The Essex County Board of Supervisors.
Photo by Keith Lobdell.
Elizabethtown The Essex County Department of Mental Health will be using modern technology to help those in need with psychiatric services.
The County Board of Supervisors passed a pair of resolutions on to the full board during its Sept. 24 meeting, the first authorizing two budget amendments in the department (to transfer $14,000 from part-time wages into consulting fees for tele-psychiatry consultations; and to transfer $1,200 from part-time wages into miscellaneous fees for tele-psychiatry consultations) and the second allowing the chairman and/or the county manager to execute a contract with Syracuse University for tele-psychiatry services and with Fore-Front Tele-care for the equipment to link up the tele-psychiatrist.
During the Sept. 10 Human Services committee meeting, Department Director Steve Valley said that the idea for tele-psychiatry services was discussed after not being able to find a replacement for Dr. Hinsman.
“He was our part-time psychiatrist one day a week and he left our employment,” Valley said. “We have had the position posted since then without any kind of response whatsoever. We have advertised the position. I have done a lot of outreach to local providers and resources without getting any kind of a response, so these budget changes will take unused salary that were designated for the position which will allow us to have contracts for tele-psychiatry.”
Valley said that the process for pyschiatrist visits through the department would be similar to what Elizabethtown Community Hospital currently does with telemedicine.
“So basically we will have a psychiatrist from Syracuse University who will be seeing people via the television screen at our offices,” he said. “The $14,000 will be for the contract with the psychiatrist and then the $1,200 would go to Fore-Front Tele-Care, which is the company that will provide the equipment and set the link up between up and the psychiatrist.”