The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is helping to combat opioid abuse in a novel way: They’re offering funding grants to communities looking to expand preventative and recovery services via telemedicine.
Rural communities aren’t top of mind when we think substance abuse. But we’re learning the hard way that opioid addiction is ambivalent to our zip code, job or income. Rather, it’s an equal opportunity illness. The highly addictive nature of certain prescription medications makes it all too easy for an injured farmer, for example, proudly self-reliant, many miles from proper care and low on funds, to become a user.
Addiction happens. Everywhere.
In 2016, the National Center for Health Statistics estimated nearly 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, more than half of which involved opioids like prescription drugs and heroin.
"The opioid epidemic is dramatically impacting prosperity in many small towns and rural places across the country," said Anne Hazlett, the assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development. "This this focused investment, we are targeting our resources to be a strong partner with rural communities in building an effective local response to this significant challenge."
We’re sensitive to addiction issues because GlobalMed’s telehealth platform has enabled virtual behavioral health care delivery for years. Our solutions are installed in schools, correctional facilities, military bases and traditional healthcare centers. Rather than simply delivering a product and moving on to the next client, we’ve worked hand-in-hand with providers and organizations both public and private to build and customize next-generation, evidence-based telemedicine solutions .
Not only does tele-behavioral health work, it’s ahead of the curve. Apart from real-time consultations, patients can access mobile phone apps designed specifically around mental health maintenance. Patients can track their mood, plot and adhere to healthy lifestyle habits or receive coaching. Providers can even be alerted automatically if a patient’s input reflects unhealthy patterns.
Modern technology aside, prevention is always best.
Telehealth hits hard at the major reason patients don’t seek care:
Telemedicine eliminates one pain point entirely: lack of access. Now, patients can connect with behavioral health providers from virtually anywhere, at their convenience, without sacrificing quality. Costs decrease as long drives to specialists for initial visits and follow-ups are eliminated. Penalty fees for missed appointments disappear. And seeing providers regularly and proactively reduces the likelihood of patient’s needing crisis intervention.
Whether or not you’re eligible for the USDA grant, if your community is considering a new telehealth deployment or scaling an existing one, please contact us. Our experts can talk you through exactly what it takes to get started and how other communities and organizations have benefitted from telemedicine. Because we’ve been there every step of the way.
Applications for this program are due by June 4, 2018.
We recently rolled out our new Cost Simplified program. Get started with telemedicine—including software, hardware and everything you need—for $825 a month plus a small activation fee.