org to donate, volunteer or learn more about how Family Service helped more than 27,000 children, teens and adults last year.

[1] National Institutes of Mental Health, National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) 2015, and

NSDUH-MHSS 2008-2012.

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.

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.

Telepsychiatry and Mental Health


April 20, 2016 | By Joshua Kendall

See the original article at Undark.org.

Patients who cannot access mental health services — or who are not comfortable seeking help — increasingly do so remotely.

In the wake of the Gulf oil spill in 2010, many rural Louisiana residents became emotionally distressed. With few mental health clinicians practicing in the area, psychiatrists at Louisiana State University decided to try something novel. They set up a video connection between their New Orleans office and small primary care clinics in towns like Hackberry, which sits over 200 miles away and has a population of just over 1,000.

“I treated several crabbers and shrimpers from Hackberry who couldn’t work, were falling into debt and were very depressed,” said Dr. Shih Tan Gipson, a psychiatrist at Boston Children’s Hospital who recently completed her residency at LSU. “With regular therapy sessions, along with medication, I was able to help them get their lives back on track.”

This approach, known as telepsychiatry, has been around for more than a half a century; in 1959, the State of Nebraska used two-way closed-circuit television between the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute and the state mental hospital to aid in the teaching of first-year medical students. Advances in technology over the last 20 years have made telepsychiatry systems much easier to set up and it is now starting to be widely adopted.


Telepsychiatry allows patients who cannot access mental health services or are not comfortable seeking help to consult with clinicians via videoconferencing.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which began experimenting with ‘telemental health’ in 1995, has been a pioneer in using this method. The VA has already administered over 2 million video mental health sessions with patients and the pace continues to pick up every year. In 2015, 380,000 sessions were conducted using video. At present, about 8 percent of all mental health patients at the VA use telemental health. The VA is now beginning to expand beyond its hub model — in which therapists treat patients at hundreds of community-based clinics across the country — to using phones and tablets.

“We treat patients with every type of DSM-5 diagnosis,” said Dr. Linda Godleski, a professor of psychiatry at Yale and director of the VA’s National Telemental Health Center.

Surveys show that patient satisfaction with this method is about 95 percent. In addition to being able to reach patients in underserved areas and provide easy access to national experts, telemental health has other advantages as well.

“Patients with severe disorders such as schizophrenia often feel more relaxed and are more likely to open up,” Godleski said.

Telemental health has also proved to cut health care costs. In a 2012 survey published in the journal Psychiatric Services, Godleski showed that access to telemental health service reduced hospitalization admissions of VA patients by about 25 percent.

Not everyone embraces the idea that mediated interactions between clinicians and patients are always beneficial, or that they function similarly to in-person therapy. In her 2015 book “Screen Relations: The Limits of Computer-Mediated Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy,” British psychotherapist and psychoanalyst Gillian Isaacs Russell, PhD., for example, raised questions about the loss of certain non-verbal cues, and pointed to the lack of research comparing the various pros and cons of both in-person and screen-mediated therapy.

Still, most clinicians believe that the technology is now good enough to enable them to spot many standard non-verbal cues, and some states, including New York, have begun to establish formal telepsychiatry standards and guidelines.

While the private sector has been much slower to take advantage of this new technology, the industry leader, Insight Telepsychiatry, which has been in operation since 1999, reports steady growth. In 2015, it had 150,000 patient encounters — a 50 percent increase over 2014. The company now offers services to hospitals and community mental health clinics in 26 states, compared to the nine states it operated in just three years ago.

This year, the American Psychiatric Association set up a telepsychiatry committee, which works to break down two major obstacles to broadening its scope. One involves licensure: Clinicians must be eligible to practice in the same state in which their patients reside. The other involves reimbursement, given that in some states, insurance companies provide little or no coverage. The APA is currently working with doctors in various other fields to make it easier for clinicians to obtain licenses in multiple states. To date, 12 states have signed on to the Federal State Medical Board Interstate Licensure Compact which provides an expedited pathway to licensure and another 14 have introduced similar legislation.

“In 10 years, telepsychiatry may well become a core component of psychiatric care,” said Dr. Peter Yellowlees, a member of the APA committee who teaches psychiatry at the University of California, Davis. “For people under 40, connecting with therapists on screens seems both reasonable and normal.”

See the original article at Undark.org.