Licensed Clinical Psychologists. Licensed Clinical Social Workers.

Integrating a telemental health program into the rural primary care facility will benefit patients, providers, the facility and community as a whole. As clinics begin to move towards the Patient Centered Medical Home model of care, providing coordinated behavioral health services and primary care within the same clinic can help to achieve the Triple Aim of improving clinical outcomes, improving the patient experience, and reducing the cost of care per patient.

From the patient’s perspective, receiving care from the local Rural Facility can reduce the stigma that is unfortunately often still associated with mental health care, and can reduce some of the other barriers to receiving mental health care such as having to travel long distances or long wait-lists.

 

From the provider’s perspective, improving patient access to mental health therapy services allows medical providers to spend their time more effectively with their patients. Research shows improvements in patients’ mental health can help them to improve faster from physical health conditions. In an integrated system medical providers and therapists can easily collaborate on patient care and therapists can work to decrease barriers patients face in following medical treatment plans.

 

From the facility’s perspective, volumes may increase through mutual referrals as clinically indicated amongst the various providers (primary care, psychiatry, behavioral health/therapy). RHCs can apply for an increased Medi-Cal reimbursement rate through expanding their scope of service when initiating new programs such as telemental health. All TCT contracted clinics to date have found the program to be financially sustainable.

One size does not fit all. Every organization has a local context, local history, relationship in the environment and local staffing pattern. When integrating behavioral health services into the primary care clinic the model of service delivery must meet the needs of each rural facility. It is important to understand the various levels of integration to develop the best model for your facility (i.e., referrals to outside behavioral health providers; or co-locating telemental health and physical health providers in the same clinic; or a fully integrated primary and behavioral health team creating a collaborative system of care for patients within the same facility).

 

To solve the problem of recruitment and retention of qualified licensed mental health providers in rural areas, TeleConnect Therapies provides a reliable and sustainable model of integrating behavioral health into primary care programs, in a flexible manner that best suits the individual needs of each rural facility.

"As a Medical Provider, I believe that every  patient needs to be assessed for anything that may interfere with their ability to participate in their own care. The only way to accomplish this goal is by having services for both medical care and mental health available in the same location. Medical providers cannot expect patients to follow a treatment plan when they are depressed or to take their medications properly when they are anxious, the patient needs additional services. TeleConnect offers patients the ability to do just that through telemental health. TeleConnect has trained mental health professionals to assist patients in learning new coping skills and to develop healthier ways to deal with their mental health issues."

 -Debra Johnson, P.A., Mountains Community Hospital Director of Rural Health Clinic

 

“The whole feel of our clinic is more calm, less stressful, since having TCT in place to refer patients with mental

health needs. In this evolution of technology TCT is helping to connect people to vital psychology services.”

-Ginny Dunn, PT, MSHCA, DPT Mountains Community Hospital Former Director of Rural Health Clinic