Cynthia Persily, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dr. Persily is the CEO of Highland Hospital in Charleston, WV
We are just about ready to launch the WV Kids telehealth project at Process Strategies. I’ve talked about this project before in this space, but wanted to update our readers about our progress. Federal funding provided to the Partners in Health Network has allowed the installation of telehealth systems in 9 rural sites across WV, and at our Process Strategies location, and this will allow us to provide psychiatric services to children in these communities. It’s taken a long time to come, but we are about ready to roll!
The participating sites across WV include Boone Memorial Hospital, Cabin Creek Health System, Camden-on-Gauley Medical Center, Jackson General Hospital, Minnie Hamilton Health System, Montgomery General Hospital, New River Health Association, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital, and Rainelle Medical Center. Some of these sites serve our neighbors who experienced historic June flooding, and we are happy to be able to provide additional services for children close to home for these families. Basically, children who need psychiatric outpatient care will come to one of these sites close to home, and will be able to see and hear one of our providers as they are provided with expert behavioral health care. As part of the Highland system, if a Process Strategies provider deems a child in need of acute psychiatric inpatient care, the child can be transported to Highland Hospital in Charleston for more intensive care.
The issue of access to medical services in rural and remote areas is one of the most complex and difficult problems in health care today. In a rural state such as ours, we will always have challenges but solutions such as providing services in rural communities via telehealth can begin to close the service gap. We are proud to join with our partners from around the state to address the shortage of behavioral health services in rural areas, and to look forward to developing and participating in additional models to use our resources widely for the future.