API Telebehavioral Health Care Services
The serum to fight the diphtheria epidemic of 1925 had to be brought in to Nome by dog sled.
Today, providers in remote Alaska can get expert treatment for current health needs through a new way of traversing bad weather, tough terrain and long distance: Telemedicine.
Alaska’s need for behavioral health care, which encompasses both mental health and substance use issues, is great. Alaskans have high rates of suicide and substance abuse compared to the national average, especially in many remote, rural areas.
To meet that need, the Alaska Psychiatric Institute launched its Telebehavioral Health Care Services Initiative, “to create, promote, and maintain access to behavioral health services through advanced technology in rural and frontier Alaska.” Our goal is to offer care to people in or near their home communities, so they can avoid the stressful and costly journey to urban centers for treatment.
API is connected to more than 200 locations statewide. In large rural hubs or small community clinics, providers and their patients can press the “on” button to real-time videoconference with psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers in Anchorage.
Providers can access API’s Telebehavioral Health Care by calling (907) 269-7481. Services include:
- API Telebehavioral Health Clinic - This virtual clinic primarily serves the larger health care centers around the state. These facilities enter into a long-term formal agreement, usually renewed annually, to access API staff expertise via telemedicine during designated hours.
- Frontline Remote Access Behavioral Health Clinic - This “walk-in” virtual clinic allows primary care and behavioral health providers in small, remote communities to access behavioral health consultation and patient treatment as needed. Paperwork is limited to a one-page fee-for-service agreement.
- Frontline Behavioral Health Talks - A lecture series on behavioral health topics of interest to mid-level primary care and behavioral health practitioners, such as suicide risk assessment, how/whether to request patient admission to API, and prescribing medications for mental health.