More college students than ever require mental healthcare services. Counseling resources are easily overwhelmed and access to high quality psychiatric services is difficult in some geographical areas. Unrecognized and untreated metal illness leads to increased risk of academic failure, preventable disability and, in some instances, student suicide. These realities underscore the need to apply tele-health solutions to college and university campuses.
SUNY Upstate Medical University Department of Psychiatry will offer customized tele-counseling and tele-psychiatry interventions to SUNY campus counseling and psychological services.
In partnership with local staff at participating SUNY campuses we will offer 4 types of service.
- A state of the art diagnostic assessment service. The results of this evaluation will include a detailed diagnostic assessment and treatment plan to be implemented locally, or a tele-counseling network provider.
- Rapid consultation and ongoing expert guidance via telephone or email to local clinicians including primary care providers.
- Brief (10-20 session) structured evidence-based psychotherapies using remote video/audio.
- Initiating psychopharmacological treatment via tele-psychiatry, bridging students until they are stable enough to continue care in the local college healthcare community or with home-town providers.
In addition, our expert clinicians will also be available for ongoing consultation, training and support to host site clinicians during regular business hours.
Dr. Robbi Saletsky is a psychologist in the program who specializes in CBT and supervises residents for the program.
Host sites will communicate with the SUNY-STCN Coordinating Center to determine what types of services are required and to identify local personnel and resources necessary to refer and treat students for chronic ongoing care. Ideally students would have health insurance which would be billed, where possible, for assessment and treatment visits. Accommodations will be made, however, where confidentiality concerns preclude billing or in case of severe financial need (e.g. waiving copayments/deductibles). Consent procedures for tele-services and outcome evaluation data collection will be established taking into account local circumstances and requirements. Specific resources and procedures for handling emergencies and chronic care will need to be established prior to initiating tele-services.
Each site will need to identify a suitably equipped location for students to be seen for the remote sessions. Sessions will employ www.Doxy.Me a HIPAA-compliant telemedicine application that allows 2 or 3-way remote sessions using encrypted point-to-point connections. Sessions will run on desktops or laptops via a Chrome browser, or on tablets and smartphones (free iOS app available).
Local personnel will coordinate:
- Scheduling the initial appointment, indicating what level of service is required.
- Signing students up for the remote secure patient portal (www.mychart.com).
- Completion of all necessary initial documentation, consent procedures and rating scales prior to the appointment.
- Dealing with any technical problems during the session
- Handling no-shows as well as being responsible for continuity of care.
- Activation of appropriate responses to clinical emergencies, occurring during or between sessions.
- Plans for ongoing care after assessment or brief treatment is completed.
Local sites will receive a detailed diagnostic assessment together with specific recommendations for treatment. For those appropriate, short term counseling will comprise 10-20 sessions of evidence based psychotherapies (e.g. CBT, MI, brief dynamic therapy). Medication management will include assessment for, and initiation of, psycho-pharmacological treatments. Following stabilization, care will be transitioned to local prescribers, but with the opportunity for ongoing remote consultation. Participating campus clinicians will also be able to get expert consultation on all students, not only the ones being seen for tele-counseling services. The SUNY-STCN will utilize measurement-based-care ensuring that outcomes are both monitored and optimized. We will be part of the Center for Collegiate Mental Health and will be utilizing the Counseling Center Assessment of Psychological Symptoms (CCAPS) to describe and monitor clinical status, assessing efficacy of the tele-counseling interventions with comparisons available to local sites to appropriate national norms.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can become a participating campus, you can contact the Program Coordinator at BeckerE@upstate.edu.