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Network180 would like to congratulate employees Kristin Kopec, MS, MPH, Kristin Spykerman, MSW, Beverly Ryskamp, JD, MSW and Eric Achtyes, MD, MS, on their publication “Rapid Transition to Telehealth in a Community Mental Health Service Provider During the COVID-19 Pandemic” along with Carol Janney and Benjamin Johnson of Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine. Their report appears in The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders, analyzing Network180’s swift pivot into telehealth from 5% to 84% of services delivered during the period of March 13 – May 28, 2020.
On March 13, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed an executive order for Michigan residents to shelter in place. Network180, along with other behavioral health agencies throughout the state, deployed alternative methods of delivering services to individuals who experience a serious mental illness. Telehealth proved to be a valuable tool for providing continued behavioral health and psychiatric care to a vulnerable population. People who experience a serious mental illness often require consistent care and monitoring to remain healthy. The use of telehealth helped maintain services for these individuals as well as allowed access to care to those experiencing a mental health crisis.
This successful shift into telehealth, along with the changes made by the State of Michigan allowing payment for telehealth services, has the potential to remove barriers that previously prevented some people from receiving services. Dr. Eric Achtyes, Network180’s Medical Director states, “The COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges both to providers and the people we serve. Many healthcare providers moved very quickly to transition care to telehealth, including Network180. This transition was supported by regulatory changes allowing payment for telehealth services. We were grateful for these changes and hope this modality of treatment will allow improved access to care for those with transportation or other barriers to receiving in-office care post-pandemic.”
The article can be accessed at The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders: https://doi.org/10.4088/PCC.20br02787