By Samir Malik, EVP and GM of Genoa Telepsychiatry
Behavioral Health Pharmacies & Telepsychiatry in Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia has consistently been a leader in evolving mental health services. Since 1968, when the Commonwealth first established the Community Service Board (CSB) model to ensure mental health needs were addressed, Virginia has developed critical and effective models of administering mental health services. It is in this vein that Virginia recently undertook a new effort to integrate two essential services: behavioral health pharmacy and telepsychiatry.
Genoa Healthcare has recently been awarded the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services contract as an official telepsychiatry and pharmacy preferred vendor for CSBs. We are humbled and privileged to support the state in this next chapter. We have been serving Virginians through our pharmacy and telepsychiatry programs since 2004. Our 31 pharmacies and medication coordinators in Virginia CSBs have improved medication adherence by up to 40% and our seven telepsychiatry programs deliver an average of 350 hours of care per week.
And yet there are still many people throughout the state that aren’t getting the treatment they need. There are 75 Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas and 1.5 million people in Virginia with mental illness – leaving the state with only 43% of mental health care needs met.This is not for lack of trying. Every partner and every CSB employee we’ve met puts their full heart into their work. Now, having the support of the Commonwealth to pioneer advancement in care design will enable us all to serve our community even better.
By integrating pharmacy and telepsychiatry services, we have seen that pharmacists and prescribers can more often be aligned. Our coordinated model, which integrates selectively recruited psychiatric providers with the larger care team, has improved communication and created a standard of care that’s applied across the community.
It is a privilege to see the Department of Medical Assistance Services endorse this model and advocate for more of it within the CSBs. We are excited to work even more closely with DMAS, the CSBs and the Commonwealth to reinforce Virginia’s leadership in mental health.