UNHS/UUHC Tele-Psychiatry program celebrates successful first anniversay

April 2016 marks the first anniversary of the Tele-Psychiatry program between Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. and University of Utah Health Care as part of their affiliation.

UNHS Behavioral Health Director, Rick Hendy, explained that in April 2015 UNHS began the Tele-Psychiatry program simultaneously at all four UNHS clinics. He said the program includes two Board Certified adult Psychiatrists MD’s from UUHC and allows UNHS patients, who choose to consult with a Psychiatrist, to do so from their home clinic. Patients sit alone in a room with a computer and live video screen and consult privately with a Psychiatrist. They receive an assessment, an evaluation and, if needed, a medication recommendation made to the patient’s Primary Care Provider, who then prescribes the medication.

Hendy said the goal with the Tele-Psychiatry program is to make it possible for a patient in Montezuma Creek to see a Tele-Psychiatrist at 1:00 p.m., another patient in Navajo Mountain to see one at 2:00 p.m., another in Blanding to be seen at 3:00 p.m. and yet another in Monument Valley to be seen at 4:00 p.m. Then, once the patient is seen in each location, he/she can have their medication within a couple of hours from their clinic’s pharmacy.

“This is a first-time service for UNHS,” Hendy said. “We did it on a limited basis when we started in 2015 through last December. Then, we increased the hours in January 2016 because the program was successful.”

Patients who might be candidates to see a Psychiatrist include adults suffering from anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder and bi-polar conditions, as well as children with attention deficit disorder, depression and bi-polar conditions. Hendy explained the process through which a patient can see a Tele-Psychiatrist, saying a Doctor can refer a patient to a Tele-Psychiatrist. After the referral, patients see a member of the UNHS Behavioral Health staff for more information and to fill out an intake packet. Patients can also self-refer themselves to see a Tele-Psychiatrist, without needing a referral from a Primary Care Physician. They can call any of the UNHS Clinics and schedule a meeting with a member of the UNHS Behavioral Health staff to fill out an intake packet and get an appointment with a Tele-Psychiatrist. Lynn Bia works with UNHS Behavioral Health in Montezuma Creek and she schedules the appointments with the Tele-Psychiatrists. She also notifies patients of their scheduled appointments and the time. Her contact number is 435-651-3762.

“Tele-Psychiatry is a very valuable service, especially for a rural area like ours,” Hendy noted. “We’ve had more than 100 patients participate in the Tele-Psychiatry program. The feedback we’ve received has been very good. Patients enjoy the confidentiality. They say it’s a very personal experience and the doctors show a lot of attention to them. The Tele-Psychiatrists follow up, regarding any prescribed medications, within thirty days.”

Hendy also stressed that while Behavioral Health therapy with the UNHS staff is not required to participate in the Tele-Psychiatry program, it is available at all the UNHS clinics. Medication is helpful for many, depending on family history, helping patients eat, sleep and concentrate more. Therapy can help in the short term to deal with stress and trauma. Primary Care Providers can refer patients to UNHS Behavioral Health, but patients can also arrange their own appointments by calling the front desks at all local clinics and requesting one.

The UNHS Behavioral Health staff schedules are as follows:

Rick Hendy – Montezuma Creek every Monday, Wednesday and Friday; Monument Valley every Tuesday and Thursday.

Deirdre Piotrowski – Montezuma Creek every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; Navajo Mountain every Thursday.

Niki Olsen – Blanding every Monday through Friday.

Jessica Stubbs – Monument Valley every Monday; Blanding every Tuesday and Wednesday; Montezuma Creek every Thursday and Friday.

Roselyn Maryboy – Montezuma Creek – Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

For more information about the Tele-Psychiatry Program, or the UNHS Behavioral Health Program, call the UNHS Blanding Family Practice Community Health Center at 678-3601, Montezuma Creek Community Health Center at 435-651-3291, Monument Valley Community Health Center at 435-727-3000 or Navajo Mountain Community Health Center at 928-672-2494.


Leave a Reply