New telehealth program increases access to care

Nutritionist Melissa Somers reviews a student’s nutritional plan via telehealth. The computer’s camera and speakers allow the student and Somers to see and hear each other although they are in different locations.

When Nutritionist, Melissa Somers meets with her patients it is usually in her office. But thanks to a new telehealth program at Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI) those sessions are now virtual. Technology is giving greater access to care at CHI under the new program that offers nutritional services and behavioral health evaluations at four Miami-Dade Public Schools.

Students at R. R. Moton Elementary, Cutler Bay Middle, COPE South and Homestead Senior High Schools can speak to Somers about their nutritional needs from the convenience of their school health suite. The nurse in the suite will weigh the student and check their vitals and then set up the remote camera and monitor so the student and Somers can see and speak to each other for the session.

“We are able to help more children and more people and that is so rewarding,” said Somers. “It’s wonderful when technology can help open the door to healthcare for a greater population.”

It is also addressing a critical issue as the need for mental health services in the schools has been highlighted with our nation’s increase in school shootings and violence in academic settings.

The need is great in the Keys as well, where CHI’s new telehealth program is helping to relieve a shortage of behavioral health professionals. Now patients can go into the Marathon Health Center at 2805 Overseas Highway MM 48.5, Marathon, FL 33050 and virtually have a therapy session with a CHI therapist or meet with a psychiatrist.

“We wanted to make sure our patients in the Keys have the same high-quality behavioral health services as the patients in Miami-Dade County,” said Jean Pierre, LCSW, Vice President and Chief Behavioral Health Officer. “There is a shortage of psychiatrists and behavioral health professionals nationwide. So, telehealth allows us to optimize the team that we have.”

The new telehealth behavioral health service is for both adults and children in the Keys. It will help patients with a variety of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, ADHD and much more.

CHI is focused on comprehensive care with integrated primary care services, pediatrics, OB/GYN, dental and a pharmacy also at the Marathon Health Center. This allows patients to have the convenience of caring for their entire families’ needs in one place. After a telehealth behavioral health session, the patient can also see their primary care physician and get all their medications filled in the same place.

Patients can call (305) 252-4820 to make an appointment at the Marathon Health Center. ar al (305) 252-4820 para hacer una cita en el Marathon Health Center.