Unique Network of Illinois-Licensed Telepsychiatry Providers Will Bring Unprecedented Timely Psychiatric Care to Chicago-area Healthcare Facilities

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The newly developed Midwest Telepsychiatry Consortium (MTC) developed in partnership between the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council and InSight Telepsychiatry will allow participating Chicago-area hospitals and healthcare organizations to rapidly access a network of psychiatrists through telepsychiatry using secure televideo connection for real-time psychiatric evaluations and assessments.

In an effort to increase access to professional psychiatric care, the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council (MCHC) has recently announced the Midwest Telepsychiatry Consortium (MTC). This new program is the first of its kind and made possible through a partnership with InSight Telepsychiatry, the leading national telepsychiatry service provider. With its launch, individuals who are in psychiatric crisis will be able to go to an emergency department at a participating MTC organization and receive assessment from a psychiatrist within about an hour using secure, HIPAA-compliant videoconferencing.

Budget cuts and other compounding factors have caused a 47% increase in the number of people coming to Chicago-are emergency departments with behavioral health concerns. As a result, individuals who come to the emergency department for behavioral health concerns currently wait nearly three times longer than the average ED visitor. Leadership at MCHC knew they had to do something to help reduce wait times and increase access to care. With the addition of the MTC, leadership at MCHC and InSight expect significantly reduced boarding times, enhanced quality of care and improved efficiency.

"Each year, hospitals across this region treat an increasing number of patients in need of psychiatric evaluation, and most institutions, due to budgetary restrictions or location, do not have 24/7 access to psychiatric support," said Michael Wahl, MD, Medical Director, MCHC.

Healthcare organizations that utilize the MTC network also expect lower rates of inappropriate admissions, reduced lengths of stay, improved ED throughput, increased regulatory compliance and enhanced patient satisfaction for all patients.

The MTC is a unique model of on-demand telepsychiatry services because all participating organizations are able to use the same network of telepsychiatry providers, which is an efficient and effective use of resources.

The network of telepsychiatry providers serving the MTC are all licensed in Illinois and oriented on the community resources, cultural nuances, referral sources and other important factors unique to delivering behavioral health services to this region.

“With this new innovative program, everyone at each step of process, from intake staff, to the onsite physicians, to the consumers will have an easier time getting maintaining access to quality, timely psychiatric care,” explains Scott Baker, New Markets Developer at InSight.

The MTC utilizes real-time, interactive videoconferencing technology to connect with the network of InSight telepsychiatrists who are available for psychiatric evaluations and consultations 24/7 year round. With this, individuals admitted to the ED will be able to speak with a psychiatrist in about one hour regardless of the time or day. For non-emergency situations and admissions from other kinds of healthcare organizations, consultations will take place within about four hours.

"MCHC is proud to offer the Midwest Telepsychiatry Consortium, a groundbreaking solution to help providers increase access to psychiatric care, enhance the quality and efficiency of ED treatment regimens, and significantly reduce boarding times for behavioral health patients in distress,” said Trish Anen, RN, MBA, NEA-BC, Vice President of Clinical Services, MCHC.

“This robust, patient-focused telepsychiatry service will empower providers throughout the region to deliver specialized care that is consistent with the needs of their behavioral health patients. Efficient care of these patients will, in turn, free up department resources to more effectively treat all ED patients,” said Jim Varrell, MD, Medical Director, InSight. “We are thrilled to partner with MCHC to offer options that meet the needs of institutions big and small in their mission of offering the highest quality of care to their communities.”
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MCHC is a membership and service association comprising more than 170 hospitals and health care organizations working together, since 1935, to improve the delivery of health care services in the Chicago area. MCHC’s board of directors acts as the policy-making body for the organization and assesses MCHC’s progress in addressing health care-related issues.

InSight Telepsychiatry is the leading national telepsychiatry provider company with a mission to increase access to behavioral health care. InSight is currently delivering services in 23 states and rapidly expanding into new states and settings across the country. InSight’s telepsychiatry services can be used to support emergency departments, inpatient medical units, medical/surg floors and other patients throughout the hospital.

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InSight and MCHC Develop Innovative Telepsychiatry Program for Chicago Area Hospitals