The New Jersey Pediatric Telehealth Network has been formed to enhance and supplement the Hub program by providing children and families with additional access to vital mental health care services, where access in the past has incurred some barriers. The program improves patient Access-to-Care by addressing these identified barriers or gaps:
Under the NJPMHCA Program, regional networks of pediatric mental health teams are providing teleconsultation, training, technical assistance, and care coordination for pediatric primary care providers to diagnose, treat and refer children with behavioral health conditions.
Transportation (access to/cost of)
Geographic proximity of the Hubs (i.e., time to get to an appointment)
Inconvenience in scheduling
Shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists (CAPs)
All 21 counties in NJ require coverage from the 9 state-wide Hubs
*Statewide avg. of 16 CAPs per 100k children, thus there is an understood shortage or resources
The below definitions have been established either under public law or by State Departments of New Jersey
"Telehealth" - The use of information and communications technologies, including telephones, remote patient monitoring devices, or other electronic means, to support clinical health care, provider consultation, patient and professional health-related education, public health, health administration, and other services in accordance with the provisions of P.L.2017, c.117 (C.45:1-61 et al.)
“Telemedicine” - The use of information and communications technologies, including telephones, remote patient monitoring devices, or other electronic means, to support clinical health care, provider consultation, patient and professional health-related education, public health, health administration, and other services in accordance with the provisions of P.L.2017, c.117 (C.45:1-61 et al.)
“Telepsychiatry” - Psychiatric service provided by a psychiatrist or psychiatric advance practice nurse from a remote location over secure, two-way, interactive, audiovisual equipment.
impact of COVID-19 public health emergency
At the onset of COVID-19, patients could not attend face-to-face appointments. The need for Telepsychiatry has stepped up as an option for both psychiatric consults and primary care visits that lead to referrals. Additionally, Federal and State regulations on telehealth have been temporarily relaxed and updated for HIPAA, Consent requirements, Billing, etc. Needless to say, COVID-19 has accelerated the roll out to the entire program and also facilitated the patient visit from their home because there was no way a face-to-face visit could occur at a Hub location or back at a pediatric office.
Once the Public Health Emergency is over, we anticipate some of the regulations regarding telehealth to revert back, but we feel that telehealth is here to stay and will continue to be a viable option for patient psychiatric consults versus just face-to-face with the hub teams.
future opportunities for telehealth
As we continue to build out the telehealth network, the use of telehealth in the day to day workflow of the patient experience will continue to evolve. We expect to leverage telehealth to offer these additional services to close the loop of care with the patient:
3-way consults (patient, parent, caseworker, provider, etc.).
Hub child & adolescent psychiatrist (CAP) providers to operate remote and not physically at the Hub location to allow for more availability to patients.
On-call CAP providers, based at any Hub to cover for another Hub – This increases available time slots and maximizes available resources for a program with limited availability in the first place.
The Care Coordinator review of the consult form can be performed through telehealth instead of the phone call with patient/family.
eConsult visits (or curb-side) between the pediatric clinician and the psychiatrist to review a case and set a care plan.
Leverage the telehealth technology to remotely test equipment and to train providers on the program.