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Technology helping with treatment

If you are a patient of Salem Regional Medical Center and its health care providers, you likely have a “follow my health” account. You can access your medical records, review the proceedings of your office visits, and communicate with your provider at any time. This is an example of “telehealth.” You likely have recently received an email advising you that you may now have appointments with your health care provider from the privacy of your home, another example of “telehealth.”

Telehealth is using electronics and telecommunications technologies to provide long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration.

What does all of that mean? You can  conference with your health care or mental health care provider remotely – by computer and mobile devices. It makes treatment available to those who do not have access to treatment otherwise.

Before the current public health crisis, Family Recovery Center had begun to offer telehealth to a few clients. Although some clients still prefer face-to-face sessions with their counselors, as the COVID-19 crisis continues toward the anticipated  peak on  approximately May 1 (advised by Amy Acton, M.D., director of the Ohio Department of Health on Tuesday) FRC, as with other mental health agencies, is concerned about the safety and well being of both clients and staff. Telehealth is providing the mental health services clients need to proceed uninterrupted.

The Ohio Departments of Mental Health and Addiction Services, in partnership with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s office, strives to specifically reduce risk of CVID-19 to patients, their families, and those who counsel and treat them.

“With the emergency rule in effect, Ohio MHAS (Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services) certified entities can bill Medicaid for delivering [specified] services through telehealth,” reports Ohio’s Behavioral Health Redesign e-newsletter for March 20, 2020.

“At FRC,” says Michael Mazanowski, chief operations officer of at FRC, “we are able to use our Zoom account. Zoom is an application that provides video and audio conferencing, chat and webinars across mobile, desktop, and room systems.

Some of our counselors have used Facebook Messenger, as well. The Ohio emergency rules relaxed regulations so that more people can be served safely in their homes – certainly this reduces the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for clients and our workers at FRC.”

Mazanowski added that counselors at FRC, in working with some clients have been told, “It’s nice that you guys are doing this for us,” and “I’m glad you’re thinking about my safety.”

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. Visit the web site at www.familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded, in part, by the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

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