Atrium Health Behavioral Health Services Improves Access to Virtual Outpatient Care with Grant

11.02.2021 Atrium Health News | Behavioral Health

CHARLOTTE, N.C., November 2, 2021 – Atrium Health Behavioral Health Services is announcing a new way for its patients to access outpatient care thanks to a grant.

Shortly after the pandemic began in March 2020, 100% of Atrium Health’s outpatient behavioral healthcare was offered virtually. This shift to virtual care for medication management and therapy was great for our patients and mental health specialists, keeping them safe and healthy.

However, Atrium Health’s behavioral health team recognized a percentage of their patients had trouble with this shift to virtual care.

“The purpose of virtual psychiatric transition care is to remove barriers to care for patients. During our roll out of virtual care in first quarter of 2020, we realized that not all patients have access to technology to complete a virtual visit,” said Eva McNeill, AVP of Behavioral Health Outpatient Services.

Atrium Health Behavioral Health Services received a sizeable grant from the Duke Endowment. With a portion of this grant, the plan is to provide smart phones with both audio and video capabilities to patients for an opportunity to virtually attend their outpatient appointments. 

Behavioral health patients 18 years or older who have recently been discharged from one of our Atrium Health facilities and have consented to our Virtual Transition Care program are eligible. Right now, 20 smart phones are available for patients receiving medication management after discharge.

“This grant is to support our most vulnerable patients in their most vulnerable time of transition from inpatient care to outpatient care,” said Dr. Manuel Castro, medical director of Behavioral Health Integration at Atrium Health. “We believe remaining connected with patients after discharge will increase patients’ engagement after discharge and will decrease the elevated suicide rate often seen during this time of transition.”

Phone distribution will begin the end of this month.