Schools in Arkansas are seeing the benefits of telemedicine and the impact that it’s having on keeping their kids healthy.
With the recent changes in the telehealth laws, allowing schools to be the originating site for patients, it has opened up quality services for kids who otherwise would not have access to the mental health services they need.
Pinnacle Pointe Outpatient Services has seen a recent increase in the need for these services to rural areas.
“The main reason we’re moving into more schools is due to the high volume of patients in need. These kids don’t have access to quality services and we’re trying our best to minimize the amount of seat-time lost for behavioral health services,” said Jaymie Hopkins, LCSW, executive director for outpatient services. “Also, we’ve seen there is a huge transportation issue for a lot of these kids, their parents just don’t have a way to get them to a clinic.”
Pinnacle Pointe has plans to be active in 15 schools by December, offering child services to help with the backlog around the state.
“Currently we are seeing an estimated 340 patients each week via telemedicine and that number will likely increase as we add more schools,” said Hopkins.
In the state of Arkansas, it’s estimated that more than 8,000 patient encounters occur each month via telemed for behavioral health services.
“Pinnacle Pointe has been a member of the UAMS e-Link Network for more than four years and has been one of the great success stories of how telemedicine can have an impact on the well-being of our kids,” said Roy Kitchen, director of the UAMS e-Link Network.
Telebehavioral health is not new in Arkansas. Medicaid has been paying for telebehavioral health services in the state for several years due to the provider shortage around the state. Private pay insurance has been reimbursing telebehavioral health for the past three years.
“We’re the highway that’s connecting the providers to the areas of the state where services are needed. That’s a really satisfying aspect of my job, knowing that every day when I go home I’ve played a part in getting people access to the healthcare that they need,” Kitchen said.
To find out more information on the services offered by Pinnacle Pointe, please visit their website at https://thepointebhs.com/. If you would like more information on UAMS e-Link, please click the “Request Information” tab at the top of the page.