Many older adults with mental health and substance use needs have physical or emotional challenges that prevent them from accessing the behavioral health services they need in the community. In order to assist these elders to age in their own home and avoid the need for more intensive services, the Health Policy Commission of Massachusetts has awarded a 12-month grant of $499,860 to Riverside Community Care, a behavioral health and human services organization, to provide mental health and substance use services via video conferencing to older adults in their homes.
“Our goal with this TeleBehavioral Health pilot program”, explains Laurie Burgess Hutcheson, Vice President for Program Development & Strategic Planning at Riverside, “is to expand our capacity to provide high quality behavioral health services to people who might not have been able to access them before. This video-conferencing model is cost-effective, and will ultimately be a mechanism that will work statewide to help get needed behavioral health services to at-risk individuals of all ages.”
In order to implement this pilot with older adults, Riverside has partnered with several organizations including three aging services organizations, Springwell, HESSCO and Mystic Valley Elder Services, which will employ the Riverside teleBH team members who will identify and refer elders needing the teleBH services, and help them access the technology. Another partner, MedOptions Connect will provide the privacy protected video conferencing technology and telepsychiatrist services, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Division of Gerontology will provide clinical consultation.
About The Health Policy Commission of Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) is an independent state agency created by the state’s landmark cost containment law (Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012) whose mission is to advance a more transparent, accountable, and innovative health care system through its independent policy leadership and investment programs. The Telemedicine Pilot program is one of the HPC’s competitive Health Care Innovation Investment Programs created to enable Massachusetts providers, health plans, and their partners to implement innovative models that deliver better health and better care at a lower cost.
About Riverside Community Care
Each year Riverside Community Care provides more than 40,000 children, adolescents, and adults with a broad range of behavioral healthcare and human services. We offer mental healthcare, developmental and brain injury services, youth and early childhood programs, addiction treatment, trauma response, and more.