Telehealth Connecting Pediatric Behavioral Health Specialists
Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC) is the largest source of school-based health services in the state of Connecticut. Recently, they have focused their efforts on treating pediatric and adolescent patients for behavioral health conditions, such as ADHD, trauma, anxiety, and depression. The CHC uses telehealth in these cases to create a multidisciplinary behavioral health care pathway, where remote clinicians can connect with workers providing treatment to patients at CHC’s primary care and school health centers.
According to the Child Health and Development Institute, there are about 160,000 children and adolescents in Connecticut in need of mental health treatments. A major part of CHC is Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), which improves access to such services by strengthening the ability of front line clinicians to manage complex issues through recurring teleconferences.
“These centers are a critical part of our work, because they allow us to reach more children and adolescents and ensure access to the highest quality of care during their formative years,” said Mark Masselli, president and CEO of CHC.
“We have been working with local school boards across the state for 20 years now to develop school health services consistent with their missions. This integration of our nationally recognized Project ECHO program will help us better identify and address behavioral health issues before they become a real problem.”
Behavioral health care is provided at all 49 CHC sites. Treatments range from counseling, crisis intervention, and referrals for psychiatric care. CHC is one of the first community health centers in the United States to implement the ECHO model, and they hope to roll out additional services throughout the nation in the coming years.