Recognizing the tremendous negative impact the lack of available mental healthcare providers was having on patients, and the resulting high costs to hospital-ED’s, our partners began working on a high tech solution to address this situation.
Through the Albemarle Hospital Foundation, they applied for and received a $1.3 million grant from the Duke Endowment to develop and implement a telepsychiatry program in 18 eastern North Carolina hospital emergency rooms. With a record of outstanding results, in 2013 they collaborated with elected NC State officials and technology providers to secure $4 million in state appropriated funds to implement the program in hospitals across N.C.
Twenty-two hospitals have already joined the North Carolina Statewide Telepsychiatry Program, now coordinated by MedAccess and East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine, and an additional 47 hospitals are expected to join the program by June 2015.
In addition, our team’s early telehealth successes include the establishment of a tele-primary care program in Hyde County, N.C., through $1.25 million in grants from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and the NC Office of Rural Health and Community Care. Residents in this sparsely populated rural area faced commutes of an hour or more to see a physician, even for minor complaints, or monitoring of chronic conditions. With the help of an onsite nurse, patients now take full advantage of this high-tech solution to get the care they need, close to home.
By February 2014, the Albemarle Hospital Foundation’s Community Care Clinic in Elizabeth City, N.C., will also be providing tele-primary care to uninsured residents thanks to funding provided by the N.C. Office of Rural Health and Community Care.