By: Randy DioGuardi, MBA
Executive Vice President of Operations
One of the biggest obstacles to quality behavioral health care for patients in rural areas is their location. While shortages of mental health care providers are an issue nation-wide (see this data from The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation), and the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) estimates that the United States will need to add a total of 70,000 providers in various mental healthcare professions by 2025 to meet demand, rural populations are affected even more by this issue as the HRSA estimates that 60% of those living in a mental health professional shortage area are in rural locations.
One way to help bridge this gap is through telemedicine, and MediTelecare is doing just that. The first way telehealth helps in rural areas is with consistent access to providers. With weekly telehealth clinical visits at facilities partnering with MediTelecare, patients are now being seen on a regular basis where before, many patients were being seen only once a month or quarterly. This increased availability to care correlates to improved clinical outcomes. Improved access to care and behavioral health sessions via telehealth also correlate to improved success with Gradual Dose Reduction (GDR) of antipsychotics – an important factor in a facility being considered compliant with F-Tag 329 guidelines. Furthermore, telehealth provides a state-of-the-art way for staff at a facility to communicate with behavioral health specialists to gain further knowledge and updates on action plans, rather than waiting for a provider to be on site for monthly or quarterly visits.
To learn more about how telehealth is improving quality of care and increasing health care access, or to get more information about implementing telehealth at your facility, please call860-788-6404, ext. 705 or email us at CustomerCare@meditelecare.com.