There is no health without mental health. If you don’t have professionals in the area, you have a problem.
Dr. Sy Saeed, Chair of the Department of Psychiatric Medicine at East Carolina University (ECU)
Below is an excerpt of the report entitled, Telepsychiatry in North Carolina : Mental Health Care Comes to You released by the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research.
North Carolina’s New Statewide Telepsychiatry Initiative
Addressing barriers to patients and mental health providers will help the state implement a statewide telepsychiatry system worthy of national recognition. In July 2013, the N.C. General Assembly established a statewide telepsychiatry program in North Carolina. The North Carolina Statewide Telepsychiatry Program (NC-STeP) will be administered by East Carolina University’s Center for Telepsychiatry and e-Behavioral Health (CTeB), and it will be substantially similar to the Albemarle Hospital Foundation Telepsychiatry Project.
The legislature appropriated $2 million for 2013–14 and $2 million for 2014–15 for the program. In August 2013, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services presented a plan to the legislature to implement the statewide telepsychiatry program. Initially, the primary objective of the program is to improve access to telepsychiatry in hospital emergency rooms across the state. The state’s new statewide telepsychiatry initiative launched on January 1, 2014.
Of North Carolina’s 108 hospitals, 49 already were providing psychiatry in the emergency room. This includes 18 hospitals whose patients are served by the Albemarle Hospital Foundation Telepsychiatry Department, 13 by Carolinas Health System’s Telepsychiatry Program in Charlotte, seven by the Novant Telepsychiatry Project in Winston-Salem, three by FirstHealth Telepsychiatry Project in Pinehurst, and eight with on-site psychiatric coverage. On November 1, 2013, the 18 hospitals served by the Albemarle Hospital Foundation transitioned to the statewide telepsychiatry network. By the end of March 2014, 23 more hospitals were providing telepsychiatry services in their emergency rooms through the network. Other hospitals were negotiating their contracts, and by July 2015, it is expected that the remaining 36 hospitals will be served by North Carolina’s telepsychiatry initiative.
The Center’s Findings and Recommendations
Based on their research, the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research finds that for many people living in rural North Carolina access to mental health care is the biggest barrier to recovery.
To read the full report, go to this page.