Mon, 10 Aug 2020

Using an integrated healthcare system, Northwestern Mental Health Center provides comprehensive healthcare to everyone by promoting wellness and instilling hope throughout the rural and frontier regions of Northwest Minnesota.

Rural healthcare is a significant challenge across the country due to the psychiatric provider shortage. Many patients drive hours to see a psychiatrist, and they might have to wait months for that appointment.

NWMHC has taken a different approach, helping individuals and families access healthcare with the help of innovaTel Telepsychiatry. innovaTel provides a remote child psychiatrist and a remote medical director for Northwestern Mental Health Center and its patients.

A First in the Industry

Northwestern Mental Health Center was one of the first agencies in Minnesota to use telepsychiatry when it became available. Now that Medicaid, as well as many other health plans, cover telepsychiatry services, telehealth can help more patients. The benefits of telehealth include:

  • Shorter wait times for appointments
  • Reduced travel time for patients
  • Increased scheduling flexibility at times that work best for patients
  • Particularly during an era of social distancing, telepsychiatry is of critical importance for helping people access the care they need from the comfort of their homes.

Northwestern Mental Health Center is proud to partner with innovaTel Telepsychiatry to deliver healthcare to patients in the local area.

Why Partner with innovaTel?

The partnership between NWMHC and innovaTel is one based on familiar ground. The founders of innovaTel ran a community mental health center prior to starting innovaTel. As a result, innovaTel is in a unique position to provide strong resources for NWMHC. They understand where the agency comes from, its goals, and how they can help meet them. As a result, the partnership between Northwestern Mental Health Center and innovaTel is a natural one, providing much-needed services for patients efficiently.

The most significant benefit of partnering with innovaTel is that this allows patients to access specialized psychiatric providers, regardless of the provider's geography. Because innovaTel is a nationwide telepsychiatry partner, they can recruit providers from around the country. innovaTel psychiatrists are licensed in the state they are physically located and the state they provide virtual care. In addition to a child psychiatrist, innovaTel also provides NWMHC with trusted expertise in the role of their medical director. All of this translates into improved care for patients.

How to Implement Telepsychiatry and be SuccessfulHow Telehealth Is Helping Patients and Patients in the Local Area

Northwestern Mental Health Center is responsible for covering six rural and frontier counties in northwest Minnesota. Historically, these counties have struggled to find mental health resources. Patients have to travel a long way to get care. Combined with long wait times, it can be difficult for these individuals and families to access the care they need. Thanks to telepsychiatry, these barriers have been removed and families have access to the care they need.

How Telehealth Is Helping Patients and Patients in the Local Area

Telepsychiatry provides patients with access to care in locations that have historically been challenging. For example, patients can get the services they need at a time that works for them. This improves care coordination and prevents symptoms from getting worse. In this manner, Northwestern Mental Health Center's partnership with innovaTel helps both organizations accomplish the mission.

Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has been adopted with alacrity. Financial difficulties, shelter in place orders, and uncertainty surrounding the future have exacerbated mental health concerns for countless people across the country. Recent data models have suggested that there will be increase in demand for behavioral health services, as many as one in three people may be seeking mental health services. The increased demand with the provider shortage is a challenge, however, telepsychiatry has proven to be an effective solution.

Prior to COVID, all innovaTel providers were remote and connecting virtually through telehealth. However, all patients were presenting in brick and mortar clinics. The entire innovaTel team quickly pivoted alongside clinic partners to help launch in-home telehealth. As a result, 90 percent of innovaTel services are now delivered directly to patient's homes. Organizations that have historically reported a 30 percent no-show rate have seen their no-shows decrease to five percent. innovaTel providers have also reported learning so much more about the social determinants of health by being able to connect with patients in their homes.

Now, thanks to the partnership between Northwestern Mental Health Center and innovaTel Telepsychiatry, these barriers are being removed. In an innovative partnership, innovaTel and Northwestern Mental Health Center are increasing access to behavioral health services in northwest Minnesota.

About Northwestern Mental Health Center: Northwestern Mental Health Center provides comprehensive mental health services to individuals and families through northwest Minnesota. Serving six rural and frontier counties, NWMHC provides patients with access to specialized providers that can help address acute concerns, maintain wellness, and improve the quality of life of individuals and families. NWMHC's CEO, Shauna Reitmeier, was also recently appointed to the National Council for Behavioral Health's Board of Directors.

About innovaTel: innovaTel is a national telepsychiatry provider that partners directly with community-based organizations to improve access to behavioral health services. For the past six years, innovaTel has been providing telebehavioral health services with a remote clinical team made up of psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and licensed clinical social workers with a fundamental mission of increasing access to care. innovaTel is a strategic partner of the National Council for Behavioral Health.

Northwestern Mental Health Center

603 Bruce Street, Crookston, MN 56716 |

Toll-free: 1.800.418.7326

https://www.nwmhc.org

Media Contact: Lauren Lashbrook - (866) 492-7597

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