The State of Maryland is expanding telemental health programs to help residents in hard to reach rural areas resulting in the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene launch of the “Rural Access Telemedicine Program”.
The program uses the hub-and-spoke model. Patients visit an originating sites such as a hospital, doctor’s office, midwife practice, etc. in their community for a consultation. The providers at the originating site then connect the patient via telemedicine with a consulting provider at a distant site.
Providers at both sites are reimbursed through Medicaid since eligibility is limited to Medicaid enrollees within 15 designated rural areas in Maryland. Since May 2011, the number of individuals accessing telemental health services has consistently increased from just eleven patients to a high of 350 patients in 2013.
HHS through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in FY 2013 awarded several grants in mental health in the Maryland that are ongoing until 2016. One of the grants with funding of $70,000 went to “On Our Own of Maryland, Inc.” located in Baltimore, to infuse the consumer voice in behavioral health integration. The goal is to ensure that the consumer voice and advocacy are integrated and that peer-operated services are sustained.
SAMSHA awarded funding in FY 2013 to Johns Hopkins University to establish the Pediatric Integrated Care Collaborative (PICC) with funding for $458,443. PICC will improve the quality of child trauma services by integrating behavioral and physical health services targeting traumatic stress exposure and recovery.
In addition, the goal is to integrate trauma-informed behavioral health services with primary care and to promote a sustainable integration through a Pediatric Integrate Care Training and Resource Toolkit.
In addition, CMS with 11 states and the District of Columbia are participating in the “Medicaid Emergency Psychiatric Demonstration (MEPD) running until June 2015. The demonstration funded with $75 million in Federal matching funds over three years is being administered by the CMS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovations at http://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/Medicaid-Emergency-Psychiatric-Demo.
The demonstration provides states with more flexibility and resources to care for Medicaid beneficiaries’ ages 21 through 64 diagnosed with a psychiatric Emergency Medical Condition (EMC) which is defined as being suicidal, homicidal, or determined to be a danger to self or others.
Maryland was one of the states selected to participate along with Alabama, California, Connecticut, Illinois Maine, Missouri, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Washington, and West Virginia. The eleven states and the District of Columbia were selected by an independent panel.
Another state program called the “Behavioral Health Integration in Pediatric Primary Care Program (B-HIPP) was initiated by Maryland’s State Department of Education and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) with JHU’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, University of Maryland’s School of Medicine, and the Salisbury University Department of Social Work. Assistance.
Care is provided without charge or regard to a patient’s insurance status. The program offers phone consultations for primary care providers with child mental health specialists, opportunities for mental health skills training for primary care providers, referral and resource networking, and a pilot program for social work to work with pediatric primary care practices.