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Volunteer Behavioral Health Introduces Telehealth

Posted on Friday, June 16, 2017 at 10:49 am

State-of-the-art communication program for K-12 students, adults

An innovative new telecommunications program offered through Volunteer Behavioral Health is ensuring that mental health treatment services and care coordination are more accessible to people living on the South Cumberland Plateau. Made possible through a federal grant, the Mountain Valley Health Connection (MVHC) Telehealth program provides a variety of mental health services through broadband internet access. The program launched locally in April at the Grundy County Schools and the Grundy County Health Department, and public demonstrations of the MVHC Telehealth equipment were conducted at the grand opening of the new Tracy City office of Volunteer Behavioral Health.

Telehealth is an innovative way to ensure easy access to medical personnel for people living in rural areas. The MVHC Telehealth program’s primary advantage is being able to provide people with counseling and mental health treatments without having to travel to an office location many miles away, or without students having to miss a day of school. Instead, a person may sit in a private area at the health department or a school and be connected by broadband internet to a mental health professional several miles away. Both parties can see, hear and speak with one another through the computer. For some, the MVHC Telehealth program offers convenience; for others, telehealth may be the only way to get access to the services being provided.

Major objectives of the MVHC Telehealth program are to improve and increase access to primary care and mental health services for adults and children; increase use of these services; increase health literacy and improve disease management of program participants; and reduce high-intensity services such as emergency room stays and hospitalizations.

A key focus of the MVHC Telehealth program is serving Grundy County students. Childhood and adolescence can be a very difficult time for many. Some children struggle with anger management, depression, and self-esteem. Adolescents may experience eating disorders and relationship problems. Children and youth may also experience difficulty with family issues surrounding divorce, separation, or death and dying. The MVHC Telehealth program offers counseling and support services to help children and youth dealing with these or other related issues.

A child may be referred for services in several ways. The parent can refer the child directly, or the child’s teacher, principal, school counselor, physician or other clinical medical staff may make a referral. Once a child has been referred for counseling, the parent will be contacted to sign permission forms for the child. The program is completely voluntary and the child cannot be seen without permission forms signed and completed. Once permission is given, the child can participate in services.

While a primary focus of the grant is students in the Grundy County schools, adults can also use the MVHC Telehealth services at either the Grundy Health Department or the Volunteer Behavioral Health Care office in Tracy City.

Payment for services can be billed to insurance (private or TennCare). If a person does not have insurance, services will still be provided.

The Mountain Valley Health Connection Telehealth program summer hours include the following times and locations:

June 5 – June 16:

Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., at Grundy County High School.

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., at the Grundy County Health Department.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., at Coalmont Elementary School

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., at Volunteer Behavioral Health, Tracy City.

June 26 – August 3:

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., at the Grundy County Health Department

Tuesday and Thursdays, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., at Volunteer Behavioral Health, Tracy City.

For more information about the Mountain Valley Health Connection Telehealth program, call the MVHC Integrated Care Managers at 931- 259-0280 or 931-349-0628.