Saturday, February 06, 2010

TeleMental Health Services Needed

via HITshrink:

Two feet of snow and Baltimore comes to a screeching halt. How to get the doctors to the hospital? This is where telepsychiatry can be very helpful. However, there are still so many impediments to using telemedicine (billing, liability, documentation, technical) that we are *still* unable to use it when we need it. Like today, where the hospital will have to send a 4x4 to pick up Dr Chandran to get him to the hospital.

A broader term for distance mental health services is Telemental Health services, or TMH. Proposed new regulations were released last week that would permit and regulate TMH under the public mental health system (aka Medicaid) in Maryland. Unfortunately, the way it is currently written would not permit me to "see" inpatients on our unit from home during a blizzard. Still, it is a step in the right direction.
For more info on TMH, check out the Maryland Telemental Health website.


Dinah said...

I like the whole before and after concept. Snowy here, too. Peaceful. Are you bored yet?

Anonymous said...

I just have to say....ha ha ha! That is a blizzard? Not to those in buffalo! Seriously, stay warm and safe. We have plows and salt see....makes a difference!


Buck Black said...

Yes...Skype is a great tool for snow storms and all kinds of other events. I am a therapist (LCSW) and do Skype sessions on a regular basis, but usually due to distance.

I am looking forward to the day that Skype/phone sessions are truly accepted in our field.

Sunny CA said...

I am from Buffalo, though have lived in Arizona or more recently California since 1976 and that looks like a LOT of snow to me. I thought it was a lot when we got snow here that stuck to the ground (on grass and leaves only) for half a day a month ago.

I think Skype visits and phone visits should be billable, but something ought to be written into any legislation that limits it to physicians in state or you will be competing with doctors in India an Bangladesh.

Dinah said...

Sunny CA brings up a great point and there have been many concerns about where the doc is. If a psychiatrist in Maryland sees a patient via skype in Pennsylvania, but the the doc only has a license to practice in MD, is this legal? If the patient wants to lodge a complaint, which state does he do it in? Do we want care out-sourced? And how are emergencies dealt with over telepsychiatry? Probably an easy issue if the patient is physically in a clinic in one place with clinic staff and emergency provisions, "seeing" a skype doc nearby, but how does this work for emergencies with a reluctant patient many states away and no clinician on site?

SM said...

I am so tired of snow.
Telemedicine is such a neat idea...may be with time, it will have better functions..