When the stay-at-home order was implemented in California in mid-March, Executive Mental Health (EMH) was faced with the challenge of how best to manage the unexpected changes associated with the pandemic so that we could continue to provide mental health care for our inpatients and outpatients. EMH chose to adapt to and overcome these obstacles, which were formidable, with the assistance of its partners, i.e., the staff members at acute and long-term care facilities. Some ten weeks later, we are pleased to report good news – the changes we have made together are working!
Together with our partner facilities, we launched TeleHealth, which enabled EMH clinicians to provide continued mental health care to residents and to maintain social distancing. In April and May, EMH completed almost 6,000 treatment sessions and assessments on behalf of outpatients and residents in close to 100 facilities throughout the State of California. This outcome was made possible due to the tireless effort and problem-solving skills of EMH community liaisons, clinicians and technical staff. During this time, we sourced HIPAA-approved teleconferencing programs, identified the hardware that would optimize the communication between patients and doctors while minimizing the likelihood of disease transmission, created a team of device technicians to transfer the hardware from patient to patient, and solved an array of technical problems that were encountered along the way. Moreover, when facilities made the decision to implement TeleHealth, the transition from decision to actual implementation often occurred in less than five business days.
EMH recognizes the fact that the pandemic and the interventions to limit the spread of COVID-19 have also affected the mental health of the residents’ families and facility staff. With that concern in mind, EMH will be offering these additional services to support the staff at our partner facilities in the coming months:
We thank all our partners for their support in ensuring the success of TeleHealth and offer our appreciation to the many Directors of Nursing and Social Services Directors who have worked tirelessly with us.
We are proud to partner with the SNF community to ensure that their residents receive quality mental health care through this situation and beyond. Please let us know how we can be of service to you!
Dr. Ari. Kalechstein
President and CEO