Skip to main content

Analysis

Providence Offering Telebehavioral Health Services for Healthcare Workers

By Christopher Cheney  
   April 14, 2020

Behavioral Health Concierge offers telebehavioral services to the Providence health system's employees and their dependents.

Renton, Washington-based Providence health system has launched a telebehavioral health initiative to address mental health issues among the organization's employees and their family members.

The service—Behavioral Health Concierge—has been in high demand during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Surges of COVID-19 patients across the country including thousands of patient deaths have strained the mental health of many healthcare workers.

Telehealth visits through Behavioral Health Concierge have spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, Todd Czartoski, MD, Providence telehealth chief medical officer, told HealthLeaders. "We have seen our highest volumes to date during February and March," he says.

Providence operates 51 hospitals and more than 1,000 clinics in Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington state. Behavioral Health Concierge started last year in Montana and Washington, and the program is set to expand to other states this year, Czartoski says.

The health system has stepped up promotion of Behavioral Health Concierge during the COVID-19 pandemic, he says. "It is being promoted on multiple internal communication channels. We also just built a page that includes a stress meter that directs people to various mental health resources, depending on their level of stress."

More than 1,600 visits have been conducted since the program launched, Czartoski said.

How Behavioral Health Concierge works

Employees and their dependents access Behavioral Health Concierge by calling a telephone number to set up an appointment with a licensed counselor, he says. Appointments are offered on a same-day or next-day basis seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Visits can be conducted in a phone call or through a video connection, Czartoski says. "For phone visits, the counselor calls the user directly. For video, users will click on a link from either their computer or mobile device to start the video visit. In addition to counseling visits, we offer computerized cognitive therapy, which can be completed on the user's own time."

The initiative was designed to address healthcare worker burnout and other mental health-related issues, he said. "We are collecting data on caregiver burnout and retention to quantify the financial gains of the program."

Behavioral Health Concierge has improved access to mental health services for Providence's healthcare workers and their families, Czartoski says.

"In many regions where Providence has a presence, mental health providers are scarce and hard to access, fueling the need for more in-house mental health services across Providence's map. Behavioral Health Concierge provides virtual counseling to caregivers and their dependents to increase access to critical services in a way that best fits busy schedules and needs. These counseling sessions are based on a brief yet intensive evidence-based therapy model."

Behavioral Health Concierge is funded through a grant and the Providence Caregiver Assistance Program, he says.

Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care​ editor at HealthLeaders.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

Research indicates that nearly half of physicians nationwide are experiencing burnout symptoms.

Since Providence started the Behavioral Health Concierge telebehavioral health service last year in two states, more than 1,600 visits have been conducted.

Visits via phone calls or video links follow an intensive evidence-based therapy model.


Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.