Direct to Consumer

Oral Presentation

(DTC7-02) Getting Ahead of the Curve: Layering Home-Based Telehealth into Existing Outpatient Mental Health Clinics

Monday, April 24
2:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Location: W224 CD

t's a challenging time for many outpatient and community behavioral health clinics. With a provider shortage, an increase in consumer demand, rising competition and an ever-changing heath care landscape its more difficult than ever to stay ahead of the curb.

One outpatient mental health organization in New Jersey decided to tackle these challenges with telehealth. In March 2015, the Center for Family Guidance (CFG) implemented a unique program which allows both their providers and their consumers to access their metal health care sessions from home through telehealth.

The program utilizes telehealth in two ways. First, a group of CFG's current providers have been 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 through this medium. Using a remote VPN, the providers document their session CFG's regular EMR and the sessions are billed through insurance using the telehealth GT modifier.

In the first months of the program, consumers have liked the convenience of telehealth appointments and appreciate CFG's extended telehealth hours that make it easier to fit mental health care into their busy schedules. The participating providers also love the convenience of telehealth and the option to add more variety (and more billable hours) into their practice. Providers note that doing telehealth sessions with individuals who are in their home environments can also give unique clinical clues about their lifestyle, cleanliness and coping mechanisms.

The second telehealth aspect of the program comes in with referrals. When an individual is unable to make it to an in-person appointment or if the CFG outpatient clinic does not have the in-person resources they need, CFG's intake coordinator, when appropriate, makes a warm handoff to the care navigation team at CFG's telehealth partner- Inpathy. In place of a community-based referral, these individuals instead book a telehealth appointment with one of Inpathy's telemental health providers. This process has come in handy particularly when an individual is looking for a specific specialty or area of expertise that is out of CFG's realm, or for when CFG's waitlist for appointments with their child and adolescent psychiatrists can take months. Inpathy's telemental health providers often have appointments available within 24-72 hours of a request.

Though developing the program and driving utilization took time, the use of telemental health continues to grow at CFG.

This case study presentation will look at the design, implementation and ongoing lessons of this innovative program. It will discuss the challenges, advantages and important buy-in elements for the providers, consumers, administrators and intake coordinators involved. The presentation will cover the selection and training process for participating providers and the intake workflows used to determine if individuals are suited for and interested in telebehavioral health. Data on one-time and repeat consumer utilization as well as referrals will be reviewed. Additionally, the presenter will discuss how the program incorporated quality assurance elements and the tracking of ongoing metrics into their workflows and program evaluation.

Telebehavioral health expands the ability of existing providers to see more people at more flexible times and this makes for happy providers and consumers. For consumers, this flexibility allows them to receive services on their own time. For providers, this flexibility means that they are able to work extended hours and make a supplemental income. As the pool of behavioral health providers, especially psychiatrists, is shrinking, more and more people are in need of care. Direct-to-consumer telebehavioral health can be a tool for keeping up with consumer need. CFG has also recognized that telehealth is also a great way to meet consumer demand as individuals' interest in on-demand services and telehealth expand. Interest in CFG's telebehavioral health program has also come from individuals who have trouble finding time for commutes, those who dislike waiting rooms, or those have trouble leaving their homes.

This discussion-based case study presentation will detail the implementation and growth of this model program from the perspective of CFG's clinical director and the executive director of Inpathy, its telebehavioral health partner.

Learning Objectives:

Joel Friedman

Clinical Director
CFG Health Network

Dr. Friedman is a licensed psychologist with over 20 years of experience. He has provided direct clinical care, supervision, managerial services, policy development and consulting services in a wide variety of settings including private outpatient offices, several different correctional systems, hospitals, schools, and corporate offices. He has also been involved in pre-employment assessments for law enforcement personnel. Dr. Friedman has provided training on a variety of mental health topics for way enforcement personnel for many years. He teaches a course titled “Treatment of the Offender” at a local University.


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(DTC7-02) Getting Ahead of the Curve: Layering Home-Based Telehealth into Existing Outpatient Mental Health Clinics

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