Kent Sussex Counseling Services Utilizes Telemedicine to Enhance Patient Treatment and Streamline Psychiatric Appointments

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Delaware, like many other states, suffers from a shortage of psychiatric professionals, particularly those specializing in addictions. Recognizing this strain on organizational operations, Kent Sussex Counseling Services turned to telepsychiatry in order to improve patients’ access and experience with addiction-specific psychiatric care. Patients and providers quickly adapted to telepsychiatry and now enjoy seeing telepsychiatrist, Dr. Christina Vaglica on screen.

“When you have clients in areas where psychiatric care is hard to come by and they have been waiting months or even years to have access to a psychiatrists, its quite rewarding to be of service to them,” said Dr. Christina Vaglica.

For years, Kent Sussex Counseling Services employed a single part-time psychiatrist who commuted between their three facilities in two different counties to see patients. Travel between facilitates took away from clinical time spent with patients, strained the nonprofit organization’s limited resources and created numerous scheduling headaches. Kent Sussex Executive Director, Dave Parcher, knew something needed to change.

Kent Sussex Counseling Services is a Delaware provider of outpatient addictions, mental health and HIV counseling, testing and case management. They offer all these services in Delaware’s lower counties with offices in Dover, Georgetown and Laurel.

With an organizational mission to constantly improve quality of patient care and a statewide push towards creative solutions in Delaware’s behavioral healthcare, Kent Sussex turned to telepsychiatry as an innovative and effective medium for addressing behavioral health challenges.

In August 2011, Kent Sussex Counseling Services launched a telepsychiatry program through a partnership with InSight Telepsychiatry, a national telepsychiatry service provider.

Before telepsychiatry, the Kent Sussex Counseling facilities in Dover, Georgetown and Laurel had to dictate their psychiatric appointments based on the limited availability of the area’s only part-time psychiatrist.

“With the launch of the telepsychiatry program we were able to specify what hours and days we needed coverage, and InSight then found a physician who could consistently fill our needs,” said Parcher.

That physician, Dr. Christina Vaglica, is licensed in Delaware, but lives in New York where she sees patients from a home office. Dr. Vaglica enjoys providing needed psychiatric services to the patients at Kent Sussex from the comfort of her own home.

“When you have clients in areas where psychiatric care is hard to come by and they have been waiting months or even years to have access to a psychiatrists, its quite rewarding to be of service to them,” said Dr. Vaglica.

Dr. Vaglica, an employee of InSight Telepsychiatry, LLC, is well liked by both patients and staff. “We have had nothing but positive feedback on our telepsychiatrist, Dr. Vaglica. It is vital that our patients suffering from co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders get to know and have a consistent relationship with a doctor. Telepsychiatry allows us to offer dependable, quality care, when and where we need it,” said Parcher.

The staff at Kent Sussex actively collaborates with Dr. Vaglica to discuss medication management and treatment. According to Parcher, it is important to have a mutual trust between remote and onsite clinical staff members. The Kent Sussex staff has learned how Dr. Vaglica operates and works with her as if she were an onsite doctor. Dr. Vaglica values the team approach to treatment and makes a point to regularly discuss patient progress with the clinicians who treat patients in other stages of the care continuum.

“I don’t think her being there remotely makes any difference. The technology is there, so its just like have an in person doctor there to talk to,” said Parcher. “We have had no problems transferring records back and forth and no instances of the televideo technology not working.”

About InSight: InSight Telepsychiatry, LLC is a national leader in delivering telepsychiatry services. InSight provides its partners with a network of telepsychiatry clinicians who augment existing in person services to bring evaluation and care where consumers may otherwise go without. InSight specializes in emergency psychiatric evaluations to aid hospital emergency rooms and psychiatric crisis centers. Within an hour of a request, InSight will connect staff from an emergency room or psychiatric crisis center with one of its psychiatric clinicians to conduct a psychiatric evaluation. InSight’s focus is on improving emergency department disposition. By enabling psychiatric evaluations to be done by the highest level of professional available, InSight’s services help every patient quickly receive the least restrictive and most appropriate level of care. InSight is a part of the CFG Health Network and a sister organization to CFG Health Systems, LLC which provides services to correctional facilities in the Northeast.

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Kimberly Kotz
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